The Truth Matters

This past holiday was mostly enjoyable for me, but it also dredged up some feelings that I buried. A constant theme in my life that I struggle with involves lies and manipulation. Even at 33, I am still learning the truth about many things that occurred in my life. I realize that the previous generation wasn’t as open as my generation or the current generation, so I try to factor that into my feelings. But, at times, I wonder if I would’ve made different decisions if I had all that facts instead of people manipulating me and taking my choices away. It’s not a good feeling. It’s difficult to know that someone lied to you for years even when they think they had your best interest at heart.

There are many examples, but the most recent one involved where I went to school. I was told by my parents that I didn’t receive the math score I needed to get into the school I wanted to go to. After hearing that, I believed I was bad in math. I carried that belief through school and struggled in math while excelling in all my other classes. I continued to believe that math was not my strong suit, even to this day. I also developed an anxiety over standardized tests of any kind, including the driving test. I no longer trusted myself because I was insecure. I only recently learned that I did have the math scores I needed to go to the school I wanted to. I had passed the test. My parents didn’t want me to go to that school, so I was lied to, to  steer me to the school they preferred. I keep trying to tell myself that it is in the past, but I realized that I am feeling some underlying anger over my choice being taken away from me. I also feel the anger that I spent over 15 years of my life believing that I wasn’t good enough when clearly I was.

“I love you, and because I love you, I would sooner have you hate me for telling you the truth than adore me for telling you lies.” Pietro Aretino

I know that it doesn’t do me any any good to continue to be upset about it. I can’t go back to the past and change it. There is no way I could’ve known what I didn’t know. What I hate about it is that it erodes my ability to trust. It’s one more bit of proof that I shouldn’t trust people, if I allow it to be that. I don’t want to do that. Instead, I spent some time doing some soul-searching over it. I can look at it as a blessing now. I am in the midst of re-writing the story that I tell myself about who I am. I can erase, “bad at math and standardized tests” and I can change it to “great at standardized tests and math.” I will never know how this affected my life, but I have to believe that everything occurred the way that it was meant to be.

It also reinforces the lesson that lies have no place in any relationship. A secret or a lie is like a cancer. It grows and eats away at the health of the relationship. Even 15 years later, I am still feeling the sting of a lie. Lying is not loving. It takes away the other person’s right to make a choice about how you are affecting their life. If my parent’s had given me the choice to chose which school I wanted to go to without manipulation, it might have changed the trajectory of my life. They should have told me what they wanted, but trusted in my ability to make the decision. When you lie to someone, it’s saying that you don’t trust their emotions and feelings. You are stealing their right to handle the situation. The end result is that when the truth is discovered it erodes trust in both people.

Telling the truth is not always the easiest thing to do. If you love someone, they deserve to make their own choices with full disclosure. Relationships can’t survive without honesty and communication. A lie is insidious, even as it hides it will poison, create guilt and tension. What’s not being said can be just as powerful as what is being said.

“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you” Friedrich Nietzsche

I can’t change the past. All I can do is change my feeling about it. I forgive my parents for what they did. I understand that their intention came from their believing that they were doing the right thing. I only wish they would’ve trusted me to make my own decision. Fortunately, I am older and wiser. I can make my own choices from now on. My choice is that lying is unacceptable in my relationships. Lying is not loving. I would rather hurt you with the truth than to love you with a lie.