What is Truth Anyway?

The truth is one of those things we talk about all the time. But what is it anyway? Who decides what’s true and what isn’t?

This isn’t a political post. I’m not talking about general societal truth. I’m talking very specifically about our own individual truths and what that means to us individually. Most people skirt around this issue because it’s a tough one. We can spend most of our lives unlearning the things we were taught as children. Those things are true for our parents and they meant no harm in what they were teaching us. The problem though is that our truth as parents is not the same truth our children will have as they grow up. Just the same the truth our parents had is not necessarily ours now.

There is nothing wrong with having a different reality than our parents did. There is nothing wrong with doing things differently than our parents did. If your parents are anything like mine, you get made to feel guilty for not being a robot, for not doing it exactly the same way, for not being carbon copies of them. I’m essentially doing it wrong because I’ve chosen not to do it their way. In their eyes, they failed because I’m not identical to them. This has been a difficult thing to work through and it’s taken me until now to get to a place where I don’t care anymore.

By trying to live up to what they wanted me to be, I was denying huge chunks of myself. I’m not what they thought I should be. I’m just not and that has to be okay. It doesn’t require their permission. It doesn’t require them to be okay. It only requires that I am okay. That’s the point of life isn’t it? To be okay in our own skin. Living my life on my terms is what life is about and at 45 years old, I’m allowed!

The challenge is that even many of the people around me, outside of my parents, aren’t necessarily going to approve of my choices. Once again, having built my life around an untruth, around who I wasn’t, I’ve surrounded myself with people that expect that other version of me. Guess what? Those people can go too if need be. It’s time for me to live my life my way.

Does that sound harsh? Selfish? Mean? Unfair? It may to some people that are still living their lives so that others are happy. It may sound selfish to people that feel trapped in their own lives, unable to move forward with their own truth. For those that haven’t yet figured out what their truth is (which is totally okay!), this may sound like something they don’t even want to do, not if it means upsetting everyone and everything in order to make themselves happy.

Society has taught us that making ourselves happy is not important. The individual has become somewhat secondary to the happiness of the “whole”, whether we consider that whole to be just family and friends or whether we consider the whole to be society at large. The analogy I often use is one of filling up your car with gas. When the car inevitably runs out of gas, we have to fill the tank. If we don’t, the car will sit unable to move, until we put gas into it. When the car runs out of gas, do you get mad at the car? Do you tell the car how selfish it is? Do you abandon it on the side of the road and just go buy a new car with gas in it? This is what we do to each other when one of us decides to go fill our own tanks and make ourselves happy. We abandon each other on the side of the road in favor of somebody that isn’t interested in taking care of themselves and filling themselves up.

We do this to each other because one person taking care of themselves can be triggering. We get jealous. We get mad because they are changing. We don’t support the changes they are making because change bothers us and we like things to stay the same. We abandon people all the time when they do things we don’t like, don’t agree with or don’t think they should do because we wouldn’t do them. We try to force other people to stay inside the lines we’ve decided they should be in because it makes us more comfortable.

When do we stop doing this to each other? When do we allow other people to be where they are, do what they will do, fill their own tanks and get okay with their own truths? Better yet, why aren’t you doing this for yourself and the people around you now?

Finding my truth has taken years, a lot of trial and error, a lot of pain, a lot of mess and confusion, a lot of time alone and even more honesty with myself. I needed a willingness to color outside the lines that had been drawn for me. I needed a willingness to fight for my sense of self and my boundaries. I needed the courage to decide who I was and where I was going. I needed to decide who was coming and who was staying behind. I needed to allow myself to be okay. It started with me and it ends with me too. I get to decide now, not society, not my parents, not my friends, nobody but me.

The truth can hurt but it will also set you free. Find the truth and free yourself. It’s worth it.

Lots of love.

Laura

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