The 20th President of the United States has the following quote about truth attributed to him:
“The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.” ~ James A. Garfield ~
Academic circles have shortened the quote a bit with the intention of promoting learning because the belief is that there is power and freedom in knowledge. Since they are academics, they believe that the best place to gain knowledge is to learn it at school.
“The truth will set you free.”
Neither James A. Garfield, the 20th President of the United States, nor any person in academic circles created the original thought on truth. Actually, the truth about truth is found in the King James Version of the Bible:
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” ~ John 8:32 ~
As I discussed yesterday, there are many meanings of the photo found in the apple picture. Those are self-interpretation and none are necessarily the ONLY truth, however, there are several solid truths about that lovely apple picture:
- The apple is red.
- The apple is half eaten.
- The apple has been discarded in the leaves and trees.
Those statements will not change. Nothing changes those facts – not your gender, race, religion, political views, location, education, language, or the time of day. Those statements are truths.
“The truth was and always will be the truth.” ~ Sherry Riter ~
There are many things that can prevent people from accepting the truth even if it is right in front of their eyes. I believe that the main two reasons the truth is rejected are:
- Denial based on fear whether it is rational or irrational.
- Denial, rationalization or purposely ignoring the truth because it creates a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable and messes up our current way of living and core beliefs.
Denial Based On Fear
One of the main reasons that you may not identify, accept or incorporate the truth in your life is because your fear of the truth, panic at facing the truth or the repercussions caused by the truth are greater than you can bear.
“The closer you move toward a truth that has been buried within you for many years, the greater the fear.” ~ Sherry Riter ~
I have a friend (let’s call him John to honor his privacy) who was given up for adoption and then adopted at the age of three. John had many opportunities to “find” his birth parents, but didn’t do it. Why? Was there a good reason that he couldn’t find them? Actually, John is a very intelligent man who had the means to get assistance when he got stumped in his efforts to find his birth parents.
What stopped him from following all the way through in his attempts over an almost sixty year span of time?
John was deathly afraid of the truth.
John was afraid that his birth parents gave him up because they didn’t love him.
That fear was greater than his desire to know the truth, so whenever he got close to the truth, he stopped the search for his birth parents. The unknown is a powerful fear maker. John’s wife was determined to find his birth parents because she knew that the truth would set him free, one way or the other.
Jumping to many years later, John did find his birth family and discovered that they had been searching for him. They all knew every story of his three years with his birth parents who loved him very much. The connection was made with his birth family, his heart went through a healing change and for the first time in his life, John found peace.
The truth positively changed his life forever.
Not all circumstances of fear based denial end happily, however, the truth brings about its own kind of peace and closure.
Denial Based On Retaining Our Current Life
The other powerful reason that the truth is denied is because you don’t want your current life to change and you’re pretty sure that the truth will make you uncomfortable.
“If the truth messes up your current state of being, then your current state of being needs to be messed up.” ~ Sherry Riter ~
The perfect example of this type of denial is by victims of domestic violence. Not only do the victims of abuse not report the abuse to the authorities, but they lie to cover up the abuse. The abused person knows that if the truth is made known, their life will be completely changed. They usually also fear more physical repercussions from their abuser.
The unknown changes that will take place if you reveal the truth are enough to cause denial, but when you know some of the changes that will happen are undesirable, it makes the denial even stronger.
The Truth Set Me Free
I would not wish PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) on anyone. In so many ways it wrecked my life. It tore me completely apart and the putting back together was slow, painful, lonely and hard.
Part of PTSD recovery follows a lot of the same concepts of the Alcoholic Anonymous 12 Step Program. The first step of the AA 12 Step Program states that, “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.”
There was a point in my PTSD healing that I had to face the truths of my life. Truths that I had run from all my life. Truths that I was powerless to control. Truths that had made many aspects of my life and personality unmanageable.
Facing the truth was a miserable experience, but there were not any shortcuts.
I didn’t want to keep lying to myself. You are either telling the truth or lying. Since I can’t stand anyone telling lies, once I realized that I was telling myself lies, I became willing to not only see the truth, but admit the truth. It was just that simple.
I wanted to heal and get my old life back, but while facing the truths I realized two opposing realities:
- I could be healed and rid of PTSD.
- I couldn’t have my old life back.
Although the truths were painful and some of them felt like I had reached down my throat and pulled my guts out, I didn’t stop pursuing my journey of healing. There were a couple times that I had to pause, mull over the truths, ignore the truths because the pain was overwhelming, then go back to the truth with anger, pain, grief and eventual acceptance.
The truth set me free because it not only brought me closure on so many issues, but it led me down the path that helped the healing process that eradicated PTSD from my life.
There are irrevocable truths in everyone’s life.
Accepting the truth promotes growth.
Living the lies keeps you locked in denial, fear and unhappiness.
How you choose to live is entirely up to you.
My suggestion, however, is to blow the truth completely out of the water and don’t let it hide anymore. The truth will heal you, free you, reorganize your life and help you to be happy.
The truth will set you free.
Who doesn’t want to be happy and free?