"Listen, here's the truth." 

"Let me tell you what's true in all this."

"The truth is..."

I hesitate to write this post, mostly because I am an opinionated person. And sometimes, I am guilty of assigning my beliefs to another person's plight or challenge. I'm becoming acutely aware of how annoying and truly useless unsolicited advice and clarification can be. Mostly because it assumes one very faulty and fairly arrogant belief: 

My truth is also true for you. 

What an obnoxious notion. The notion that whatever facts, knowledge and insight I've collected about things going on in my life will automatically be applicable to you. Furthermore, even if they ARE applicable...how obnoxious to assume any one of us NEEDS another person to point out our path to us before we've even indicated that we are in any way...lost. (Note to self: re-read this post when you take a notion to "fix" someone else)

As I've said...I've been guilty of this, probably more times than I am comfortable admitting. However, as I've grown older, I've learned through my own frustrations on the receiving end of this behavior that what we are most seeking in times of frustration or confusion is a sounding board. Not a nurse. Or a firefighter. Or a hero. All many of us are looking for, is someone who can hear "our" truth and sit with us in it, until we're ready to take the next step. We just want someone to listen to what we are processing without attempting to simplify the journey we are taking. 

Truth is largely an act of self-discovery. And for someone else to attempt to steer your self-discovery just feels...oppressive. Even if it's meant to alleviate pain or struggle or some negative emotion...if it hasn't been asked for, there's a strong chance it won't be entirely appreciated by the recipient. Even if it is "true," or sound or good. It's the notion that you feel justified in stepping into someone's path and making an attempt to guide when you weren't asked to do so. And that, gently implies that you didn't believe in that person's ability to sort out their issue on their own - in their own time. Which opens up another potentially uncomfortable can of worms. 

I'm not implying there aren't perceptible truths out there. Someone grabbing your arm as you prepare to step off a building with no consequence, is an example. That person is operating with a proven scientific truth - that gravity will pull you rapidly to the pavement. The problem becomes when we apply truth to tenuous circumstances. Or, situations with a host of potentially unknown variables. There is no "definite" truth. There is only the truth you can apply from where you stand on the outside looking in on someone else's life, beliefs, experiences and expectations.

Wouldn't it be nice if we all possessed the humility required to acknowledge that we are fallible (even when we just KNOW we're correct)? Until then, I guess in those times where you can't help but to stampede over someone else's shared thoughts or experiences with your "truth...," don't delude yourself into thinking that the fact that you "mean well" is enough to excuse the offense. It's often, not. 

This post for example...is my truth. It's what I believe. There will be some, or many who don't agree. There will be others who will attempt to justify the application of unsolicited advice under the guise of friendship, or counsel or warning or some such preventative measure. I don't deny those folks their right to justify what they do or don't. After all, its true for them. 

Just don't be offended if I dismiss your truth. And please, feel free to dismiss mine. I'm perfectly okay with that. 

Posted
AuthorCheryl
Categoriesspirit food