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  • Writer's pictureJeff Johnston


Honesty. A very captivating word. It would seem honesty has a universal interpretation far removed from subjectivity yet we know this couldn’t be so far removed from reality. Honesty is grounded in humility and suffocated by fear. Fear of the perceived ramifications in telling the truth keeps us from being honest. Sounds pretty simple. Imagine the reduction in global human pain and suffering if we could devote to being more honest, not just with others but with ourselves.

The trepidation with being honest isn't in the danger in revealing the truth but more to admit how afraid we actually are of it. As I quote in my book, This One’s For You-An Inspirational Journey through Addiction, Death and Meaning the heated conversation between Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson in the 1992 classic, “A few Good Men.” Tom Cruise’s character, Lt Kaffee shouts out emphatically, “I want the truth!” followed by Jack Nicholson's character, Colonel Jessup, “You can’t handle the truth!” Be careful what you wish for!

Take suffering for example. Perhaps our frustrations and inability to process personal pain and suffering stem from our failure to be honest with those events that happened to invoke these feelings of helplessness?

It would seem being honest with our mortality would help calm the grief that goes with dying.

It would seem being honest with the facts of aging would help calm the desolation that goes with growing older.

It would seem being honest with how much control you really have over your choices would help throttle the desire to drink alcohol.

We gravitate to roads of least resistance, tending to latch on to convenient labels and self-diagnosis. Denial and rejection of the truth offer us a safe place to land.

“Once your identities accommodate the facts of your life you can stop suffering. Being HONEST with the gaps between the world I want, the world I got, and the world I had.”

Awesome quote. It’s an accumulation of some thoughts I harvested from a few others and I can really see the beauty and capacity of what this phrase is trying to present. We vacillate between what we want and what we had and we rarely live with what we got. This disconnect tends to compound our misery as we fruitlessly project forwards a better life yet we are held back by the addictive powers of the negative pull of our pasts. Being honest with where you are in your life is the antidote to many forms of personal suffering. Sometimes you just need who you really are to actually catch up with your life. Slow down, live in the moment. I know, much easier said than done.

Consider the paradox with how we approach honesty. We demand honesty from those around us but when that same request impinges on our unshakable convictions or even worse our destructive behaviors, well then somehow our situation is an exception to the rule. We can’t have it both ways, can we? At the end of the day, you can lie to everyone else around you except the person looking back at you in the mirror. If you can’t “handle the truth” looking back at you make the changes needed to improve your well-being. If you don’t know how, reach out for help. Reach out to me and I will do my best to get you the help you need.

Live Undeterred!

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