What sort of “truths” do you tell yourself on a daily basis? You know, that critical self-talk that plays in a loop that makes all your negative thoughts and fears much bigger than they really are? Nine out of ten of those things aren’t true at all.
But what if, like me, you learned very early that telling the truth could spell trouble? The truth was always flexible with everyone but parents, priests, and police. White lies or exaggeration was permissible if the intent was to spare feelings. Lies for the sake of covering my butt usually boomeranged back. If caught, they can mean deeper trouble because of the intention.
Here’s the truth. You can lie to anyone in your life about anything, often with little or no repercussions. But if you lie to yourself, you are inflicting as much damage as any disease.
I go through phases in my life when I take a good hard look at myself, and if I’m being honest, I’m not being all that I can be. If I would stop lying to myself about what I can or should do, I could get out of my own way. So I’m working on getting over and on with it.
How many times have you felt in your gut that you wanted to do something, then asked your friends and family their opinion, only to have them talk you out of it? Oh, most of them mean well, even think that they have your best interests at heart. But there is always one who will do their level best to sabotage any change you might want to make. Sometimes it is for the sole purpose of holding you back, keeping you in a stagnant space, and thereby making them look or feel better about themselves.
Or you make the mistake of comparing yourself to some highly successful celebrity who seems to have burst forth overnight. You have no idea how long and hard they worked to achieve their success or the team of behind-the-scenes connections they employed.
Your family might be especially skilled at activating unnecessary fear. They know what buttons to push. What they don’t realize is that their experience doesn’t have to be yours. Perhaps they failed miserably at achieving their goals, or never took a chance because their fears had been energized. You don’t have to be like them. You are unique, in a different time, space, and attitude than anyone who has “tried” in the past. There have been ideas that I haven’t shared with anyone close to me for these reasons. I can derail myself as fast as anyone. And I can be just as adept at staying the course and persevering if I would be honest with myself about what I needed to do.
Like the son of the attorney who was expected to follow in his father’s footsteps, attend the same college, and rise to the same, if not higher, station when what he really wanted for himself was to make movies. Or the daughter who shouldered the burden of providing grandchildren when all she dreamt of was traveling the world with a camera. If they follow the parent-pleasing path they might end up bitter having not fed their own truth.
You don’t owe anyone anything, except yourself. Ignoring your truth can spell big trouble if you continue to deny it. Like the puppy who goes unnoticed in the other room and makes a big mess because they didn’t have your attention. Pay attention to your truth, and care for it properly. Because if you don’t, no one else will.