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Mark Twain and the Imagined Consequences of the Truth

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Mark Twain
and the
Imagined Consequences
of the Truth

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Mark Twain once said, “If you tell the truth, you never have to remember anything.” It’s a light-hearted reminder that lying tends to make problems, not solve them. In many ways, it’s obvious. You experience something, so that memory is natural. However, if one lies about it, one has to remember the lies on top of the truth. Then one has to make up more lies to add weight to the believability of the first lie. It’s a never-ending cycle of stacking lies to uphold a lie. Lies hold us hostage to the imagined consequences of telling the truth.

It’s a lot of work, telling lies

Here is another way to look at this quote. If you’re experiencing any negative emotions in your life, you are pretty likely not telling yourself the truth about something, and that lie is pressuring you to be honest with yourself. We tell lies to ourselves, usually to hide reality from ourselves. Unfortunately, sometimes, reality is incessant about making itself known; it will force itself upon us no matter what, even though we may not be ready.

Sometimes we are not ready to face reality. When this happens, we tell lies to ourselves and invent a story we find easier to accept. Like the earlier conclusion about lies, we have to spend excessive brainpower making up stories to explain the non-truths we’ve told ourselves. It’s a futile exercise of trying to hide some aspect of reality from ourselves, though, because the consequence of this denial is almost always negative emotions or emotional suffering.

The consequences of Denying Reality is Optional Suffering

We don’t like being lied to, even if we’re the ones lying to ourselves. Ironically, most, if not all, of these negative-feeling emotions are unnecessary.

Maybe you are not ready to face reality about a situation or experience yet. That is okay. Truth and our thoughts about reality can be ugly and hard to accept. Sometimes reality does not agree with our sense of how the world should be. Yet, it is reality. And keeping track of all the lies we tell ourselves to ignore or deny fact costs us a lot of personal energy; it costs us a lot of happiness and peace in our lives. What can we do to ease our suffering?

You deserve a better life instead of one filled with lies

To start relieving your emotional pain, begin with gently and compassionately telling yourself the truth. Fortunately, you do not have to face reality head-on to start with. Instead, begin with admitting to yourself how you’re feeling right now. Be truthful here; examine and acknowledge to yourself how you are feeling. The more honest you are about the negative emotions you’re feeling, the more you begin to release their hold over your life and your happiness. It may seem counterintuitive, but for the sake of your happiness, try it. Use the phrase, “I feel…” and then fill in the emotions you’re feeling.

Saying “I feel” is essential.  If you say “I’m (fill in the emotion),” you’ve tied yourself to that emotion. It becomes a dictator that rules you. Interestingly, if you say instead “I feel (fill in the emotion),” you permit yourself to feel the emotions without making them personal or identifying with them.

Once you allow yourself to feel the emotions rising in you, you no longer have to lie to yourself to justify feeling the way you do. You can accept yourself for who you are and how you feel. Later, gently, you can begin to face the reality that triggered emotions if you want to go further. It’s a process of loving yourself, starting with telling yourself the truth.

Affirming Your Worth

You are a remarkable person. You will enjoy the joy, peace, and contentment that comes with accepting the reality of how you feel. Please, tell yourself the truth. I think you deserve happiness.

If you would like to talk with me about your experiences with self-compassion or your desire to experience more happiness, please call me at 720-789-4000. Using the tools of awareness and self-compassion, I can help you get to where you want to be in your life. Please email me here, and let’s start the journey to your happiness. It would be my honor to walk with you and be your guide as you take the path to more satisfaction in your life.

May Joy, Peace, and Contentment fill your day.
Blair handwritten.

May 23, 2016
Updated June 14, 2021
This article was originally published in Prime Time News. You can read the original here.
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Blair Ashby
Teaching and Coaching
I will not transfer or sell your data to anyone.
Please read the full disclosure here.

©2022 Broadlands Media, Inc
All rights reserved.
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