noun: that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.
Seems simple enough. Franklin Roosevelt was on to something profound when he said: "The only thing to fear is fear itself."
Why is our own truth so scary? I'm not talking about "Yes, I am mad at you," or "Motherhood is hard" type of truths. I'm talking the perceived rabbit hole at the center of ourselves. I speak of that trap door hidden under the rug in the deep dark corners of our hearts.
Yep. That. Most of us avoid it at all cost. I did. I figured my "truth" was this: "I'm damaged." I now know that I'm just human. People get either disarmed by truth told or they repel an entire person for one portion of it. This I know for a fact. I have lived it.
In my discovery of some ugly core lies, I have found that people harshly judge or pretend to judge in fear of being called out for not judging! What? That's when you have nearly nothing left to lose (reputation-wise). Very different from having "nothing to lose."
It's the counter-intuitive gift I never thought would be so incredible, so giving and so freeing. I realized I'm not "half full," but in truth neither am I even close to "half empty." Why only two choices? I hit the bottom. It was ever-lonely and sparse but with enough blessings that I felt: "I'm just happy to be the glass that will contain."
In spite of the actual (and whole) truth, the damage is so wide-spread that you are huddled within yourself, shaking like a child against a wall. Are you an as*hole? I mean a true, evil self-righteous jerk that can do no wrong and has made no mistakes, ever?
Didn't think so. Me neither.
So imagine there are two people in the proverbial room when you get down your rabbit hole. You are cynical, self-doubting and cringing as your shaking hand turns the knob to the "Inner Truth of You" room. In near panic just thinking about opening the door, you inhale deeply, count to three and push it ajar. Bracing for the worst, um... silence.
There is no one else present, except the "purest" you. Instead it's sweet, kind, loving, vulnerable, confidant un-jaded version. You see your mirror image but without all the learned "rules" and lost magic. The sweet and intrinsically valuable you is wide-eyed and eager and completely unsuspecting of anything bad. That inner self knows who you are. Only you would come to the door. So she receives you warmly.
Huh. The process isn't without emotion, mind you. I cried a lot. I was enraged I had let myself get "here." I was in devastating awe that I deviated so far from that girl. I look at her with empathy and love and shaking my head in recognition that I (me-conditioned and constrained by all kinds of useless junk) let her get to this!
Family events and members can convince that child of untruths. Some give you a role. Life will indeed disappoint and so we morph and shift into a version of that self with fewer expectations, less hope, and fiercely limiting beliefs. We get hurt and build walls. We create well-hidden defenses like an animal in the wild would... but at what cost?
Not one thing about my inner truth was scary. Sad? Sure. Heartbreaking? Absolutely. This (much to the dismay of many wanting me to fit into some predetermined, categorically-chosen box) revelation in a room inside myself proved quite clearly that
I am not an evil, hateful, disingenuous as*hole.
There was no fear. There was only compassion, self-awareness and love -- so much love. I saw the likeness of so many people I know. I saw friends and strangers hurting in decade-long ways merely to survive. I had no judgments. I'm not trying to sound benevolent or esoteric. Most people I know understand those words thinly and misuse them.
The seemingly hardest thing to do in life... to look at our "ugliest" and "deepest truths about why we are who we are" begets compassion, love and gratitude. I'm so happy I got to see this at thirty-seven. Gone are the days of judging and comparing. I slowly continue to spin a chrysalis. Even this is mistaken by most as "a wall" or "distance." It is the opposite.
So I rebuild. I rework my way of living and slowly I will emerge trusting again. I already do... trust. I trust the process. I will own my "stuff." I will seek to be compassionate and kind. The real way... not the way people smile while you walk by, then say something nasty. Not the "friendly" types that are anything but friends. I can see the difference now. I recognize in some what I was too.
I'll work on me. The working assumption I have is to have none. I will never get lost again in the sea of opinion, perceptions or fear of myself. It's insane. Fear oneself? That's the biggest mistrust of all, how then, do we trust another?
Fear not. Love big. Realize you are not an asshole and get that truest, truthiest self out. Unless you plan on mistreating and rejecting the purest version of yourself, let the freak flag fly away. Deem the dorky self-aware free! Whatever you find is exactly as you should be. This beautiful life will adapt and present all things in line with that truth. If you find a problem, trust there is a solution inside yourself. The rest can just do what it does.
TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS.
BE GRATEFUL... and
UNLEARN THE REST.
HuffPost Lifestyle is a daily newsletter that will make you happier and healthier — one email at a time. Learn more