I spent much of my life with a pretty superficial self-awareness and self-expression with only occasional incursions to find my deep truth. However, I ignore the ongoing undercurrent of my truth at my own peril.
What do I mean by my truth?
I think of my truth in 3 levels. The first level is in my head and is something like: I want to lose weight so that I can look good and feel good. It’s pretty safe to say the truth in my head to anyone I might meet regardless of their response.
The second level is in my heart and is something like: I want to lose weight so that I will feel attractive. I probably wouldn’t tell a heart truth to a stranger in the checkout line but probably I’d tell my friends even if their response might hurt my feelings.
The third and deepest level is in my gut and is something like: I want to lose weight so that my husband will find me attractive and so he won’t leave me. This type of gut-wrenching truth I may not admit even to myself because the belief itself is devastating. (Note: I want to differentiate “a personal truth or belief” from a fact, since husbands generally don’t abandon their wives when they gain weight.)
Though our truths seem to fall into the same general categories, we feel our personal truths are more frightening or devastating than someone else’s. For example, these truths may be “I need to be/am not feeling (loved, lovable, respected, heard, relevant, attractive, smart)” or I don’t want to be/am feeling (invisible, irrelevant, abandoned, unsafe, lonely, incompetent).” They act as a dark force inside us when they remain hidden from our consciousness, and we feel completely alone.
Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
And they settle ‘neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins….
It’s hard enough to admit these truths to myself; it’s even harder to admit them to someone else, especially if they are sparking these feelings. When we fail to acknowledge or challenge those truths, we become a slave to the dark force. Those feelings tend to fester and intensify as we feed them with the belief that we are somehow irrevocably flawed. In a relationship, the dark force can cause chaos and conflict. Shining a light on those hidden beliefs makes them less powerful.
….Don’t run, stop holding your tongue
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is….
Sharing truths with others takes another level of courage, yet takes illumination to the next level. A really devastating belief should perhaps first be shared in the safety of therapy. The therapist can either guide the couple through the conversation or help prepare an individual to have the conversation elsewhere. Most of us must learn the skill of how to communicate our truths, which is really the definition of intimacy: “into me see.” When you discover that you are loved or accepted even with/because of that messy truth, there’s nothing in the world better than that. When you are willing to see and lovingly acknowledge someone else’s truth, there’s no better gift than that.
….Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
– Sara Bareilles, Brave
This blog is dedicated to my sweetheart, Chris, who makes me feel Brave.