The Poisonous Truth

Monday, October 24, 2016

"The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable." - James A. Garfield I think that in todays society the idea of honesty is so often lost. We are constantly bombarded by images promoting unrealistic standards of beauty and misdirected by news reporters, is there any truth left in this world?

I have always thought that the truth has been something used only by the brave, by the courageous, that the very idea of being truthful is an act of heroism. Before you start laughing at how majestic I'm making it sound to simply tell the truth; allow me to explain. When someone asks you, do these jeans make me look fat? Whether they do or not our instinct is to lie, to tell them, "no of course they don't!" if not to spare the person's feelings then to spare our own guilt. We are taught to live only in the sunshine, to see only the good, to say only the kind. More often than not the truth is hidden within the darkest places.

While there are people who are brutally honest most of us tell ourselves that white lies mean nothing, isn't it better to tell someone they look good in the jeans rather than admitting they look fat? After all aren't we told "you shouldn't point out things about people's appearance if they can't fix it in ten seconds." Sure, maybe they can find another pair of jeans, but what if they're already running late, no time to change. So instead they must spend the rest of the day wondering if everyone else thinks they look fat. So we tell ourselves by lying we're doing the person a favour, we're stopping them from having a shitty day and maybe in the short-term it's the right thing to do. Except now that person will continue to wear the jeans until someone is bold enough to tell them the truth, the realisation will hit them and suddenly they'll wonder, what else have they lied to me about? 

It is true to say that the truth is a poison. As we live in a world of sugar coating and white lies somehow the truth seems harsh. If it isn't positive, inspiring or heart-warming no one wants to hear it. In fact most people are perfectly happy believing in a lie and I can't blame them.

However, I always saw people who were brutally honest to be admirable. Their words were black and white, completely transparent. The truth can act as a poison, it enters your system toxic and ready to kill you, but it can also be the antidote. The problem, I believe, is not the truth itself but it's the person receiving the truth, their state of mind. Since they are so used to believing, that somehow, the dress can look as good on them as it does on the model, that it makes sense; the moment someone spouts the truth we run for the hills, claiming them to be cruel and un-sympathetic. When really, we are running from our own truth, from the belief that maybe our society isn't made of cotton-candy after all. 

The truth is neither a poison nor an antidote but simply a tool, in which many people fail to see its worth. They spend their entire lives running, if no one is bold enough to tell the truth, then we are all living in a lie. 

You Might Also Like