I like to think of myself as a truthful person, as honesty is one of the core values that guides my morality.
Studies have shown that people who consciously lie less and tell the truth more have better relationships, are less depressed, and are more satisfied with their lives.
"I think lying can cause a lot of stress for people, contributing to anxiety and even depression,"
Dr. Bryan Bruno, Department of Psychiatry at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City
It is therefore important that we strive to tell the truth, not only to others but also to ourselves.
But what is the reality of truth, since truth is subjective?
I believe that everyone has their own truth, but if we all have our own truths and these truths can be contradictory in nature, whose is the ultimate truth?
We each construct our own realities through our senses as we interpret our world through the experiences of sight, sound, touch, and taste and the emotions and memories that they elicit.
So the truth of our realities is bespoke, biased, and can be distorted by our subconscious perceptions.
To expand, if we both look up a long, straight road and on the vista we see a white, moving, medium-sized object, one might consider it to be a bird, whilst the other may assume that it is a plastic bag. Without the ability to further investigate, our minds use the data that we have and guess. This happens a lot more than people think and can lead to two opposing perceptions of the truth. If you add another person into the mix, then they may concur with one person’s assumed truth or offer an alternative, that it is a white cat.
So, is truth absolute or relative in nature?
In this moment, as a pluralistic psychotherapist, I believe that truth is provisional in nature, as it can alter through the insight of different perspectives.
"Pluralism can be defined as the philosophical belief that "any substantial question admits of a variety of plausible but mutually conflicting responses" (Rescher, 1993: 79).
So, if a question can have many answers, then reality can have many truths.
How do we navigate this? I suggest that we approach the truth with both an open heart and an open mind.
Speak our truth to ourselves and others; live and act according to the reality of our own truth; but be open to hearing expressions of alternative truths.
"Not everything that isn’t true is a lie." Black Mirror Ffion
The absolute ultimate reality is that truth is ever evolving, and so must we.
Don’t get me started on the superposition principle. Okay. Okay, I can almost hear you yawning.
On a lighter note, in the movie Liar Liar Jim Carrey’s character is a pathological liar who, through a magic wish made by his son, has to tell the truth for 24 hours. This initially results in his career and relationships suffering as a result of his brutal truth-telling.
"This whole business of telling the truth just never seems to work without some kind of awkward unpleasantness." Dexter
Unlike Jim Carrey’s character Fletcher, when we tell our truth, we can do so with care, kindness, and a sensitive filter.
[after farting in the elevator] "It was me!" Fletcher Reede Liar Liar
Spoiler Alert - In the end truth telling worked out well for Jim Carrey's Character
Fletcher as the sentiment behind his son's wish became realised.