What is our truth?
- Written by Eric North aka “The Happiness Warrior”
There are no eternal facts as there are no absolute truths — Frederich Nietzsche
Life can be confusing, it can be challenging, and be filled with alarming surprises. Life is also a beautiful gift that we all share in this moment. The truth is all around us and always unsurprising.
As The Happiness Warrior I believe that every day is a chance to be better and another step on the journey of life. How we’re able to adapt to change and flow with the energy in the world around us is how we survive and thrive. It’s how we define ourselves, fortify our mindset, and select the attitude that will give us the most fulfillment and value to our lives. We all have choices. Choosing to live in self-awareness and truth is how we can be truly happy. The truth is the only way to live an authentic life.
Sometimes it feels like everyone around us is lying and being untruthful with themselves just to conform, survive, or get ahead. We bask in our insecurities without much thought of the impact on our lives. Life can be a great task to get through alive, but somehow we do it. We make the best of it and are encouraged to continue this pointless cycle indefinitely. We forget that to be human, truthful, and happy is an essential part of our lives. Sometimes we tell ourselves that we believe in the lies that got us where we are right now, but there’s always an underlying feeling that we’re incomplete. We are fooling ourselves from living our best and most authentic lives.
When I was growing up in the South in the nineteen seventies the idea of living in one’s truth was usually shamed or shunned in our families and culture. The truth was an uncomfortable subject and one that could lose family or friends. Shaming those who stepped outside the carefully laid boundaries was often practiced and performed as a group. Any feeling of safety was tenuous at best. It could be dangerous or even life threatening to reveal our vulnerabilities.
I always felt like an outsider growing up in a family of people who didn’t understand me and a community where I felt like an outsider. I questioned everything, especially myself. I couldn’t understand how to be like everyone else and still be me.
I built defenses and became someone else to please and satisfy others. I was confused about my sexuality and had no one to talk to. I felt a rush to grow up quickly and had many reckless and inspiring adventures. I would skip school and drive somewhere new. By my senior year I’d drive off to New York City for lunch and be home before dinner. I learned about life through observation and began to figure out how to tackle a future on my own terms. I began to feel the value of truth.
One thing I learned early as a small child is that most of the adults in my life lied with impunity. They were caught up in their lives and got pleasure from deception. They generally didn’t care about the scope of their actions and created much destruction. This was the “me generation” in all of its glory.
Relevant truths provide a foundation for understanding ourselves and the world around us. Living in our truth helps us to make informed and less emotional decisions. They help us avoid making the same mistake again in the future. This is how we can better achieve our goals with greater self-awareness, clarity, and purpose.
We will always benefit when we understand that our beliefs, routines, and core values are based upon limited or biased information that we encounter in our immediate lives. All of our thoughts and experiences are created by these beliefs and biases. The quality of these factors accumulates over our lives and creates our path and destiny. We can change this unhappy way of life when we realize that we have the power to create truth in our lives. We can live our lives for the sake of others, or we can choose to be our truth and light. Our lives are enhanced through the realization that our authenticity grows when we are no longer ashamed of our lives. When we are truthful we are truly free.
-- Embrace uncertainty
-- Discomfort is not the enemy
-- The truth is not always what we think it is.
-- Seek different perspectives. It’s the only way to bring us together.
-- Be open to new beliefs and listen to other viewpoints. It’s the path to discovering truths and new dimensions of existence.
-- New experiences to enrich our lives, both good and bad.
-- Ask and never assume anything.
-- Never believe that there is ever one solution to a problem. Be willing to think outside of the box and try new approaches to solving ordinary problems. This always saves time and frustration.
THE AUTHENTIC LIFE
In our rapidly changing world authenticity is something we are now learning to celebrate. It’s the belief that we are perfect as we are and constantly striving to learn and connect with others. It’s the desire to share who we are and live by our core values. It’s elemental to truly being happy and help so many others.
When we are authentic we’ve learned that we can’t let others shape who we are or blind us from our truth. We choose to live and breathe with honest thoughts and words. Authenticity brings us to the very heart of who we are. It helps us appreciate others and encourages them to live in their truth. We are happier when we stop living in other people’s lives and perceptions. Happy people live in their truth and respect others.
TRUTH IS HARD SOMETIMES
Too often we are unnecessarily untruthful with ourselves and others when we are covering up our pain and self-created suffering. We forget to forgive ourselves and carry so much suffering. The secret to renewal and greater happiness is to realize that the truth is easier to remember and practice. The truth can make us feel vulnerable for a moment, but the space that opens in our minds is invaluable.
As the timeless saying goes “honesty is the best policy”, but a warrior is careful with their words and here are the times when the truth might be less desirable:
1. Toxic people—it’s generally a good idea to listen to our intuition and avoid too much personal disclosure or vulnerability with people who raise questions in our minds.
2. Getting personal at work—Our personal lives are not everyone’s business, especially at work. Know the difference between a friend and co-worker.
3. Preserve fragile egos of people we care for. Never tell someone you love that they’ve failed unless you are there to help build them up.
4. Embarrassing stores from the past don’t need to be regurgitated. Leave the past where it belongs and focus on how to do better and avoid past traps and pitfalls.
5. Sometimes it’s not the appropriate time to share. When we react with sensitivity we can avoid much personal distress and harm to relationships.
LIES HOLD US BACK (and make us sick)
Science and numerous studies over the years have shown that lying has a direct impact on physical and mental health. The more lies we tell and live by the greater we increase morbidity factors and attacks on our health. There is direct evidence that lying is associated with an increased risk of obesity, cancer, depression, auto-immune disease, and addiction. Lying also activates our limbic system and creates a flight or fight hormonal response. Stress and anxiety will increase, and happiness becomes a distant memory.
It’s our degree of truth and authenticity that enable us to live our best lives. We can remove the framework of self-deception when we can remove the negative thoughts and self-created doubts in our heads. The truth is always the easiest to remember!