The Power of Truth

Why do we lie? We may think people cannot handle the truth. We may fear loss of respect and the judgment of others. We may fear not having the right answer, being thought of as stupid, losing face, not looking good. We may feel shame about having to confess something we have done or failed to do. Underneath all of that is the fear of rejection. These are all fears of the ego.

That’s the bad news—the ways of the world, the human condition. Each time we  tell a lie we diminish our personal power. We fraction ourselves off a little more. It is as if we had to create a different compartment in our minds to remember what we said to whom and not to get caught in a lie. Like Sir Walter Scott’s “tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive,” lies take a life of their own and require ongoing maintenance. Maintaining the illusion of a lie takes effort and valuable mental energy (mind power) that could be much better spent in other areas of our lives. The word “integrity” stems from “integer,” as in whole number. More than morality, telling the truth is about achieving and maintaining personal wholeness.

The good news is that every time we tell the truth, in spite of whatever discomfort it might cause, we increase our personal power. Not only that, taking a stand for the truth, for ourselves, in the present is like a time fuse into the past, healing previous similar situations in which we were unable to do so. To paraphrase a former teacher: We can all eventually come around to handle the truth, any truth. What we cannot handle are the lies.

Being truthful to oneself may be the most challenging, as it entails sifting through the filters, veils and decoys of the ego. Blind spots are by definition that: places we can’t see. This is one of the benefits of doing retreats and connecting with others on a similar wavelength who are also radically committed to living truthfully and who can mirror back to us some of those areas that are difficult to see.

One important aspect of telling the truth connected to self-expression involves being who we are fully, not hiding parts of ourselves in order to attain the illusion of acceptance. Standing up for ourselves, for our truth, requires courage. Sometimes there will be push back, possibly repercussions. We might even be concerned about the survival of a relationship.

The world eventually aligns around the truth. This does not mean we will necessarily get a standing ovation when we take a stand for our beliefs. Yet it is a chance we are willing to take, for we have to live with ourselves and face the mirror each morning, and in order to sleep peacefully at night. Great freedom lies simply in being our authentic selves.

Speak only the truth. Lying eats away at our personal power.


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