Can You Handle The Truth?

It takes courage to face the truth because the truth comes will all sorts of anxieties, disappointments, and
responsibilities which we would rather avoid.  The truth can be painful.  It can be challenging.  It means we must pull our heads out of the sand and do something to help ourselves—wake up, get up, stand up, pony up, man up, grow up.

These are words of wisdom from by Jennifer Kunst, Ph.D. in A Headshrinker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

For example, here are some random generic truths we must muster the courage to face (in no particular order of difficulty or importance):

  • Even if we did not entirely create our problems, we are responsible for dealing with them.
  • We are stuck with our families, and there must be something right that our parents did do.
  • Holding onto grievances doesn’t do anybody any good.
  • Truth itself is relative. Most of the things we firmly believe in are almost certainly wrong in different contexts.
  • The future is not determined by the past; we can always do better.
  • We cannot please everyone, we make mistakes, hurt other people, have ugly, aggressive, selfish, lazy, greedy impulses.
  • Everyone will die.

Individually, we are not very good when it comes to finding the courage needed to overcome all sorts of personal challenges and face certain realities.

We value our friends because they are awesome people – of course – but also because they have means to force us to remember or see things we don’t see, or don’t want to see.

The trick is that they also have the power to put us down or lift us up. To make us feel confident – or not – that we can face some of the difficult truths we should address to make our life better.

I call this power the friendship truth boost.

Can You Handle The Truth

It’s important to identify positive truth boost and negative truth boost.

Most times, we trust our friends enough to listen to what they have to say. But sometimes not enough to remember that they usually have our best interest in mind, even though they can be oblivious to their own bias, even though their core values may conflict with ours.

As stated, truth itself can be relative, and depends on context and beliefs. Therefore, certain truths can open our eyes and lift us up, and some can rub us off the wrong way and put us down.

As a friend, pal, partner or family, it’s important to realize that our actions and behavior have consequences in ways that can deeply change how our loved ones perceive things.

It’s also very important to accept and face this other truth: core values may not as compatible as we think, the affinity level and friendship might not be that rock solid, the level of trust might just not be high enough … and therefore it might not help to tell some people what we really think, no matter how helpful we’re trying to be.

It’s very hard to know exactly when the level of trust and friendship that make the truth boost positive is reached.

But here’s a tentative at a decent heuristic: if you can’t handle the truth yourself coming from a friend, if you really can’t recognize yourself in what they say or what they are trying to make you see, forget about sharing your own – most certainly biased – ideals and vision of what’s the truth for them.

One thought on “Can You Handle The Truth?”

Comments are closed.