Getting clear about your truth-telling and sharing authentic stories will better serve you — and the people you care about
So here we are a few weeks into 2017 — no worries, I won’t discuss the ‘r’ word (resolutions). As a matter of fact, I no longer play that game. The last thing I need is another to-do list. I’m sure you can relate to being ‘to-do’ listed up the wazoo! That strategy doesn’t work for me. While in theory, it always sounds like a good idea, it invariably only provides me with fodder to beat myself up for not making my goals. Nope, not going down that path this year. Instead, I am committing to simplify things this time around the sun: listen more, bypass less, tell the truth (repeat).
I’ve been thinking about the notion of truth-telling. Your initial reaction may be, well, I do tell the truth. Do you? We say a lot of things throughout the course of the day that aren’t quite aligned with our truth. We become quite accustomed to saying things to please other people in big and small ways in both our personal and professional encounters. But there’s no escaping the reality that when we bypass our feelings and shove them to the side, we are not telling the truth to ourselves. When we present a façade that is all buttoned up and polished, we are not telling the truth to others. When we pretend that our lives look like our social media feeds, we aren’t telling the truth to the world. We are collectively feeding the untruth machine.
So why is this ‘truth-telling’ so important? Because it is within this sacred space that we share our authentic selves, where we can genuinely connect and where we can grow and heal on a deeper level.
Have you ever felt that relief of ‘coming clean’ with someone, that release of burden? It takes a great deal of energy to maintain a ‘story’. What story have you been telling to yourself and others? And what price have you been paying to maintain it?
It has to start with yourself. As an old African proverb says, be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt. Takeaway: you can’t give what you have not given yourself.
I’m a lover of words — and words strung together are the poetry of life. They evoke emotion, they transport us and most importantly, they share story. They create the space of communion, the place we can meet. Lately, I have observed a theme playing out, a kind of rally cry for connection, but connection on a different level — the level that only truthful storytelling can provide.
When I made a more vulnerable than usual post on social media baring a personal vice I once had, it received a flurry of activity, triple the amount of other posts. When I took a small group of 16-year olds to lunch to talk about ‘self-worth’ and their experience, they conveyed a unilateral desire to hear of others’ experiences. At a friend’s memorial, I was transported through the decades of his life via the sharing of his stories — not the recounting of his resume, but rather the flavor of his life encounters. The thread weaving through this is story.
I am committing to simplify things: listen more, bypass less, tell the truth — the real truth.Click to tweet
And yet, the world tells us not to share our stories — to compartmentalize the different parts of ourselves. We are told to separate our business and our personal lives, but I don’t believe that is possible or prudent, or something I want to do.
Story connects us. When my vulnerability connects with yours, we meet in the space of our humanness, in all of its guts and glory. Our young people want to hear our stories so that they can have the courage to live theirs. If we present ourselves to them as we do on our Facebook profiles, we are setting them up for something that is unattainable. Let’s face it, we all want permission to know that it is ok to stumble, to fall and then pick back up, dust off and carry on.
Because here’s the danger — when we grow up afraid to fail, we don’t make a move. This isn’t the legacy we want to leave our kids. Not telling our kids the truth about our own experiences, doesn’t make them go away.
In a recent interview with author Elizabeth Lesser, we talked about a term she calls, ‘Authenticity Deficit Disorder’, which essentially explains how we hide our true selves, how we relate to one another on a surface level, afraid to reveal too much.
We spend so much time and anguish circling each other’s inauthentic, wounded selves. It’s shockingly liberating to break the cycle of authenticity deficit disorder. And a first step in doing so is to realize how we all suffer from ADD (authenticity deficit disorder).
~ Elizabeth Lesser
Where can you bring forth more refreshing YOU-ness?
Where can you insert your real feelings, whether it’s around the dinner table or the boardroom?
This might feel fear-inducing or impossible in some scenarios, with some people — and there may be some truth to that. Not everyone is ready to play in the sandbox. It starts in small ways, in conversations with the people closest to us.
Truth-telling is a superpower.
Stories remind us to live, to reach, to grow, to become more of who we were meant to be — to not compromise ourselves. What if we all stopped making up stories and lived our true ones?
Share honestly. Share your vulnerabilities. Share your fears. Share your insecurities. Share your vices, your mishaps, foibles and messiness. You might just be surprised how others not only rally around you, but more importantly how you begin to see it all differently — how it is possible to step out of that story you have been telling yourself…and into a new one.
Back to my promises to self:
- Listen More: Trust your own voice, your inner truth.
- Bypass Less: Don’t deny yourself what you are feeling.
- Tell The Truth: Say what you mean, mean what you say.
It’s truth-telling time and that’s a promise to self that’s worth keeping. And as we all know, the truth shall set your best self free.
As always, I love to know how this resonates with you. Are you telling the truth? Share with me in the comments below.