Weekly Thought Volume - 104 - Handling the truth, as I see it

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The following is an extract from one of my fave movies - A Few Good Men (or as it's known in Australia - Three Grouse Blokes):

Jessep (Jack): "You want answers?"

Kaffee (Tom): "I think I'm entitled to them."

Jessep: "You want answers?"

Kaffee: "I want the truth!"

Jessep: "You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall."

Maybe Jessep wasn't completely wrong...

Sorry for boring you with half of the script but I love that part of the film (must be a guy thing). Even though Jack was kind of out of his tree when he spoke those words in the court room, he was, on some level, providing his audience with a certain degree of insight, honesty and truth. He spoke some truth about the truth. So to speak. And the truth is that many people don't want to hear the truth - they want to hear what they're comfortable to hear.

So often we'd prefer not to be confronted, challenged or questioned and we definitely don't want to have to change our beliefs, behaviours or habits.  That's too uncomfortable and too inconvenient. And frankly, (to be honest) too much work. We're fine with the truth so long as it doesn't mean that we have to modify or interrupt our lives in any significant way.

So instead of being open to learning some valuable truth, truth that could change our reality for the better, we often become defensive, critical and/or angry. Acknowledging certain things would mean that we'd have to do something different and be different... and that's the last thing we want to do, so we don't. "Let them do the changing."

Sorry for being honest...

Over the years I have been abused by many people for being bluntly honest about certain issues. I call it honest, they call it offensive.

Funny that. Perspective can be the difference between being empowered and educated, and being a victim. People ask me for advice and then when I tell them what they don't want to hear, they criticize me. Apparently it makes them feel better about themselves. I try to never (ever) tell people the truth to hurt, discourage or criticize - only to help them create positive change in their life.  Note I said try.  And yes of course, there is a time, a place and a way to deliver certain messages with sensitivity and compassion, but there's also a time when we need to stop skirting the issues and actually deal with things head on - as unpopular and as uncomfortable as that may be.

Harsh? Nope; honest. The truth. Sometimes, things are as offensive as we make them. We can get offended or we can get enlightened. Smart. Proactive. Different. We can make a positive from something we once would have made a negative. The important thing about truth is how we deal with it and what we do with it. And many of us deal with it badly. Or don't deal with at all.

My experience is that the majority of people lie when questioned in any depth about those things that strike closest to them, such as work,  lifestyle, exercise and nutritional habits. That is, they don't tell the whole truth. They selectively leave things out. They are more concerned with 'looking and sounding good' than they are with telling the absolute truth and genuinely addressing their problems in a real and practical way.  We talk to our customers about all of these things everyday.  Some don't want to face the situation they are in. It's part of our job to get them to see where they are and what they can do about it.

There's a wacky thought.

An old question I used to ask all the time is this:

"I can tell you what you want to hear, or I can tell you the truth... which would you prefer?"

Some people respond positively to this statement, others cross their legs and arms (and brains) and assume the defensive position.

Clearly, I've come to destroy their lives.

I can usually identify the brick walls even before I open my mouth. Their body language is screaming:

  1. I don't want to be here - but somebody is making me.
  2. Please don't refer to me, look at me, ask me a question or involve me in any way.
  3. I am absolutely not ready to change, so don't you dare try and make me!
  4. Anyway, who are you to tell me anything, you big tool?

The years have taught me to be a little more selective and discerning about what truth I share, when and where I share it, and with whom.

My family members are usually the butt of most of my careless remarks because I feel most at ease with them, but when I'm talking to other people these days, the first thing I do is find out whether or not they're genuinely ready to step into reality and talk about the core issues (about their situation and problems) in a real, honest and truthful manner. It's MY reality, of course.  And if you asked for my opinion, what else would I give you?

I do not try to deal with people who do not want to listen. And neither should you.

It's an exercise in frustration and futility. And sometimes, hostility!

We all do it.

We all avoid the truth from time to time. I've done it, you've done it. It's easier. For a while. Then it's much harder. Much harder. We do it with our health, our relationships, our career, our finances, our destructive habits... our life. It's called head-in-the-sand-itis. Most times, dealing with and acknowledging the truth in a honest, logical and practical manner (especially when it comes to our own behaviours and habits) will save us plenty of time, heart-ache and frustration over the long term.

Ignoring the fact doesn't change the fact.

It is what it is.

Sometimes we just need to open our eyes.