I talk to so many people who feel frustrated by the fact that they see the truth but others don’t or choose not to, because it feels as if the truth isn’t the truth unless everybody agrees to it. It’s as if they’re not allowed to have their own perspective. In reality, our perspective is our own perspective based on our own experiences, outlook, beliefs, values, assumptions, education, fears, experienced etc., and theirs is theirs.
It’s critical to have an authentic relationship with ourselves and to be able to distinguish between ‘image’ versus reality. We don’t need to be BS vigilantes leaving no BS stone unturned. It’s most important for us to know what we know.
A couple of years ago, I attended a funeral. After the service, despite staying in the background, people kept coming over and asking who I was. I told them that he was my mother’s father and then they were falling over themselves to talk about me being his granddaughter and basically rewriting history on the spot. I didn’t feel away about it but I also didn’t need to feed it either so when the many people who expressed surprise at my existence expressed their condolences, I thanked them but also said that I didn’t really know him. Actually, I didn’t know him at all.
The funny thing is that this experience helped me to realise that a lot of the reason why we cosign on to untruths is because 1) we think the truth is “not very nice” and feel guilty or bad about it, and/or 2) to make others more comfortable. What this has the unfortunate side effect of, is shaming us about the truth.
Within families in particular, there can be codes of silence and lies, where a family will clan together and refuse to admit the existence of the truth of certain events. After a while, they believe the lies and in fact, the lies are no longer lies to them because they’re all singing from the same hymn sheet. What happens if we deviate from it? We’re frozen out, ostracised, or even called a liar and shamed, and this in itself can be incentive enough to tow the line.
We can feel as if we’re being penalised for being honest or we struggle to fathom why everyone would want to go along with the lie.
‘But it’s a lie! They know it is! They should want to tell the truth!’
We can’t handle the lie so why can they?
Unless we’re going to play along, we are a threat. If we know that we would not be able to remain silent, we have no choice but to leave them to their devices or step back, because the alternative – riding their arses like Zorro to see things our way – is a painful vocation that’s better left alone.