What’s the one thing everybody wants, but doesn’t really want at the same time? The one gift everyone asks for, yet nobody can really accept? The one premise, any person, of any belief system, demands of others in all types of interactions and relationships, and preaches as their very own foremost virtue.
There is not one person on this earth that does not like the notion of truth. It’s a moral axiom, a core principle we’ve been taught, from a very young age, to abide by. Be honest, tell the truth, don’t lie and you’ll be a better person for it.
Better, yes. Liked, well, not so much.
In truth, no one likes the truth. And though we all request it from others, we don’t really want it. Becuase as hard as it is to accept it, it’s equally as difficult to deliver it. It’s not an easy pill to swallow. Few people have the stomach for undiluted, pure honesty. For objective reality in all its glory. And even if they can swallow that bitter bite you’re offering them, they can’t digest it. Their weak ego can’t handle it; it’s bent and then broken from the weight of honesty. The weight of consequences, reprecussions and what that “courtesy” means. For both the person on the giving end and the one on recieving end. And while we say, and even sometimes believe, that we only want people in our lives who give it to us straight, can we really accept it?
Not always and definitely not with everything.
Because, above all, you’re human. You have compassion for the people you love, you sympathize with them and their problems, you understand why it is that they’re feeling like shit, and you don’t want to see them in pain. Your truth is something they might not be able to handle, something they may very well ask you for, though they don’t realize they don’t really want to hear it. Because your truth will be different from theirs, and it will hurt. So instead of causing them even more by saying something completely frank, you take their well-being into consideration, adding a bit of sugar to that spoonful of medicine; just to help it go down. You bend your rigid integrity, and you do it for one reason; so that you might ease their pain, if only just for a while.
Before the truth becomes liberating, before it heals you, it hurts like hell. And sometimes, compassion from someone who loves you, is worth more than their honesty.
Most, deep down, are fully aware of what the truth is. They already know; it stings and it burns. It’s an open wound, throbbing. They don’t want to hear it from you too. Not really. They want you to tell them that, despite that truth, in the end, things will turn out for the best. They don’t need you to make another cut right on top of the one struggling to heal.
And you, who demand straightforwardness, be ready for it. Brace yourself for impact. Because pure honesty and the complete truth, require you to have the stomach for it. You won’t always like what you hear, your hopes might be shot to hell, and it might just hurt. Some people can’t descern the lines between being truthful yet humane, and being blunt to the point of being mean. Honesty doesn’t come in measures. You can’t be selective with what you want to accept. It won’t come in a small dose, it won’t come just a bit at a time, it won’t leave out the things you don’t want to face and deal with. It’s all or nothing here, baby. So, before you demand it, before truth and honesty become your ultimatums, first make sure that you can handle them.
Your insecurities just may find themselves front and center and everything you fear will come out of those little boxes you’ve locked them away in. Emotions and things you don’t want to deal with will get caught in the crosshairs and you’re the one who will have opened up that flood gate.
There’s no harm in being a diplomat. And there’s a reason there are “white lies”. There’s a legitimate excuse for someone to bend the truth. It’s called emotion. Yours and the person’s you’re dishing that truth out to. You can maintain your integrity and your core principle of always being honest and, at the same time, refrain from being a complete asshole.
Here’s the thing about honesty and truth, though; it’s an oxymoron. Because there is never one universal truth. And honesty is subjective. The problem is people rarely know what the truth is. Not even for themselves. Because to know what is true for you, you must first know yourself, have a belief system and know precisely what you want. Even then though, the truth changes. I don’t love you today, is true for today. But does that mean I won’t love you tomorrow? Can you be sure that a year down the line I won’t love you still? And vice versa. As the world changes, as you change, so does your point of view, and thus, your truth. There is not one miniscule part of it that is unwavering, that cannot be altered. It is not the same forever and always. It’s not a constant; today’s truth is different from tomorrow’s. And yours is different from mine; if, that is, I know myself and my own in the first place.
So when I ask for the truth, I want your truth, today’s truth. Not past truths concerning other people and not predictions of possible tomorrows’.
Each person has their own version of it, based on their experiences, their own belief system, their character and their very own ego. It’s personal. And it concerns one’s ego if you really think about it. And for a person I love, but who can’t accept any kind of truth -who can’t handle their own, let alone mine- I’d rather be understanding and compassionate, putting myself in their shoes, rather than be blunt and hurtful, trying to get them to see things from my perspective. I won’t shove it down your throat if you’re just going to spit it up afterwards. I won’t hurt you just to be able to say that I never bent the truth to save someone a bit of heartache.
And, if “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” as someone said to me once, so be it. See you courtside.
So, if that’s the kind of “friend” you’re looking for, do us both a favor and don’t ask me. I am a diplomat, I’ll give you your medicine but I’ll sugar coat it for you if I think my words will hurt you; because I care more about you and your emotions than my own ego.
Besides, honestly, you never really know.
And that too is the truth.