31 Days of Giving Permission . . . TO TELL THE TRUTH

31 days of giving permission 200x130

We’re almost at the end of this giving permission cycle,
 this recognition that sometimes,
we need someone else to say,
“Yes! That’s a grand idea!
Go for it!” 

And today’s topic is a tricky one, isn’t it?
Because sometimes when you want to tell the truth,
you can feel as lonely as this lighthouse,
out there all by itself,
trying to keep the ship off the rocks,
all by its lonesome. 

Because the truth about the truth is this:
There are always more layers than we know.

Life is complicated,
and understanding what has happened,
why it has happened,
and who made it happen
can sometimes take a while to suss out.

This is most especially true when it comes to truth-telling
about anybody else — we cannot know all the pieces,
all the layers of their story, can we?

Maybe that’s why I want to emphasize personal truth-telling
in this post: telling the truth about yourself,
as well as you possibly can,
with care and caution and concern. 

There are a lot ‘catch-words’ about this truth-telling stuff
making the rounds these days.
Words like ‘authenticity,’ ‘vulnerability,’ ‘telling-it-like-it-is.’
And those are fine words, good words, important words.
But sometimes, in our efforts to tell the truth,
we can find ourselves standing out there, all by our lonesome,
a bright red tree against a sea of green,
calling attention to ourselves,
and not always in the way we intended, either. 

So, I want to give you permission to tell the truth,
to tell your truth.

But I want to give it with  a caution.
Tell it first to a small group of like-minded people,
people who know you, who love you, who want the best for you.
Then you won’t feel like so much of a stand-out —
you’ll be one among several.
Sometimes we need to practice truth-telling
in a safe environment,
with people who know us,
before we make any declarations to the universe
about who we are and what we’re dealing with. 

Then, when the time comes
to tell the truth in a bigger pond,
a pond where you really might be the stand-out attraction,
you’ll have that experience to help you tell it.
You’ll shine, and you’ll begin to reflect
the Truth with a capital “T” to all who listen.
And that’s the kind of truth-telling that changes things.

Authenticity is a very good thing;
just make sure you know your truth very well indeed
before you share it with the wider world. 

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  1. I love this advice Diana. I hope I can take it in and live it. Love your wisdom. Need it. Thank you for speaking the truth about truth.

  2. “oh my wud” as my granddaughter would say whenever she is taken with the amazingness of something she hears. (She can’t say her “r’s” yet! ) That was my response this morning as i read what you wrote. I couldn’t agree more. There is a good kind of safety in your advice. While making “safety” our isn’t healthy, there is such wisdom in this.

    I recently heard a pastor decrying the fact that when we gather as a church, it is a shame we can’t be as honest when they share as 12-step group. (where “rigorous honesty” is required. That frustrated me and right here is why. I do believe we hide and posture in ways that present only our “good side” and that is not healthy but that is not what you are talking about. Thank you for this. I will keep this in mind along with about everything else you write. I am glad it’s all here on your blog. You are a wise woman.

    And as I start my group therapy experience this week, I am reminded this too is a place to understand more about what is true about me. – “understanding what has happened, why it has happened, and who made it happen.”

    • LOVE that granddaughter phrase, Carol! And HOORAY for the group therapy experience. I think it will be a good and safe place for you – I’m praying in that direction. (Thanks for your continuing encouragement – I am grateful.)

  3. This is a difficult post for me to digest, Diana. My family will tell you that, like my mother before me, I’m a very private person. I am always truthful in what I share, but I’m definitely not comfortable telling others everything about myself. Nor do I feel compelled to do so. I have trouble with the concept that people — even family or close friends — should be able to see into the inner me. It might be because I don’t have a terribly introspective nature myself. But for those who feel a need to be better understood, this is wonderful advice.

    • Nor should you feel compelled to tell ‘others everything about myself.’ I am SO not advocating that here. Just the opposite, actually. When you’ve done some good hard inner work and you feel released by the Spirit to share it, share it carefully and wisely. That’s all I’m trying to say here. And for those who are not comfortable sharing much at all, that’s just fine. We all have limits – well, most of us! – and they need to be respected. I am guessing that there have been occasions in your life when you have shared something close with someone who needed to hear it. That’s what truth-telling is. For some of us, that will involve a bigger arena – and if there is wisdom and prayer accompanying such sharing, I’m all for it. But I’m also for keeping it small. Your personality requires small. And that is okay by me. (A beautiful example of the bigger arena is Michelle DeRusha’s post today. Amazing.)

  4. Excellent advice Diana. I have another idea about truth I want to get your thoughts on. I believe sometimes we can tell the truth about ourselves, but because it involves others it can be a hurtful thing. I wonder if sometimes we tell the truth to feel better while at the same time causing pain to someone else. I have stories to tell, but they are not mine alone. So I sometimes feel I’m not as “authentic” as I should be. It is a fine line.

    • You are right, Linda. When it involves others, it is not just our truth. That’s the distinction I was trying to make with this post. We cannot always know another’s truth. And sadly, some of our own is so intricately intertwined with the truth of others, that it’s impossible for us to tell certain parts of who we are, at least in a large group setting. I do think you need a safe place to tell as much of your truth as you are comfortable telling. A small group, a writing group, a one-on-one conversation with a spiritual director, or a therapist, or a very good friend. These are all places where we can tell that kind of truth. And sometimes we really do need to tell it. But certainly not within the confines of a blog post, or a book. There are some areas too tender, aren’t there?

      • Yes Diana. And I am blessed with friends with whom I have shared and it is so comforting just to be really known. Thanks so much for this.

  5. Gwen Acres says

    Sometimes I tell the truth because I need to confess; sometimes because it makes me feel better to share my burden; sometimes because I really want to be known for who I am. But always one hopes that the listener hears with love and compassion. Telling God first is the best place to start!

    • What a great list, Gwen. Yes, all of those things are true for most of us. But starting with God – and with ourselves – is a must. Thanks.