Leadership Commitment #2:
I tell myself the truth and frequently ask, ‘what am I pretending not to know?’
Tell Myself the Truth
Telling myself the truth is my attempt at being completely honest with me. It is really where personal healing and growth begins. However, being completely honest with me is not an easy thing because, as someone once said, the truth hurts.
The Truth Hurts
Truth can be painful because it exposes something about me that I do not want to look at. It especially sheds a light on my struggle for personal value. My core Shadow Belief says to me that I do not have value. So, it follows that whenever I question or measure my personal value I spiral into personal crisis. There is nothing quite like the deep emotional pain of not feeling good enough or feeling worthy of acknowledgment, affirmation and love. This is the truth that is so difficult to come to terms with. I do not want to admit that I struggle with a dark side of me that wants to tell me that I am flawed and act out in ways that confirm my unworthiness. I think this is called soul pain.
The truth is; we all have stories about how our Shadow Self has acted out in ways that have been unhealthy to us and hurtful to others. And, for some of us, it is difficult to let go of the guilt, shame and self judgment that lingers in our hearts and minds. It is this truth that we attempt to hide from.
Hiding Behind Pretense and Performance
From a very early age I was conscious of how people responded to me. I learned to play the emotional game of he/she loves me he/she loves me not. What I learned very quickly was how to perform for acceptance and approval. I also learned very quickly that inappropriate behavior or behavior that was not acceptable to the people I cared about brought recrimination and emotional discomfort. I believed I was a bad person and I felt ashamed of myself. My response to this was to act in ways that brought affirmation, “you are a good boy Terry,” and I attempted to avoid behavior that brought a reprimand, “You are a bad boy Terry.”
This made me was a pretty good actor but not a very authentic person.
The Truth Will Set You Free
While it is true that the truth can hurt, it is also true that the truth will set you free. Pretending to be someone I am not and needing to perform for peoples approval may be the purest form of bondage I live in. The vigilance required to evaluate whether my behavior is gaining the approval from others or sabotaging it, is exhausting. So often, my need for acceptance and approval has caused me to promote my strengths, highlight my many gifts and exaggerate my achievements. I’m pretty sure that some of the stories we tell about ourselves have become such fish tales that we do not actually remember what is truth or lies any longer.
When I get truly honest with myself and set aside pretense and posturing, I am free to be authentically me. I have a story like the rest of you. I have a shadow that has acted out. I have guilt and shame that is still unresolved; however, I have a Sacred Self that touches lives and makes a difference. When I embrace both Shadow and Sacred, I am not perfect, but I am whole. And, I am free. So, as difficult and painful as the truth is, I have to ask myself how important is my freedom?