My mother once said something to me that I deemed to be very profound and I have never forgotten it:
There are two types of truths: the one we want to believe, and the real truth.
There have been many situations where I have deceived myself into believing that situations were different to reality. I stayed with a sociopathic ex-boyfriend for far too long because I wanted to believe that he loved me, despite the appalling way that he treated me. I’ve continued with friendships that I knew had changed, simply because of the familiarity I felt and the length of time I had known them. I’ve ignored my intuition and repeatedly allowed myself to be taken advantage of by others on many occasions because I wanted to believe that they were good people, and I’ve found myself being emotionally burnt time and time again.
This self-deception, or even willful ignorance to a point, is the easy path to take in so many aspects of life. As good people, we want to believe in the positive – that we’re happy and fulfilled, that the connections that we feel with others are reciprocated and that things are exactly how we want them to be. In truth, and by this I mean the real truth, it is incredibly painful to be able to accept an actuality once we acknowledge that our reality is very different to the way that we would hope.
There are no rules, or the right (or indeed, wrong) way to do things in life. Each of us is bumbling our way through our own journey and whether we believe that we create our own path, or destiny plays a hand, we make the decisions that we feel are right for us in the moment.
But what should we do once the real truth presents itself?
1. Decide what it is that you actually want, however painful it is to acknowledge.
2. Work out the things you can and cannot change. I, and many people around me, get easily stressed and upset by situations that are beyond our control and I have found that it is a huge waste of time and energy.
3. Claim ownership. While others may have been contributing factors to your present situation, it is you that is ultimately responsible for your own life.
4. Put a plan into place, and actually work towards it. Wishing and dreaming about something isn’t going to get you anywhere.
5. Take the risk. To my knowledge, we only have one life, and a life without risks means that we accept the easy path. Nothing worth having is easy.
What about you? Have you ever been confronted with a ‘real truth.’ What did you do?
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I have never been very good at deciding what I want, but once I find out what I actually want in a given situation I’m usually quite good at working towards that goal.
Truth is hard. It’s not agreed whether there are universal truths, relative truths, truths just for us – so it’s a long journey.
Is to look inward to ‘know’ – or is it to live in a fantasy of self-deception? Name your poison.
What did they say about Solomon – that he knew he knew nothing, and for that he was wise.
I think #1 – getting used to the idea of accepting truth and getting comfortable with it – carries its own reward.
Reblogged this on Speak Through Your Heart and Your Mind Will Follow and commented:
Great post Suzie. Differentiating between what we want to believe and the real truth is important and painful – otherwise we wouldn’t be deluding ourselves. I worry about group-think in US politics and the way facts are disregarded in favor of “fake truth.” For myself, facing the truth often entails an uncomfortable decision. I tend to “try on” one decision for a few minutes (or hours) and then “try on” the other. My physical reaction almost always tells me the truth.
Delusion is destructive. You’ve given good advice.
Here’s how I turned my “victim mode” into “victor mode.” By one motto: It is far better to be the leaver than the leavee.
When I registered the signs that I wasn’t happy or he wasn’t happy, I’d talk with my significant other. If talking didn’t solve the problem, or the old patterns emerged after a month or so, I stopped trying to save the relationship and instead I planned,for the (his or my) exit. Only once did I fail to heed that advice, and I just had to pick a guy who was dating and dumping women similar to his ex-wife so he’d feel better about his manliness..
Lest you think I’d leave (or throw him out) for frivolous reasons, my first husband almost killed me and the 3rd had an explosive temper. And lest you think I can’t keep a relationship, I’ve been with number 5 for almost 1/3 of my life. 🙂
I have a new motto: It is far better to write and to live with dogs than to worry about pleasing a man.
End of story. 🙂
This is a fantastic post, Suzie. I kept nodding my head while reading your words. Years ago I remember hearing the words, “The Truth Shall Set You Free”. It took me eons to understand what it meant. For me, personally, it means to (as you described in your post) embrace the ‘real’ truth; which, in and of itself can set you free from the deception of the mind’s ‘pretend’ truth. Owing the real truth can set you free from the overwhelming lies we tell ourselves in order to create a false reality. It is only then, I feel, we can take off the ‘false coat’ and begin to move forward. Cher xo
I’ve had relationships with close family members that deep down I knew were toxic and made me unhappy but I didn’t want to believe it and accept the situation was unlikely to improve. I don’t think I’ll ever fully stop questioning the what-ifs and feeling sad about it but overall I am better off out of the situation.
When I was in the middle of the situation I could not have imagined how my life would have even worked without those people in it. The biggest surprise was the massive feeling of relief and sense of freedom I felt once I was outside of the bubble.
I try to listen to my gut much more now and if a relationship makes me feel tense or on edge I’ll slowly back away instead of trying to force it and improve it. Sometimes you have to trust the chemistry you feel even with friendships!
Truth is a difficult concept. I’ve often believed there are 3 sides to every story. Your side, my side, and the truth. The truth usually lies somewhere in the middle, but because we are emotionally invested in things it is very hard for people to actually see it.
Perception becomes truth. You and I can both share the same experience, and what seems true to me may not be the same for you.
As for what to do once the real truth presents itself, I don’t think there are any right or wrong answers. Each choice we make has impacts, and the right choice for one person isn’t necessarily the right choice for another.
Life sure is complex sometimes.
In my life i have begun to learn to always trust my gut insticnt becaseu it is always right. I’m not saying I have always listened to it but it has always been right. Another lesson learned in midlife.
Absolutely! I know that my gut is right, but it is only as I have got older that I have learned to trust it. However, I do become an ostrich sometimes and stick my head in the sand. Please forgive my late reply!
As Robyn Hitchcock once sang, God finds you naked and he leaves you dying/what happens in between is up to you.
We’re here for a limited time only, no guarantees. And I guess, if we gave the real truth more room we’d be doing better things with our time.
I think that’s a beautiful thought – thanks so much! Please forgive my late reply!
I think I’m quite good at knowing the actual truth all the time while others can’t see it. I was just saying today that my judge of character is usually never wrong. I don’t judge people instantly. Also, on the only ever occasion where I have taken an instant dislike to someone, they were then sacked by the company almost a year later as “they didn’t fit”…I somehow knew that instantly.
My judge of character is often awful… I have been known to try and give people a chance and got burnt on numerous occasions!
I know the truth is out there, but I must admit there are times when I avoid it like the plague. Sometimes, it’s just easier to swallow the truth slowly over time…
I’m the same – sometimes I become a proverbial ostrich and bury my head in the sand and hope that it goes away. I need to stop doing that.
You have a rather cute head. Keep it out for the rest of us to admire. 😉
Aww bless you – thanks!
As I get older I think I’m better at walking away from a situation when I see a real truth I don’t like. I like your mother’s quote. It’s very similar to a line in the book I’m currently working. On the whole though I don’t think there are too many real truths, just perceptions that a lot of people choose to agree upon.
I think that’s a really interesting idea Phil – the idea of perception. It’s something that perhaps I need to think about a little more…
I love this post. It is so easy to blame what has happened to us and in our lives to those around us. But, if we choose to take responsibility, we are then capable of changing the outcome of those situations. To take something that is a part of your life, and own it. Let it make you better.
Thanks so much Kari Ann, and please forgive my late reply! I totally agree, stand up, be accountable and do your best. We only have one life…
But that means diving within myself and finding out what lies there. I don’t like the idea of it. *sarcasm sign… kind of*
Haha! I agree – its always difficult!
Great read. I’ve just written on the very same subject! Hope you like it 🙂