I have recently uncovered an interesting belief I hold within. It’s not pleasant. And frankly, I’m not all that crazy about admitting it. But it needs to be exposed.

My truth always equals pain.

My story, my memory, is littered with scenes in which I finally stepped into integrity, let the consequences be damned, took the risks, and told the truth. In my marriage, at my job, in relationships. Consequences did ensue – just like I knew they would. In those particular situations, when I stood up for myself, let the words come out of my mouth, and expressed
how I really felt, all hell broke loose.

Just because something is true, doesn’t mean it is a truth to live by.

I’ve extrapolated those experiences (along with many others) into an anticipation that this will always happen, that this does always happen. And that anticipation has become a belief.

Poured in concrete. Set in stone. Won’t budge. Without knowing it, I’ve constructed a hard- and-fast tenet by which I now live. It has impacted my past, to be sure; but more, my present and future. I don’t like it, but I recognize it and I actually believe it: my truth always equals pain.

It is a lie.

This is true: Much of what I say and do is helpful, expansive, and healing. I intentionally and passionately offer hope, encouragement, and strength. I know this. I believe this. You can’t convince me otherwise.

But here’s the bind: Even though I know that my truth does not always equal pain, I act like it does. I make choices, measure risks, and determine actions based on a false belief.

Let me give you just the slightest (and scary) taste of the insipid voice in my head:

If you were really telling the truth – in your writing, in your work, in conversation and relationship, it would be too painful. Pain isn’t good when you inflict it on others – only yourself! No one would want to be around you. No one would want to hear what you have to say. You’d be alone. You are too much. Better to tone it down, hold back, rewrite, rewind, retreat. Better to not tell the truth, at least not all of it. See? Your truth equals pain.

And if that voice doesn’t work, then this one chimes in:

Are you crazy? It’s irrevocable: “your truth always equals pain!” You must hold on to the pain! Pain is good! Think about it: a blog post should be excruciating to write, a meaningful relationship should include suffering, struggles with money are a sign of strength, trying to understand God should be nearly impossible. And the book? Oh, that most-definitely should be hell-on-earth. See how hard all of this is? That means it’s worthwhile, that you are. Well done!

You can hear the insanity, yes?

Many of the stories we tell ourselves need to be exposed for the lies they are. And the best way to do that is to actually tell them, name them, expose them (often out loud and to another person) in order to hear the (false) beliefs and ties that bind.

Even more:

We need to write-speak-believe-live new stories that corroborate what’s actually true.

So here’s the new story I’m telling myself:

My truth does not equal pain. Ease, rest, creativity, and flow are my birthright. And the crazy voices are just that. I get to listen to and trust the know-that-I-know-that-I-know voice within. It is glorious, wise, worthy, and telling the truth. As am I.

How about you?

May it be so.