Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.

~ Cicero (106 BC ~

Are You True?

January 14th, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 30 secs

How easy is it to be honest with yourself?

When our second son was about two, he asked a profound question, Are you true?”

Of course, what he meant was, “Are you being honest?” But I kind of like his version best, because it somehow takes the question of honesty a notch further on.

Instead of asking about the truth of what you’re doing, the question examines your character.  As if to enquire whether you are being honest by some standard. Or at least, being sincere with yourself.

Being your self is a bit awkward though, as it’s hard to get a good grasp of what being us involves. You can’t see your self on the outside whilst being your self on the inside. So you just have to guess how you’re going. Are you being true to what you believe, and do you respect what you do? Otherwise, the only other people who can tell are those you’re close to, verifying if you really are being true to you.

Difficult as it is to assess, knowing we are being true to ourselves rests on personal reflection; an awareness based on judgment. Grounded in daily understandings we have to conclude that what we are doing makes sense with who we are. So we don’t go against our values or compromise to the point we’re  living a lie.

To be true to yourself it helps to know what your values look like. Instead of leaving them jumbled under a mess of thoughts and feelings, speaking up what you genuinely believe makes it easier to deliberately live that way. Just like failing to follow stated beliefs reveals you hide an extra set of secret conditions.

For instance, I believe in eating healthy food for lots of good reasons. So my public value is: I only believe in eating healthy food. But the truth is, sometimes I  like eating junk stuff too. That means a more true reflection of my value is: health food is good and sometimes junk food is too. Often we declare a virtuous value but really obey a hidden value that’s more true to how we live. The first has a noble tone, that makes us feel good declaring it. While true values are frequently tied to feelings of fear and greed (e.g. “My children should obey me at all times” vs. “If my kids are disobedient then people will think I’m a lousy parent. So they need to do as I say.”). 

The question, “Are you true?” can take you a long way if you roll it round your mind for a while. Are you being honest with yourself, really? What might you be pretending about in your life? How do you want people to see you that secretly isn’t true?

With so much of our sense of self feeling like it’s at stake if people don’t approve, it’s remarkable just how far we will go to act out a role. It might be a true reflection of us in some ways. But, like acting, assuming a role never allows us to reveal our whole selves. That’s because roles compel us to stay in character.

So, let me ask you, again, “Are you true?” Do you feel like you are at least making headway towards being a truer reflection of what it means to be authentically you?  It’s a subjective question, but you’ll know when you’re close. Some matters can only be figured when you feel the answer as well as think it through. Be prepared to give it some time (I’ll leave this one with you).


Comments are closed.