|Posted on May 9, 2016 at 9:05 AM|
When we are children we are taught that truth is an absolute; we are reprimanded for not “telling the truth”. Life is often presented to us in terms of right and wrong, black and white, do it this way not that way. We learn there is a right and a wrong way to do things. We listen and we learn, and the truth of our caretakers and the truth our society become our truth. We begin to form truths around critical subjects like emotions, religion, money, food, relationships, and even cursory subjects like housekeeping and fashion. For every topic there seem to be parameters of truth. And they are presented in a way that makes them absolutes. Even non-negotiable at times.
As we age we realize many of these truths no longer fit us, but we continue to embrace them because they are so tied to the people from whom we learned them. So many times my clients have shared that they either feel guilty about no longer believing something, or they struggle because they cannot distinguish what they believe from what they have been taught to believe. Either way they express feelings of uncertainty, betrayal, and confusion. Their truths, which once felt solid and secure, now seem murky and unclear. When we question and examine our foundation, we begin to see the cracks, and that can be unsettling and even frightening.
And yet, why wouldn’t our truths be different from others, why wouldn't they change? Why wouldn’t we struggle with altering something that we have been taught is an absolute? And why would it not be unsettling to realize that our paradigms have shifted? First and foremost, we are changing beings. We are not static. We are not constants. We learn, we have relationships and experiences, and these expand and change us. They alter our perspective. They open our hearts. They increase our capacity for compassion and empathy. Or they harden us and close our hearts. Perhaps our experiences make us fearful and anxious. Either way we are changed, and it makes sense that our personal truths would change along with us.
The first task is to understand that truth is not an absolute. It is not the same for everyone. Our truths differ because our experiences differ. Our truths come from living our lives, and seeing things through very personal lenses. They are grounded and birthed in our experiences, which give rise to our perspectives. And they change, sometimes daily, and that is actually healthy. Because it means we are able in any given moment to look at what is and adapt. It means we don’t hold onto old beliefs that no longer serve us well, and maybe they never did. It means we extend grace to those who operate with a different set of truths, understanding that theirs are as valid as ours. It means we are present and open and willing to receive.
When we can rise each morning and be present with whom we are, and what is, in the new day, we are able to see our truth more clearly. We are able to be our truth more easily, and we are able to see that it may or may not be the same as yesterday’s truth. And of course, as always, we then find the love and compassion within ourselves to allow others leeway in their quest for truth. We find it infinitely easier to witness differences in others when we acknowledge and embrace that we too, find truth to be ever changing and elusive.