Tag Archives: truth

Things To Hide: How Honest Are You?

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Is anyone completely honest? Is it even possible for anyone to be that transparent? Or does everyone have, for whatever reason, at least a few things they hide?

It might be because they’re ashamed to share something, whether it’s something they’ve done or something they don’t like about themselves. Or it might be because it’s better for everyone else that they don’t reveal something: they saw something they shouldn’t have or they know something no-one else knows. I’m thinking about things that don’t harm anyone if these things aren’t revealed; so it’s no moral code that’s being broken here. The only thing that’s being broken is the ability of a person to wholeheartedly reveal all of themself to another person.

Of course, none of us can completely share everything with another person due to our brains being encased in our bodies at a ratio of 1:1. No matter how much you share and how well you share it, I will never be able to understand it or experience it the way you do. We have the gift of communication and as relational beings we can relate to each other, but I will never know if what I experience is exactly the same as what you experience, close though it may be. It’s the whole when I see blue you may be seeing purple scenario, and even if we both saw blue, we may be seeing different shades of blue and never know.

Excluding the limitations of the physical design of our bodies and things like time and memory, I wonder if there’s anyone who is known completely by another person. I naturally think of people who are married or who have been with someone for many years. I used to think going out with someone meant they would know everything about you. This terrified me and it was the reason I thought I’d never go out with anyone; not because I didn’t want to, but because I didn’t think I could share everything with another person. If a prerequisite for going out with someone was you had to tell them everything – as I thought it was – then I was doomed to be alone forever.

I’ve come to realize though, that even marriage doesn’t mean two people will know everything about each other. Sure, they will probably know each other more than any other person, but they’ll always be learning new things about each other. People can go into marriage thinking it will fulfil them because, “At last I will be known completely,” only to realize that’s not how it works. I’m okay with this. I know not to look for fulfilment from another person; that’s too high a pressure to put on someone.

I had a friend tell me, “It’s not like that,” when I told her my fears about having to share everything with a guy if we were to go out. This made me wonder, “Well, what is it like then?” Because as much as I feared having to share everything, I also desperately wanted to. In one way I was relieved that I don’t have to reveal everything, but in another way I was kind of disappointed. I wanted to be known by someone, and now I found out going out with someone and even marrying them wasn’t going to guarantee that. Was there no hope for me to be known?

This wouldn’t be an issue if I was honest with everyone and had nothing to hide. I wouldn’t have this need to be known and this desire to share everything if I was already known. And it is this that brings me back to my original question: is anyone completely honest? Or is it just me who feels like no-one truly knows me?

Maybe it’s okay to not reveal everything. Maybe it’s just a personality thing. Some people are open books; others keep things inside. I’m quiet and introverted so maybe that explains why the thought of sharing everything terrifies me and why I feel like no-one really knows me. This would all be fine except I have a need to be known. Is this something of the human condition that we all simply want to be known? And is this because we were made to be known? I don’t mean that we’re all made to be famous, just that people will know us for who we really are.

I don’t think it’s just a personality thing for me, though, because it’s only certain things I don’t feel I can share: things I’m ashamed of, things I don’t like about myself, my fears and insecurities. Do I have more of these things than other people, or do I just fear sharing them more than other people? I worry about what people will think of me. I worry they’ll think badly of me. I worry they’ll judge me.

But I want to share these things because if I don’t, no-one will ever truly know me. Maybe all the things I want to share don’t need to be shared, but I always thought if someone wanted to really know me, they’d want me to share everything. Maybe other people don’t think people are hiding anything, because they themselves don’t hide anything. I, on the other hand, know I hide things so I assume others hide things too and I want to know them. It matters to me.

I want to know people and I want them to know me.

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Truth Vs. Fact

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And the winner is….. actually, there isn’t really a winner or loser in the poll question from yesterday – but there is one answer I was going for more than others. It has to do with the difference between objectivity and subjectivity.

Fact

Fact

Let me demonstrate:
Fact – My home runs on electricity and I need it to work in order for my fans to run, my heat to work, my oven to bake, my television to operate, even my internet to stream so I can blog and post my writings.

Now let’s imagine that there is an awful storm with heavy winds and rains and it knocks out the power to my home.

If the power outage occurs after I leave for the office in the morning and there’s nobody at home during the time that the electricity is off, the truth is, it only causes me a teeny inconvenience because all I have to do is reset some clocks and systems that might need resetting when I get home.

But if that outage occurs about 15 minutes before dinner is ready, and I’m cooking my favorite meal in the oven, and I had to skip lunch because of having a really busy afternoon, and I can’t watch Jeopardy on television or get online to answer some important email, you better believe that now the truth is that I’m pretty bent out of shape.

The facts haven’t changed at all. I need electricity to have things flow smoothly in my life and there was a bad storm that knocked out the power. The power is out for the exact same amount of time prior to being restored. The piece that changed is how I view and feel about the time I experienced the outage and to what extent I was inconvenienced; pure, unadulterated subjectivity.

Truth

Truth

Truth has at least some degree of subjectivity to it, but facts are totally objective. Facts don’t change based on how I feel or what I tell myself or what I believe. Truth is based on our individual perspective and therefore is extremely subject to change.

I hope this example has helped to make the point clearly to many who may have been confusing the two. Why? Because there is a tremendous amount of hope linked to this information.

1. As humans, we have the ability to learn to respond more objectively to events in our lives, any time we choose.

2. By responding more objectively to events in our lives, we play much more of an active role in having our lives turn out the way we want them to.

3. Learning how to respond objectively
to life is the most effective way I know how to be happy and improve the quality of our lives.

How many times have you been in a mad hurry to get somewhere, (let’s say a doctor’s appointment) but you have to make a quick stop at the grocery store? You run in, quickly find the item or items you need, speed down to the check-out area and lo and behold, the line is snaking all the way up the isle. You check around but there are no other cashiers open and you feel your blood start to boil.

You go on a verbal rampage inside your head about how you sure know how these things always happen to you – how you are such an idiot for thinking you could just jump in and out in time so that you wouldn’t be late. You start to think about how you’re always late to things and that you never leave yourself enough time to get to where you’re going and how your life pretty much sucks because all you ever do is rush from one thing to the next and never get a break.

Should we go back and count the negative thoughts that just came through from subjective beliefs we presume as true about what is happening here? I don’t think we have to actually count them, I think I’ve made the point.

But if we could somehow turn this event, (a long line at the grocery store and running late for a doctor’s appointment) into an objective fact rather than a subjective truth?

Your self-talk might go something like this: “It looks like this is going to take a while. There are long lines at this store often – it’s nothing out of the ordinary. But the wait at the doctor’s office is usually about a half hour. I am going to be about five minutes late, but that still leaves me enough time. Nothing to stress over.”

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? Not really. More like the difference between taking control and responding from an objective, factual point of view and choosing not to give subjective anxiety and fear control.

It will take a commitment to keep at it, but teaching ourselves how to respond more objectively to things is something that can improve life for each and every one of us.

I’d love to hear from you if you try this technique with just one little thing today or tomorrow. My email is colormywords@hotmail.com and I want to know about your personal results. If you grant me permission, I might even choose your experience for a future post!

ABOUT ME

I’m a licensed clinical social worker and have worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. I combine professional experience in the mental health field along with my love of writing to provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. I hope my down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life is easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

Polling All Belief Systems

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Computer Virus

Computer Virus

Its time for me to write so I boot up my computer and watch the screen as I sip on my Sobe. Wow…so many filters and firewalls so my computer can avoid harmful viruses and my identity and important personal information hopefully remains secure and safe.

Just imagine what it would be like if those filters were not in place, I think.

And then it hits me – this is what I’ve been trying to explain it must be like for us when we are young and our belief systems are forming. We don’t know what to think about how to make sense of the world on our own, so we absorb our beliefs and our mind-set from everything around us. But the scary part, is that we have no filter. As children, we don’t know which influences are harmful and which aren’t. We have no firewalls or anti-virus software to keep out hurtful information and beliefs.

A parent gets frustrated at a child and tells them that they will never amount to anything. It happens all the time. But think about the potential harm unfiltered thoughts and beliefs like this become. There is no reason for a young child to question the validity of this idea. They have made poor choices or done things that upset their parent and they hear that they will never amount to anything. Most likely, they don’t hear these types of comments just once, sadly, they are likely to hear it over and over again.

Talk about damaged self-esteem and crippling effects on a person’s future…

If beliefs like this get absorbed, it can’t possibly be an easy thing to counteract. The impact surely must be a very deep one and the effects that it has on a person’s future spills off into every aspect of their life. Undoing the harm is a worthy goal indeed; one that will require a lot of dedication and perseverance.

The question I am about to pose may seem as if it is being thrown into this post without any rhyme or reason. But trust me on this, there is absolutely a method to what may seem like my madness is bringing this up at this time.

What is the difference between truth and fact?

Take your time and really work out a very detailed answer to this question. Your response to this question is going to be the bases for the only effective method I know that can actually reconstruct life-damaging beliefs that we have held with us all our lives.

Are you up for the challenge to define what the difference between truth and fact means to you?

I’m including a poll below. PLEASE reply via comment with your selection and I will post results and how we proceed in a post in the near future.

ABOUT ME

I’m a licensed clinical social worker and have worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. I combine professional experience in the mental health field along with my love of writing to provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. I hope my down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life is easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

Coming to terms with abuse

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Coming to Terms With an Abusive Past

By Allie Gledhill

Acknowledging that you’ve had an abusive past isn’t so easy, but it’s the first step that you’ve got to take if you want to come to terms with your past and move forward in your life. Healing from abuse is possible – it is a difficult road but it is definitely worth taking.

Recognising abuse

(Please note some readers may find the following a little disturbing)

Many forms of abuse are obvious to people who observe the abuse with an outsiders point of view. A slap or a punch in the face from a violent partner seems like an unmistakable form of physical abuse. Or, to the reasonable-minded outsider, an adult engaging in sexual activity with a child or young teenager is judged to be an unquestionable misuse of adult power. But if you are the one at the receiving end of it, abuse isn’t always so obvious.

From the moment I was touched by one of my uncles in an inappropriate way, I had a feeling that what was happening to me was wrong. But I couldn’t put my finger on what, exactly, was so wrong and why I hated it so much when Uncle Nathan would come into my room at night and have sex with me. Didn’t I love my uncle? Hadn’t he put so much effort into being the father that I’d never had? And hadn’t I soaked up his attention, his approval and his emotional support? Even when my uncle’s activities with me became violent and I was left bruised and bleeding I didn’t fully understand that what was happening to me was wrong. For years my uncle had been telling me that our relationship was right, that he loved me and that our sexual relationship was my doing because I had been too attractive for him to resist. I trusted him and I believed him.

Wanting to speak out but not knowing how

As the abuse continued, I developed an increasingly burning desire to speak out about what was happening to me. Fear prevented me from speaking out and so the burden of not telling the truth weighed heavily on my heart. It prevented me from living an open, truthful life. I hated that I carried a dark secret and that I had to lie about how I got my fat lip and why I felt so compelled to drink myself into oblivion. At the same time, the idea of telling the truth seemed impossible.

Years later, after the abuse finally stopped, I felt I’d been keeping the secret for so long that I didn’t know how to start telling the truth about it. The idea of telling the truth seemed so massive and confronting that I couldn’t face it. So I brushed it under the carpet, convinced myself that I didn’t need to talk about it and that it wasn’t important that my friends and partner knew about my past. But still the desire to tell the truth would come creeping up and niggle at me, manifesting itself as shortness of breath and sometimes full-blown panic attacks. Eventually the panic attacks became so bad that I reluctantly dragged myself along to an abuse counselor.

Counselling and writing as therapy

Initially, I didn’t share the full truth with my counselor because I felt too ashamed. I skipped over parts of my story, avoided discussing certain events and would lie about my feelings and state that I felt fine about things when I clearly didn’t. I was at the beginning of my healing journey, the start of a long and difficult road that would present me with as many challenges as it would rewards. I didn’t know that the people that I would meet on my healing journey would become my friends for life, that I’d meet other abuse survivors who would provide me with an endless source of love and support. I never expected that old friends who knew me during my years of difficulty would reach out to me with messages of encouragement and acceptance that would touch my heart.

In my early stages of counseling, I was encouraged to write letters to my abuser and to anyone else that I felt I needed to forgive for their part in my abuse. I would sit down and write pages of letters, feeling my anger dissipate and my fears dissolve as I wrote. I never imagined that this exercise would eventually lead me to write my first book, An Angel in the Corner, and that I would experience the joy of meeting and working with other authors and writers.

When I was at the beginning of my healing journey I hadn’t yet come to terms with my abusive past. I didn’t think that I could ever be free from my past and that I would always have to lie about who I really was. I am so happy that my counselors have proved me wrong.

A note of encouragement

After you have been abused, you can never go back to the person you were before. But I believe that personal transformation is possible and that there are wonderful life gifts that can emerge from an abusive past. I don’t know what my life would have been like if I hadn’t been abused and I’m not interested in knowing. My past has made me who I am and I am finally comfortable with that. I have given myself the gift that my teenage self so desperately wanted – the joy of living an abuse free life.

   Allie Gledhill is the author of ‘An Angel in the Corner’