Truth. There was a time when I thought it was always a black and white thing. I was wrong, it isn’t. There’s truth within a logical or mathematical system, like one and one equals two. Or it’s conditional – a four-legged table won’t stand on its own if one of the legs are removed, depending where the legs are and how heavy the table top is.
But between people? It’s way more complicated. I can come into group of people and believe everybody is avoiding the truth, but what truth am I thinking of? The truth of what I can see? How do I know that what I can see isn’t just a projection of my own unresolved issues? One thing I know is that when I make a judgment about them there’s definitely unresolved stuff in me. I judge them so I don’t have to look at me – because it’s too painful.
I used to be so sure of myself in what I saw in other people, because emotions are clear to me. I see them like people see colors. It makes a group of people confusing for me because all the emotions are flying around at one level, but often it seems to me that they’re not being acknowledged, so there’s a whole other level at which people are interacting. Sometimes it’s like a swarm of giant bees in the room.
The mistake I made was in thinking I understood what motivated people to do the things they did, and understanding the why of their emotions. I can see now that I can’t know that. I can speculate, but my speculation won’t amount to a hill of useless beans. Useless being the operative word. I don’t even always know it for myself. In fact judging by how many times I’ve thought I did know, only to realize later on there was more to learn, I can never know the whole why of anything I do at any given moment. So I definitely can’t know it about other people.
So where does truth between people lie, especially if I’m in a relationship with somebody and some kind of behavior results in me being hurt? Maybe the only thing I can be sure of is how I feel and what I need. Hold myself away from judgment of them altogether, because all my judgment does is hurt them and possibly provoke anger.
If they get angry I’ve got the option of saying they’re a trouble-maker and judging them even more, refusing to take responsibility for my original judgment. But where’s that going to get me? Absolutely nowhere. I might feel righteous, but it will be at their expense.
It’s passive aggression. I can kick you and get away with it, make it look like it’s your fault. I think we all do this at different times. It’s the way our culture operates, it thrives on judgment and avoiding our emotions and our own truth. I know I’ve done it a lot and I still do. It’s a seductive thing because my truth can be excruciatingly painful. But hard as it is to accept, it doesn’t achieve anything – for me or anybody else.
What if I’m amongst a group where everybody is in denial, where a lot of emotions are flying around and everybody’s too scared to express them? Must I just swallow my frustration? Walk away? Absolutely not. I have the right to say what I want to say. I’ll just achieve more for me if I can take responsibility for my own emotions and say I feel and I need rather than you’re doing this or that because…
Truth between people? It’s hard. My truth isn’t going to be the same as your truth. It’s definitely not black and white. Life isn’t black and white. Everything happens in the grey area. So is what I’ve said here the penultimate truth? No. It’s just mine. And I have no doubt it will evolve, if I let it.