In the journey to improve your life, one of your strongest weapons is truth.
I think truth is the type of word that is easy to misconstrue. To me, truth is not just honesty from a person; its also the state of existence that something is in. You can lie to yourself and avoid the state of something in your mind, but that doesn’t mean its not true. That just means that your acceptance is an avoidance; it changes nothing.
That sounds really easy to identify but that’s the type of sleepwalking that I referred to in my last post. I think alot of us walk around dazed because we are afraid to face the truth of our existence. We’d rather pretend its not there or that whatever we’re avoiding is at its current level. Just because we don’t see it doesn’t mean its not true.
Everyone needs truth
The hardest part of facing the truth is accepting what it is. Once you acecpt that something is the way it is, you can either work to improve what you don’t like or learn to live with the status quo. But its more painful, in my opinion, to mask the truth and deny it than to cope with your disappointment.
For example, I’ve noticed that alot of big women will say things like “I’m phat in all the right places”, “no one wants a bone” and Mo’nique even had that whole “skinny b*tches are evil” thing going on a few years back. Notice a few things though: a segment of the population attempted to find ways to validate themselves and the negative criticism they faced, but ended up criticizing another group of women in order to make themselves feel better.
So the truth of their situation was that they wanted to feel better – facing the truth that they either didn’t like where they were, or they didn’t like the negative judgement of others for where they were. Either way, their truth was dissatisfaction. If they had faced that truth then addressed the real reason for the dissatisfaction this group would probably experience the relief that they truly desire. Instead, by masking their truth, they caused conflict with another group, all while their weight problems or their self-esteem suffered from not disconnecting the negative criticism. (Also notice that Mo’nique went on a weight loss journey herself and discovered that she desires to live a healthy lifestyle; the adherents of “skinny b*tches are evil” had to find another cloak for the truth, since that one had been abruptly removed from them. After all it wasn’t their truth but one someone else gave to them).
How To Define Your Own Truth
Most of the time, when a judgment of something has been given to us by an outside source, it sounds like a cliche in our minds. Great examples of these are religious judgements, judgements about a person’s age, appearance, marital status or financial status. Do any of these sentences sound familiar to you?
- To live a good life, you must go to college, get a good job, get married, buy a house, have 2.5 kids and a dog, and then retire and travel. After all, you need to make ‘good money’ in order to live a good life.
- Good girls and nice women don’t do things like get tattoos, go against their parents’ expectations for them or drink alcohol.
- You must proclaim your faith by going to church, following the laws and commandments in the Bible, and anyone who doesn’t do these things is going to Hell when they die or practicing a fake religion.
The thing about external truths is, they may or may not be true. They are most likely thoughts that got repeated so many times that the listener started believing them to be true (some say a belief is nothing more than a thought you continually repeat in your mind). External truths are dangerous because they lull you into a false sense of security and smother your creativity, intuition and unique desires.
How many of us have struggled with wanting a life that didn’t include a ‘good job’? How many of us have suffered mentally and emotionally from wanting to examine different religions than the one practiced in our communities, only to be told that we were wrong from ‘questioning God’? You may or may not believe that the truths I mentioned above are actually true – but ask yourself why you believe that. How often do you question the lessons you were taught since birth?
Defining your own truth simply means that you examine each of these notions that are circulated without question. I admit that this takes courage. Its difficult to decide that something you’ve been taught is not true for you (but true for someone else). That means a departure from the familiar and an exploration into the options that will eventually stand in its place as true.
To give you an illustration, I examined the notion that nice women didn’t do certain things. My truth is that tattoos, piercings and hair colors are ways to express individuality and don’t speak to the woman’s character, habits or thoughts; and that I should judge a person on who they are, not on how they choose to look.
When it comes to self-improvement, you could be holding yourself back if you take the truths that define your life at face value. Until you define your boundaries for yourself, not only will you be living under someone else’s standards, but you also have the potential to cause yourself unnecessary grief by struggling against societal restraints. Is the life that you’re living one that you really want? Does it resonate with the person you really are inside? Or is there a small voice in your mind, telling you that life holds something more for you, if you’re bold enough to claim it? Do yourself a favor and make sure the boundaries that you live within are ones that you set for yourself, and not by someone else.