We’ve all heard the saying “the truth hurts.” There is a lot of discussion these days about truths and falsehoods, both accidental and intentional. But today, let’s talk about truth in relationships, because while lying to protect someone else’s feelings may seem easier, it can be very damaging in the long run.
Lying to someone you love can be devastating and can undermine their trust in you for a very long time, once the lie is uncovered. A question for you: On a personal level, how do you feel about this whole business of lying? Would you prefer that those around you keep unpleasant truths from you? Or, would you prefer to know the truth, no matter what? (Your answer reveals quite a bit about how you see yourself.)
Once you have answers to these previous questions, then how would you like the truth told to you? Brutally, with no regard for your feelings? Or tactfully, with a gesture of affection and a few softening words, such as, “Remember, we said we’d be honest with each other, so here goes,” or “I’m no expert, but here’s what I think.”
The truth doesn’t have to hurt if it’s offered with a loving spirit. What hurts is feeling that we have to wear a mask over our true thoughts and emotions. This masking becomes a lie in itself, and we become less than who we really are. If we want our relationships to last and grow, honesty and truth must be our ultimate goals.
Sure, we will fall from the truth from time to time. We are only human. But we must put aside the idea that deception of those closest to us is something we do for their own, or our own, good. Hiding the truth leads to living a life of lies, as each lie inevitably requires another, and another, and another. That’s a lot of work, and a lot of energy spent maintaining a web of lies that will inevitably fail. It’s a false foundation upon which to build a life.
It is lies, not the truth, that hurt and damage. And it is the truth that heals, whether in our personal relationships or within our organizations, even our nations.