Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Soul Soothing Intimacy
Wow. Something big is up with me and the truth right now. Pondering. I recently had a powerful experience with my husband that once again reminded both of us how necessary it is to communicate the truth with one another. It's easy to get sidetracked, have a little confusion going on inside with some mixed emotions, desires, and then not clearly communicating what's going on for one reason or another. Feelings can get hurt when we fail to be attentively truthful to the hearts we love. For us it was only a matter of hours before we cleared up the issue because fortunately we seem to be getting fairly skilled at handling these types of situations (knock on wood and hold on tight to my personal humility and the general vulnerability to the human condition.)
But a couple of other issues with the truth have surfaced right before and directly after this issue with my husband and it's just got me going. I'm an advocate for the truth and I'm pretty much in line with Brad Blanton's Radical Honesty form of telling the truth. Not that I actually engage in the totality of his method nor recommend it to others (although I do recommend them to read the book) and he did inspire me continue down the truthtelling path with determined devotion. I've already admitted that I'm a liar because, well I am. I've lied a lot in my life and I've conscientiously worked to become aware of my dishonestly and to become a more honest person. I've discovered that acting out of integrity with self is the catalyst that tempts me to lie because, well, quite frankly I'm embarrassed to admit the truth and be exposed for who I truly am rather than the person I'm striving (or pretending) to be. To be clear about what I consider a lie, read my post here.
This is my own criteria for the practice of truthtelling and I don't push it off on others. In fact, if someone chooses to be a liar, so it be. That's their choice and I accept that. I would be a total hypocrite if I didn't acknowledge another's right to lie because well for one thing, I attempt to hold myself to what I consider a fairly high standard of truth telling and I still make the choice to lie at times.
Anyway, even though I accept people's right to figure out whatever level of honesty suits them, sometimes I am taken aback when I hear a certain story or another's reaction to lying. I was recently with friends and one woman was relating a story about a young man she had sex with as a teenager. He had a girfriend at the time but he and my friend experienced a brief moment of overwhelming lust for one another, fucked, and then never spoke of the matter again. The young man my friend cheated with married his girlfriend and they are still together today, over 30 years later. They all bumped into each other recently and were chatting it up. At one point when the two women were alone together the wife asked my friend if she had had sex with her husband back in the day and my friend lied to her. Upon hearing this story, another friend immediately chimed in with "What good would the truth have served?" supporting her decision to lie. I was flabbergasted. It just amazed me, both of these women's reactions. And I'm not judging them their choices/opinions but it just shocked me. It seems to me that the truth to her question was important to the woman and that in fact there was perhaps something very significance to be served with the truth. If not directly telling her the truth outright, but perhaps nudging her towards a truthtelling session with her husband. I don't know this, but that's the way it hit me.
I thought about how I would have responded to her question myself if I had been in my friend's position. I hope that I would have told her that her question seemed more appropriately addressed to her husband than to me. I would want to give that answer whether I had fucked him or not. I suppose that it's possible that the conversation may not have stopped there because who knows what the situation really was. Maybe this woman had already asked her husband and he had admitted the truth and she was attempting to elicit the truth from my friend for whatever reason. Maybe she had asked and he had denied it and she didn't believe him (because we always know the truth even if we don't know we know) which speaks to probable trust issues in this couple's relationship that she was attempting in good faith, to address. I don't know what I would have responded to her if she had pushed the issue. It probably would have depended on my connection with her and other particulars of the situation that I'm not privy to. If this was a friend or an acquaintance that I had a current relationship with and she seemed like a reasonably sane person, I would probably tell her to talk with her husband first and then if afterwards she still felt the need to discuss the issue with me, I would be happy to talk with her. At that point I would certainly tell her the truth.
Another conversation I was recently privy to was with some polyamorous friends and although I don't feel at liberty to share the details of their situation or the particular lie, I was once again dumbfounded at the willingness to withhold the truth from another in an attempt to protect oneself from the repercussions of the truth. What about the repercussions of the lie?! People seem to think that if another doesn't discover the lie, there are no repercussions. I don't believe this for an instant. People speak as if they have a deep understanding and commitment to the truth but often, when it comes right down to it, they choose to lie when the going gets tough. I guess that it's just my own personal experience with being a liar and seeing the horrendous consequences of those lies as opposed to the soul soothing intimacy and powerful sense of freedom that telling the truth creates that has convinced me of its merits.
And although I think all relationships thrive on the truth. Polyamory adds enough complications to the mix that, in my experience, one must be even more vigilant with the truth.