The Problem of Truth

Swirling thoughts

Image via Wikipedia

This NaBloPoMo has been an experiment for me to find my boundaries. In this spirit, I offer this unedited, stream of consciousness as I puzzle over something. I invite you to join me in speaking your truth, today.

Update: I chickened out and wasn’t going to post this, but I’m running out of time to write something to post today and my babies need me. So, up goes the experiment for better or worse…and no spell check either. eep…

I’m wrestling with truth. I need to find truth. I need to feel it. I need to speak it. I need to embody it.

But what if my truth would cause someone else pain?

Does it make it any less true to speak it?

The gurus I go to say that if I seek the highest truth; we are on the right path. Yet, I’m obviously missing something because I can’t reconcile parts of my truth with causing pain.

I have already spoken about my stillbirth and I know it has triggered some people. Yet, I believe those who say this triggering was in a cathartic manner. I still worry about causing harm every time I speak about it.

I have already spoken about the memories of abuse I have uncovered this year and I know it has caused harm. I have had some people close to me turn away or end our relationship. I have had people I love, barely know or don’t know at all react in extreme anger toward me. I know these are fear-based reactions. But, they are evidence of my harming them.

I have written about mistakes and shortcomings I have made, and continue to make as a parent. I have questioned whether I should be parenting at all because of my history and painfully slow process through recovery. And I’ve had commenters tell me I’m right. I’m broken and shouldn’t be a parent. They would be better off without me.

There’s a lot of hate out there.

There’s not a lot of hate inside me.

I understand where those reactions are coming from and it hurts my heart. But, it does not decrease the compassion I feel for them.

Besides, there’s not a single thing someone else could say to me that I didn’t say to myself when I had PPD. Actually, I said much worse to myself than anyone has ever said.

I feel that being silent causes more harm than speaking. I don’t think a lot of people are ready to hear things and it can cause harm. I know I have blind spots and limitations that cause me to be less than accepting of things at times. I try my best to get there, even when it means apologizing when I come up short.

So, when a nasty comment arrives in my inbox, it is with compassion that I hit delete. (Although I reserve the right to publish a comment that adds to the discussion after removing any identifying information)


Pebbles in the stream at Aberdesach.

Image via Wikipedia

So, here I sit on my tiny box o’ soap, speaking my truth. It may not be your truth. And this is where the separation can come in and allow for harm. I like to sit in the comforting idea that truth may appear to cause harm, but is actually healing in the end. But, this may be one of those delusions to make life tolerable.

We’re always bouncing off of one another-big balls of needs. Even with the best of intentions, these needs cannot all be met, but we can compromise and decide that everyone else is holding one another as equal in importance when we subsume our needs for a greater good. Like, not eating all the cake so that it can be shared with your family when everyone is home.

My truth may be that I got the smallest piece. My partner’s truth may be that he got the smallest piece. We’re both right because those are our truths. Surrendering to this and not having to be right may not make me feel better about getting the smallest piece, but it’s up to me to decide how to feel about it.

Back to my original idea. If I suppose that the belief of getting the smallest piece of cake is actually a huge problem for someone, how do I speak my truth about getting the smallest piece without causing them harm?

I can’t. If getting the smallest piece of cake is a huge deal to me and I have to speak about it, it will cause the other person harm. And I suppose it comes down to whether a) my intentions for speaking my truth are pure and unmotivated by ego (other than the need to speak-and that’s a trick to get caught in and must be kept in check) b) there will be greater healing than pain caused by speaking than by staying silent and c) the other person’s truth is also honored and upheld as equally important.

So, I don’t really have an answer to the problem of truth. I’m working toward a usable model as I plan a future post on NVC needs and speaking truth.

Thank you for reading to the end of this stream of consciousness. As I said, this is an experiment. I’m testing myself a bit this month-trying to do a few things that scare me about blogging and writing (poem, guest posts, tackling hard issues, vlog, etc)Honestly, this is the most frightening thing I’ve ever posted because it’s completely unedited. I’m writing this directly in my browser and will click publish momentarily. Eek!

NaBloPoMo 2011


Have you ever rambled on about an issue in your head? Specifically truth? Where do you stand on speaking truth and trying not to cause harm? I would love to hear your own conscious streams in the comments.

7 thoughts on “The Problem of Truth

  1. I’ve spent the last few days deeply pondering what I want to write here as a comment. I’m so afraid that I will come across sounding patronizing…yet I will speak the truth FOR ME. Here goes:

    I have long, long, long believed that I would always end up doing or saying the wrong thing no matter how hard I try to do the right thing. My problem was that I was always trying to please other people and consider all of their needs. I considered everyone’s needs but not my own. Those days are now over.

    Finally I have figured out that the only right choice that I can make is the one that is truly authentic for me. If my actions or words end up offending or confounding someone else, then I do not own their reactions. Their perceptions of me belong to them and I can only make the right choice for me without guessing how they will react.

    I believe that we all have Truth, but few of us are strong enough to discover and display our own Truth. YOU have a gift–a gigantic insight into your SELF. By sharing your Truth, you bring Light and Love to the Earth. Whether other people feel and benefit from the increased Light and Love is determined by where they are in their own journey toward Truth. They are responsible for their own journeys, just as you are responsible for yours. Perhaps they will eventually experience the Light and Love that is available for them when they are able to find Truth.

    Zoie, I am SO, SO, SO inspired by the depth of your soul, the courage of your journey of Truth and the enlightened words you speak.

    Much, much love to you, sister.

  2. Wow. I can imagine this was intense, the choice to publish. I am grateful you did, though. I think you are really on to something. At least, I’ve been thinking about how people (in this United States, East Coast society I live in) don’t really seem to all want to live in truth. We tell children to tell the truth, and then we shame and blame each other as adults for sharing our truths. We are not encouraged, many of us, in our loving or intimate relationships to share the truth of our experiences. Most people lie to themselves regularly, some happily.

    If your speaking your truth hurts others it is not for you to take personally. You have the responsibility to choose how to say it. Everyone else has a choice in their reaction.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment, ALivingFamily. I think you’re right. It is more comfortable to live without looking at truth and I think that choice should be honored. Whenever (or if ever) a person is ready, they will find it. Having the illusion that I was this open person who tried not to hide from any truth, then discovering my brain had hidden memories for over 20 years has given me greater compassion for those who can’t for whatever reason face it.

      So, yes, it’s up to me to be as gentle as possible.

  3. I can echo so many of the words of Teresa above, Zoie. I am saddened to know that people have said such hurtful things to you, simply for speaking your truth. At the same time, I am inspired by your ability to handle those, and the many other painful things that have come your way, with grace.

    This was so very thought provoking me, and I’m grateful that you posted it. I had a very painful experience a little over a year ago, one that I’m still processing. This experience involved speaking my truth in an attempt to help another, but the result was far from what I had hoped. Not only did it cause me great pain in the end, but it hurt the person I had hoped to help. I have struggled and struggled with this, asking myself if I was in the wrong, or if this person was just so sick that they could do nothing but lash out in their pain, and my choices made me the easy target. I still have no answers, and I’m walking this path right beside you. I do believe that the truth is healing, though not always in a way that we can see right away. I also believe that sometimes a great struggle must come before we can find that healing. The trouble of my truth about a situation vs. someone else’s, however, adds so much confusion, and that’s where I’m stuck. If you find the answer, I’m all ears!

    • Thank you for your comment, Melissa. Your words are poignant. I’m so sorry you’ve had to experience this pain. Speaking the truth can be lonely. If you’ve got that unconditional support, lean on it and focus on that while you heal ((hugs))

  4. “eeeek” and “eep” and it was perfect. Maybe you should do this more often, if this is how your stream of consciousness comes out.
    It’s so coherent and brilliant. I’m really glad you published it. I know I’ll have to read it a few more times to properly formulate my ideas about it. I feel so strongly about the issue of speaking our truth. And the truth that whatever is “true” for each person is “truth.” There has to be room for everyone’s truth. And having a consciousness of other people and how your truth could trigger or “harm” them is lovely and deeply compassionate. It also shouldn’t stop you from being who you need to be in any moment.
    I’m so naive, I didn’t even consider the negative comments you must be getting with all your posts about serious and painful things.
    I admire you for finding compassion for those people. That is the state of enlightenment and consciousness I aspire to.
    I don’t find comfort in “meant to be” or in “crosses to bear” or any other idea that indicates that a persons life and what happens to them is for some highest good or destined….
    I do believe that when someone who has suffered the unthinkable things that you have suffered can find a way to survive and even grow and express that process, that is a miracle and that it’s (perhaps) the only way to make something good come out of the horror.
    You can help others. Your truth will almost certainly be too intense for many people for many reasons. But for those who know, really know, what you describe, you may be the only voice they can hear and that can lead them to the light.
    I’m reminded of Shamanic traditions where the most powerful healers are the ones who have suffered the most, or that once they’ve survived an illness they then have the power to heal it….
    Not to say that you are obligated to heal anyone else or do anything other than what you choose to do.
    Okay, I’m rambling… I really just wanted to wrap you up in a happy, loving hug and say I’m so happy you speak, and write and that you made it through your past.

    • Thank you for commenting, Teresa. I hope I don’t do this again. It’s scary! A piece of my brain squished onto the page for all to see?! I’d almost rather show a picture in a bikini. Ha! Actually, that doesn’t scare me since having kids, but it might scare someone else.

      I don’t know that it’s worth more than one read. It’s like it’s reaching for something, but never touches it. It’s part of my puzzling over an issue I have yet to get comfortable enough with. There’s no resolution hidden between the lines.

      Yes, the “meant to be” and “crosses to bear” seems like a projection for comfort; which is fine, of course, but can lead to false assumptions. I think everyone has been through things that they can learn from. Every time I see into someone else, I learn, connect, and grow.

I love comments and try to reply to each one. I look forward to connecting with you. Namaste

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s