How close a friend are you of the truth?
Everybody likes to think that they’re close friends with the truth and will be happy to tell you that. But when they’re put to the test, a different reality might well emerge.
Have you noticed one uncomfortable truth about the truth? When confronting people with the truth, you will not be thanked for your trouble. People simply don’t like to have their view of the truth challenged. Like beauty, truth is in the eye of the beholder. It is whatever a person chooses it to be. To a murderer, the truth is that they did not commit the crime. To a fraudster, the truth is they’re running a legal operation. To the armed robber, the truth is that they have legitimate reasons for doing what they’re doing. None see anything wrong with what they are doing and, what’s more, take great exception to you pointing out anything different to them.
While this may seem extreme to you (you have not murdered anyone, defrauded anyone or robbed anyone at gunpoint), there is no difference between people who conduct themselves in an untruthful way to further their own interests, cover up their intentions or actions, or try to get out of trouble.
The sad truth is that most people are not close friends with the truth. But they resent this being pointed out to them, because, in doing so, you shake the very foundations of their self-deception. You see, to deceive others, you first have to deceive yourself. You do an excellent job of this because you know exactly what impresses you or deceives you and you make a point of using the best techniques to achieve your goal of deceiving yourself.
Once you’ve deceived yourself, you then exert a tremendous amount of energy ensuring that you continue to believe the lie you’ve sold yourself. Woe betide anyone who tries to tell you anything different. You react very badly to being confronted with your deceptive ways because you prefer to live in a prison of self-deception than in the upmarket suburbs of truth.
It’s said that the truth sets you free, but to do so, the truth must be faced, accepted and dealt with. That’s what makes people uncomfortable and downright miserable.
Why? Because most people are actually happy in prison. They don’t want the freedom that truth brings with it. If they did, there would be a lot more truthful people.
Some people think that lying is only a lie if they’re caught out. So, while they continue deceiving others with their lies, they’re quite happy to think that they’re doing an excellent job.
Of course, such people haven’t understood one of the Universal principles of life – the truth will always come out. It might take, days, weeks, month, years or decades, but it will always come out. Brett Kebble, Bernie Madoff, Rolf Harris, Max Clifford, Bob Hewitt, Sepp Blatter are among some well-known names to have found this out.
How close do you live to the truth? Is it something with which you have a nodding acquaintance every now and then, or is it a close friend of yours?
To find out the answer, observe your reaction when your partner, close friend, colleague or boss confronts you, in good faith, with something that makes you feel uncomfortable. Ask yourself why you’re feeling uncomfortable. If you are a close friend of the truth, you will face up to the truth of what they’re pointing out, accept what they have to say with humility and gratitude for their having pointed out something to you of which you were previously unaware, and do something about it.
If, however, truth is not a close friend, you will be outraged, deny their assertions and react with disgust and aggression. If this sounds familiar, beware – you are probably not a close friend of the truth.
If that’s the case, it’s time to stop deceiving yourself and face some of the ugly truths you’ve been hiding from all these years. When you face them, though, accept responsibility for your self-deception, no matter how mild or serious it is, and do something about it, you will have taken a big step towards winning a good friend back again – the truth. And you will start to set yourself free.
Alan Hosking is the publisher of HR Future magazine, www.hrfuture.net, @HRFuturemag, a self-mastery teacher and age management coach.