This is a fascinating word. From the onset it seems so straight forward. Just tell the truth. Tell what really is going on for you or what really happened to you. The Macquarie Dictionary says that ‘Truthfulness’ is conforming to truth, corresponding with reality, as a representation. It goes on to add that ‘Truth’ is conforming to fact or reality.
This is a very interesting point. So what is reality? What is your truth? In NLP we talk about the fact that we actually do not have a reality, but rather a PERCEPTION OF REALITY. If you think about your past, and you tell someone about it, you are stating your perception, or what you believed to be true for you and your past experiences. You can do the same for your future. If then our past and future is a perception of our reality can it change for everyone?
Let me give you an example. When my mum passed away, the seven children were asked to stand up at the funeral for 2 minutes and say what it was like living with mum. You would have thought we came from different planets. Every story was so different and yet it was true for them. We all lived in the same house, with the same parents and siblings, went to the same schools and ate at the same table, so how could our reality, or truth of living with our mother be so vastly different?
Another example really made me think about this word ‘truthfulness’. I was with a partner and we had just experienced a fabulous day of climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Then I said something really quietly about a book case that I really wanted to fill myself because I needed to know where the books were for referencing. I had come back from an outing and he had filled the bookcase and was looking for recognition and excitement from me. I quietly said “great job, I am a little disappointed though that I could not be here as I need to know where the books are to reference for my clients”. Well I thought he was going to kill me. His reaction was so over the top it scared me.
You see his truth was that he had done something special for me and I should be thankful and react accordingly. My truth was that I was genuinely disappointed as I actually use those books a lot when I am coaching as a reference for my clients and so I asked if I could actually be the one who puts them back. His reaction was because of one word I used ‘disappointed’. Unbeknown to me, when he was a child, his mother would always point her finger and tell him very loudly how disappointed she was in him. Also unbeknown to me he had developed a hatred and resentment for women over time. So his ‘truth’ of the situation came from a whole host of not so totally great past experiences. His perception of me at the time was that I was no different to his mother that he hated and resented…..ouch!!!
So truthfulness to me is your perception of your reality at that time. As we grow up we experience so much. Our perception of those experiences is locked away in our subconscious mind. As we are organised creatures, our experiences and emotions are in a pattern called a ‘gestalt’ and so we have all these filing cabinets of similar experiences, from good to not so totally good. When we see, hear, or feel an experience in out today world it may ‘trigger’ one of those filing cabinets full of similar memories and we may react with a happy disposition or in fact an over-reaction from a negative space. Either way we feel it’s our truth or our reality at that time. Interesting isn’t it??
That is why the police ask many witnesses to come forward because all of us see an accident or an incident with our eyes AND our past experiences and will tell our truth of the situation from the combination of those factors. Your filtration system in your subconscious mind with your beliefs, memories, the decisions you made, your attitude, values etc all become a vital part of your perception of reality and therefore your truth.
Enjoy your day