I have been thinking a lot lately about truth. As human beings we seem to at some point or another in our lives be on a quest for the truth, and most of us at some point will be faced with the choice of believing someone or not, or maybe we will find ourselves on the other side of the coin where we are in a situation where we have to decide, do we tell the truth? or would it be better to lie?, and if it would be better, better for who?.
Unless you are living under a rock, you may have noticed that this has been a hot topic lately in the press, even more so since the growth of the #metoo movement. Lots of talk about telling ‘your truth’, who is telling ‘the truth’, how do we know?, or does it just end up being a popularity contest where actually the truth ceases to be of concern? and everyone just ends up on this crazy witch hunt to bring either party down. It seems that in most cases these days social media picks up the ball and runs with whatever truth the majority wants to believe, the Twitter mob rule, and bully anyone who disagrees with them into submission. The wonderful world we now live!.
‘There is your version , their version and somewhere in the middle is the truth”.
I do believe that in some cases this is the case. Two different people can have two different accounts of a situation or scenario. Nether party is deliberately lying they just have two very different ideas of how what happened. This of course is determined by many factors, how we are feeling that day, what else is going on in our lives, and sometimes it is as basic as what truth suits us best that day, we are all prone to seeing what we want to see rather than what is actually happening from time to time, that’s just human nature, but of course sometimes this isn’t the case and you have a situation where one of the party is just lying their ass off!.
I personally have always thought it is important to tell the truth in situations, even if it is difficult. I have been brought up in a very honest and open environment, almost an innocent one where black is black and white is white. No one is playing games, no one is trying to catch anyone out, no one is manipulating or doing anything they shouldn’t be doing. Therefore I guess I wasn’t really prepared for the manipulative side of society.
The Painful Truth
I have a very early memory of encountering a lie. It was primary school and I must have been 4, or however old you are when you first start school. We were playing with the toys outside and a boy ran over a girl on this wooden train we were playing on. He was sitting on the front of the train and I was behind him. When he ran over the girl and she started crying he leapt of the train left me just sitting there. The teacher came out, and to say she made Trunchbull look like Mary Poppins is an understatement, anyway, she asked the little girl what had happened and she said the train knocked her down, the boy then piped up “Lyndsey ran her over”, I remember the utter shock that I felt of being wrongly accused of something that I didn’t do.
The teacher then turned to the girl and said “did she”? and she just nodded. I couldn’t believe it, I was being thrown to the wolves and I had done nothing wrong and they knew it, and everyone else knew it. I had done nothing wrong but no one was telling the truth, no one was sticking up for me. Within seconds Trunchbull whipped me up by the scruff of my neck , and when I dared to say it wasn’t me , slapped me across the face and stood me in the corner. This was my very first experience that in life, people lie, and telling the truth sometimes just gets you a slap in the face.
This has seemed to be the way that things have gone over the years. Only the slap in the face at 4 escalated to being dragged out of bed by my hair in the middle of the night at 40, but hey, I guess as the infamous courtroom scene with Jack Nicholson in a Few Good Men goes, some people want the truth, but they just can’t handle the truth, or their alcohol, but that’s another story.
This is true of a lot of people, and that is the question you should ask yourself before pursuing the truth. What are you going to do if you actually receive it?, can you handle what may be coming your way?, when the adrenaline of the chase is over, when your confronted with the truth, when you finally have what you have devoted so much of your time to unfurling. Then what?.
I mean, if you have devoted so much of your time to finding out whatever it is that is bothering you, it must be because you expect something at the end?, you must be looking for an end result?, or are you so consumed with the pursuit you haven’t even thought about what happens in the end? are you just chasing the truth or what you think may be the truth when really the unhappiness is coming from elsewhere inside you?.
Good Truth Bad Truth.
My experiences of the truth differ a great deal. In my previous relationship I was constantly accused of having activity outside of my relationship, people at my gym , ex partners, men who may like a post of mine on social media or start following me on Instagram, the constant quizzing, scrutinising, accusing. This was untrue of course, and in order to make them feel more secure I would be honest about my relationships with men, friendships at the gym, past partners, etc. Little did I know at the time I was signing my own fate, I was unknowingly just adding fuel to an already internally blazing fire within that person. I was being manipulated and my honesty was to come back and haunt me at every opportunity. Ironic that they were the one doing the cheating in the end, cheating on me and still accusing me, now it all started to make sense.
Knowing the truth about the infidelity was the only thing that kept me sane, it was the thing that in my darkest of hours I could hold onto, when the self-doubt crept in and I thought that I may be some part to blame for the behaviour of this person, this was my validation that I absolutely wasn’t. I never admitted I knew the truth. I kept it to myself, and in this instance, knowing that truth as bizarre as it may seem saved my sanity.
Then there has been times in my life when I thought I should tell the truth and it wasn’t received in the way I thought it would be, and its on this note that I feel the need to squash this myth about ‘girl code’ , there is no girl code. Not where boys are concerned. Telling the truth to a woman where a man is concerned is a waste of time. It becomes a battle of the wills. A competition, where he becomes the prize and you become a nutter, a stalker, whatever it maybe , your that, and he’s s a hero!. Some women would rather win a disloyal man than lose him to another woman. That’s a fact.
I once had a partner who cheated on me with a woman, left me for her, then cheated on her with me!!. Yes I was much younger, had much lower self-esteem and a lot lower standards. However when I found out about this tangled little web, I presented it all to the ‘other women’ in the form of emails, texts , hard evidence in black and white. This could not be denied, there was no way he could have gotten out of it, but he did, he told her I was a crazy bitch and a computer expert who had fabricated all the emails, and she believed him. I got dumped and they lived happily ever after, well for about a year until he was found out again for his extra curricular activity, but this time she found out herself, there was no battle to be won, he was no longer viewed as a prize, and his behind was kicked unceremoniously to the kerb. Of course I took no pleasure at all when I was passed this information, saying I told you so never even crossed my mind!.
Older and Wiser .. or just Apathetic?
So my attitude towards the truth has changed a lot over the years. I no longer feel as strongly about it as I did, I certainly don’t feel the need to be a purveyor of truth to others anymore. Nor do I spend time wondering if people are telling me the truth. If the past couple of years has taught me anything, it’s that often , the truth doesn’t help and often the truth doesn’t change circumstances, and certainly in some cases giving the truth to some people can be dangerous, and I certainly wont be compromising my sanity or health trying to convince anyone of anything anymore. You believe me or you don’t and I shall believe you until there becomes a time when I don’t , and for me it is no more complicated than that. I don’t have the tolerance or head space for trying to figure anyone out anymore and I am certainly not interested in proving myself to anyone or worrying about if they believe me or not, and I have to say I do feel much calmer since adopting this approach, it was an unintentional one, and one that has come around through tough circumstances but I am pleased it has.
My inspiration for writing this blog post was the recent Kavanaugh/Ford hearings in the US. This fascinated me, this was quite different as there was a huge political agenda behind this and it seemed to become less about if Dr Ford was telling the truth and more about the humiliation of a potential (now confirmed) Supreme Court Justice. Watching this play out was fascinating and disturbing at the same time for so many reasons that I wont go into here, but at the end of the day this woman told her story and he told his and it came down to who was believed, the opposing sides both had their agenda for wanting either party to be found to be telling the truth and I don’t think either agenda was based around genuine concern for a woman who may or may not have been assaulted.
That brings me back around to what I was saying about reasons for telling the truth and reasons for pursuing the truth. Do both for the right reasons. Do both with good intentions. You wont always get what you want and it wont always go the way you think it should, but if your intentions are good you can hold your head up high regardless of the outcome. It is on that note, I leave you with the following thought.
‘The yogic practice of satya (truth) focuses on carefully choosing our words so they do the least harm—and most good’.
Thank you for reading