A Truthful Heart
Posted on Feb. 8, 2008 at 11:34 a.m.
In the book Conscious Loving by Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks, they discuss the power of truth telling in builing loving relationships. They say "Why human beings do not tell the truth has never been studied in close detail, but in our work, several main reasons have emerged. Many people withhold the truth because they do not want to hurt other people or to make them feel bad. It is also likely then that they are not wanting to feel the consequenses of the other person's bad feelings and are protecting themselves from the other person's sadness, wrath or revenge. Learning to perceive the truth is a delicate skill and very little time is spent on it in school. It is then left to life itself to teach us about telling the truth - and it does, not always in a gentle manner.
The book contains a direct quote from a man who, after years of telling only part of the truth to his wife, decided to risk sharing everything. He went on to say "At first I felt scared and silly, talking about all of my feelings, but I noticed that it always brought me closer to Diane. I became a believer, because I saw that holding out always created distance and telling the truth always brought us closer."I have always had an affinity for the month of February. After the warm lights of the holidays extinguish, leaving the stark and quiet dark of January, February bursts onto the scene with fat hearts sporting vibrant reds and alluring pinks and, of course, the comforting, rich brown of chocolate beckons! Images of a rascially Cupid abound and love talk gets supreme focus.
Amidst all of this Valentine splendor, I sat pondering the month ahead and from somewhere from my childhood, the images of George chopping down the cherry tree and Honest Abe came floating to the surface of my mind. While I certainly have vivid images of my shoe box laboriously and dreamily transformed into a mini love mailbox, I also clearly recall hearing the tale of George fessing up to his crime while boldly and heroically stating "I cannot tell a lie", and the stories of the integrity of Abraham Lincoln inspiring an entire country.
I am at the point in my life where I tend to look at a larger picture and search for a deeper context. Today, my musings of the juxtaposition of a holiday celebrating the heart and a holiday largely representing truth telling and integrity within the same week lead me to the belief that it is more than a coincidence. After all, how can love truly flourish without honesty and trust imbedded within its foundation??
From a personal standpoint, I deeply understand the power and freedom of telling the truth. I was a sensitive child with a heart's desire to please and had a very critical mom who tended toward unexpected bouts of rage which terrified me. Displeasing her was agonizing for me, so I quickly and effectively learned how do dodge the truth and soon became an accomplished lier. Even when it was not necessary, I would find myself making up stories or stretching the truth for a dramatic flair. This had a dual impact of the relief of avoiding trouble on the outside, and feeling the shame and unworthiness inside of me creating layers and layers of a heavy darkness that began to eclipse my spirit. No matter what acheivements I accomplished or compliments received, I felt like a fraud. "If people only really knew who I was inside..." was a continuing hum within my mind and heart.
I carried this struggle well into adulthood until the desire to be truthful to myself began to outweigh the fear of what anyone else might think or feel about me. I diligently and slowly started to build a loving, honest relationship with myself....to forgive myself and to move forward each day comitted to living from the inside out, unafraid to let people know "the real me". This was a slow process, with many steps backwards, and even today I can have my "moments", but I know what to do to clean up my messes and start again. I am an ardent believer in telling the truth, and know how much peace it has brought to me, and how much more of my love and open heart are available to those in my life.
I invite you to ponder this serendipitous month that invites us to open our hearts to our deepest truths...to cleanse any hidden lies within and to let the beams of our love shine brightly to the world. To live with a truthful heart, is indeed, a precious gift - the best valentine possible!
From our hearts to yours,
Randi, Daniela and Paula