None of us can possibly be completely honest about our stories. We will always have gaps in our understanding and information that is missing or incomplete because of our perspective. I am not suggesting here that we have to get every single fact correct and tell every single detail of our stories. I don't think that's necessary. But for many of us - myself especially - shame and guilt and a fear of judgment kept me from telling much of my story for a very long time - to either myself or to those around me.
On Monday I talked about honesty - in telling the truth, and in not failing to tell the truth. I talked about honesty that was based on love, not fear. About whether our honesty is about connecting more deeply or about the avoidance of punishment and pain. But today I want to go deeper. Because I know that for me - and for many, many others - there are multiple layers of truth that we simply do not acknowledge. Truth that we completely fail to realize exists.
I've been thinking recently about the idea of honesty. Most often when we think about teaching our kids to be honest, or being honest with our spouse we think about not saying things that aren't true. So if you ask me if I ate the last cookie and I tell you that I did indeed eat the last cookie, then I have told the truth. The second thing we think about in terms of being honest is not failing to tell the truth. So if you never ask me if I ate the last cookie but I know you'd want to know where it had gone, then I should probably mention that I finished off the cookies. This is a deeper truth.
There's a post going around Facebook the last few weeks that goes like this ...
It was years ago now when a friend who had adopted two little girls with FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) told me about the 10:1 ratio. The idea was that for every one word of correction that we receive we need another ten words of praise and affirmation. That's because our brains are really good at filtering out and dismissing the good things we hear - and we're even better at remember the negative.
On Wednesday we talked about 'Otherworld' and the idea that the world revolved around more than just me. And we talked about the fact that this kind of thinking makes it easy for us to misinterpret people's motives and intentions and end up assuming that people are being 'deliberate and malicious' far more frequently than they actually are. Having identified the problem, now we have to figure out how to get to a solution. And I think that the solution is to assume that there's probably an explanation for the behaviour, and then get curious and see if we can figure it out!
We might never admit it to anyone else, but we sometimes like to believe that we live in a twisted Otherworld. This Otherworld (also known as 'Solipsism') is often seen as an issue just for people who are on the Autistic Spectrum, but the more I talk to people the more I think it's there for most of us unless we have consciously made a different choice. In this Otherworld, the world revolves around me: people exist to make me happy and their negative responses are deliberate and malicious attacks against me. And while most people don't take it all the way to it's logical conclusions, it does seem to show up more often than would be strictly speaking helpful.