Let’s talk about the truth.
The Whole Truth and
Nothing But The Truth
Telling the truth goes beyond just saying something which is true. It means telling what is true without leaving anything out or adding anything to it.
Euphemisms like “little white lie” and “fib” make avoiding the truth sound harmless. In fact, it is not. Lying will always damage your relationship: friendship, relationship, marriage. Always.
The truth does not change over time. It is static. Just like the sun rises in the east, the truth is faithful. It is far easier than a lie since it is one fact to remember as opposed to the original lie and the web of lies necessary to support it. Eventually, you make another mistake (beyond lying in the first place). You mis-remember and drop one of the balls you are juggling.
You can’t handle the truth.” Jack Nicholson, A Few Good Men
Even when you fully believe the person you are telling cannot handle the truth, it is best to tell them. Lies of omission (failing to fully disclose) are still lies. Tell the truth even if it will:
- Make you look like an ass.
- Hurt your reputation.
- Disclose an unpleasant, embarrassing or hurtful secret.
- Hurt the one you tell.
- Anger the one you tell.
- Threaten your relationship.
All of these things sound ominous and dangerous. Frankly, they are. But the alternative is far worse. When Mate finds out a secret you have not told, it is a lie which may destroy your relationship, but will certainly damage the trust you have built.
The whole truth means even the truth you do not want to admit is the truth.
‘Tis strange — but true; for truth is always strange; Stranger than fiction.” Lord Byron, Don Juan
There are plenty times when the truth just sounds like a cock-and-bull story no matter how true it is. Before you jump the gun, try to figure out if this amazing tale could be true. Not only could the truth be entertaining. It could be funny much further down the road when you know as (weird, stupid, incredible) as it sounded at the time, it was really true.
If you think Mate is adding things to the story, ask. Better to ask and know than assume or jump to conclusions. Remember, the last part…nothing but the truth.
Truth is like the town whore. Everybody knows her, but nonetheless, it’s embarrassing to meet her on the street.” Wolfgang Borchert, The Outsider
How does the truth strengthen relationships? What is your favorite quote about the truth?
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2011
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