As a continuation on the theme of truth-telling (Part 1 was about feelings/emotions), there’s the thing, too, where it’s just as critical to tell yourself the truth about everything else, as best you can. The truth about people, about situations, about motives and behaviors - including (and especially) your own. That can be REALLY hard, depending on how aware of your own bias you are, as well as how well-versed you are in the art of telling the difference between truth/reality and self-serving fiction.
(Okay, but what IS truth? I mean, really… personal truth is based solely on opinion… there IS no truth, only experience and perception… etc. etc.)
Or knowing when what your brain is telling you is from your core, true self instead of that fear-based monkey brain. Having people around you who aren’t afraid to tell you the truth as THEY see it helps, assuming they aren’t basing opinions solely on what they’ve heard from you. Otherwise, their thoughts and insights are, or can be, just as tainted. (Oh, what a tangled web, etc. etc.)
Ninja and I have been talking a lot about motivations and behaviors lately. Primarily, the motives and behaviors of one person in particular, but it’s become more of a generalized discussion as I realize that his assumptions, experiences, and interpretations of things and people are a little (and sometimes a LOT) different than mine. Certainly, there’s been some emotional bias on my part, but there’s also just a baseline level of interpretation, as well as an expectation of decency and respect, that reflect just how differently we view some things. He seems to believe certain behaviors, characteristics, traits, and motives are innate for everyone (or, in some cases, a particular gender), when I know firsthand that’s not the case. And that’s okay, of course; agreeing about everything would get real boring real quick. How else do you learn and grow with/because of someone? I’ve learned he’s much more lenient and forgiving than I am in some ways, and much more willing to overlook or let go of certain things; that isn’t such a bad way to be. I’ve also come to the conclusion that I have every right to protect myself and my loved ones and refuse to suffer trifling humans, so, you know. It evens out. :)
Anyway. I’ve talked before about paying attention to other people, and letting them show me who they are. Behaviors speak volumes, much more so than words ever could. A lot of times, your overwhelming desire for a particular outcome can cloud your vision and judgement, which then gives you TWO opportunities to tell yourself the truth. Right? You tell yourself the truth about motives, and then about behaviors. And hell, then when it doesn’t work out the way you wanted it to or thought it should, you can tell yourself the truth again about how you tried to manipulate things to your own advantage, and failed.
Or, you know. You can blame everyone else but yourself, refuse to find/see your part in things, and continue on your merry way. Whatever works.
When I am in the throes of anxiety or fear (which, thankfully, doesn’t happen much these days), my interpretation of EVERYTHING changes. How I perceive people are responding to me, treating me, how my life is going in general… it affects everything. But once I realize that, once I acknowledge that my brain isn’t telling or showing me the truth because it’s too busy going haywire, I can usually relax, and eventually step far enough back to see the rational, reasonable truth of it all. Then, and only then, can I respond appropriately to the situation at hand. THAT is when you get the Real Roxanne.
I think maybe there are a lot of people out there who don’t question their own motives or behaviors. Who don’t take other people into account or consideration when they do or say things. Who are self-seeking and self-serving, all others be damned. I don’t know if that’s a cultural thing, a societal thing… no idea. All I know is that I fare much better when I surround myself with people who take the greater picture into account, who question themselves as much as they do those around them, who ask questions and don’t just lash out/act out of selfish self-centered places. I am also sure there are some people out there who are just inherently GOOD. But they’re few and far between; the majority of us have to work at it some. Or a lot. And then, of course, there are the lost causes. Some people are just always going to suck.
But here lies the rub. I can only engage and react and behave in accordance with the “truth” as I know it, and as it’s presented to me by the people around me. So, if I’m surrounded by people who lie, manipulate, cheat, gossip, etc., then how can I be true and solid? If someone lies to my face, then I’m reacting to THAT, not the truth, and then everything just gets all dirty. It’s why I am incredibly selective with the people I let get close to me. There’s a thing called secure attachment, and if you cannot trust the people in your life to be honest and forthcoming and full of act-right, you don’t have that. You can’t. (More on attachment theory here.) I’m pretty sure there is no way to have secure attachment with someone who isn’t honest, forthcoming, or fully present. All the more reason to cull the herd.
7 BILLION PEOPLE, you guys.
Anyway. I’m reminded of the Four Agreements: Be impeccable with your word; don’t take anything personally; don’t make assumptions; and always do your best. All I can do is right by myself and other people, to the best of my ability. Living with grace and dignity means being true to myself, and genuine with others. I have to live with myself, with who I am and how I treat others, at the end of the day. If I can’t feel good about that, then what’s the point?