Very few things I say are true….I say this to my clients all of the time.
Most of what I say is one possible version of the truth. If my version of the truth leaves you feeling empowered, try it on, see if it’s true for you too. If not, dismiss it and move on.
Sometimes the things I say seem outrageous to people. The thing to keep in mind is perspective, it’s all relative.
Many of the concepts we discuss and relate to as truth, are actually opinion. But people often aren’t honest about this, perhaps they aren’t even aware. So they say something, relating to it as an empirical truth, and should someone disagree with them, they get all riled up, almost as if they were called a liar. When it’s all actually a difference of opinions.
If we all get super authentic, with ourselves and others, about when we are speaking truth versus opinion, conversation becomes a lot more about understanding each other than being ‘right’.
I know, this is all very conceptual, allow me to make it real.
Romance. This is a loaded term and quite literally means something different to every single human being based on their life experience. Sure, we can look up the dictionary definition, do a word study, but as humans we add our own expectations based on our life experience, culture, family dynamic etc. So let’s use a personal example:
I say to my partner ‘you’re not romantic enough!’
They reply ‘how can you say that, I’m very romantic!’
It’s easy to predict that what comes next is an argument, perhaps even a fight reviewing past romantic actions and intentions.
Me: You haven’t taken me on a date in months.
Them: What?!? We went out just last week!
Them: Dinner and movie last Friday.
Me: We do that every week, that’s not a date!
Them: I wore cologne, nice shoes, opened the car door for you, that was a date.
At its root, the fight is about us trying to convince each other of who is right about what romance is. I want surprise, variety and intimacy. My partner wants dependability and intention. We’re not actually having a conversation about what romance is though, instead we’re debating if romance is present in our relationship….We’re having the wrong conversation. What resolution could really come from that? We’ll never agree if we’re working with different definitions.
Now, if I started the conversation with ‘you’re not being romantic by my definition’ or better yet, ‘how do you define romance, babe?’. This now allows for us to have a conversation about how we each define romance and what expectations we have of our relationship. It sets an entirely different context for what conversation will ensue.
Here’s why I think this concept is important to consider and try on in your life.
It is SUPER easy to accept an opinion as truth allowing opinion to become a steadfast rule. When you do that, you start to make decisions based on that truth/rule being unshakeable.
You can pick different rules to play by; really, you can! Thought Leaders, Disruptors and Change Makers do this regularly.
Just think about it, at one point…
- it was ‘true’ that the darker a person’s skin the more inferior they were
- there was a ‘rule’ that women couldn’t do the same job as men
- it was ‘true’ that marriage must be between a man and woman
- it was ‘true’ that unwed women were unfit to be mothers and their babies were forcibly taken from them
- once upon a time there was a ‘rule’ that women must wear a dress with hosiery.
Somewhere along the line a brave person realized that these aren’t TRUE, they’re opinions and they didn’t serve everyone. Like Dr. Martin Luther King, daring to challenge the status quo / truth / rule around race. This new version of reality we live in, where there is intended equality regardless of race, it isn’t technically any more true than the version from the 50’s when there were separate water fountains. However, as a society we have collectively chosen to embrace a more empowering truth.
I talk a lot about living in AntiSurvival Mode, living proactively, or living an intentionally designed life. Doing this requires that you accept that your truth is simply one version of the truth. Other versions are just as valid.
Take time to consider the other versions of the truth, is there any power available to you, your life, your world, your decisions, if you accept another version as true?
For many people the foundational root to many of their ‘truths’ lie in dogma and religion. I have the utmost respect for faith and no desire to shake or rattle yours. And, I think that for many this is an excellent place to start. I suggest the book Conversations with God as a great starting point for discovering some new potential truths around the Bible.
I consistently find new truths and rules in my own world that I didn’t even realize I was honoring. Most recently I realized that I was operating as if Ego was a bad thing. This ‘truth’ had me feeling conflicted, restricted, disempowered and confused. There were things I felt, things I wanted to do, good things, that felt driven by Ego, which must then make them bad… I started to really look at my relationship to Ego, the ‘truths’ I saw around it, an inquiry into my relationship to it. I now have a totally different ‘truth’ around Ego, I see it as a guide, pushing me into situations for growth (read more here).
A key foundation for living in AntiSurvival Mode, for intentionally designing creating a life you love, is a willingness to consider that very few things you, or anyone, says are ever true.
Well, at least that’s my truth (^_-)