Fear’s a place where the truth is displaced.
One of the greatest causes of fear is when we give way to the temptation to lie because we’re ashamed of something. This happens in so many little instances of life we’re hardly aware of most of them. We conceal what it is we think, ahead of time, people will reject about us, and if these are exposed we get terribly embarrassed. We’ve learned, in this life, it pays to play straight. We only want the niceties about us visible, and we innately repress the nasties. The former is welcome; the latter is despised.
In a way we’ve become despisers of part of ourselves; those truths we don’t like remind us, every day, that we feel we’re not completely worthy. This is something that can only end badly.
Where the truth never hurts is this: to acknowledge every thought that comes from the instinct, and own it as ours—however horrible some might seem.
Shame – The Reprehensible Emotion
Even beyond our cultures that are shaped by pressure for shame—for example, when we go against a particular societal norm—shame is fundamentally pungent within each of us.
Early in life we learned this. Some things we were rewarded for, whilst other things we were punished for. We quickly learned what is right from what is wrong, in a world welcoming only the right as it shuns the wrong.
Shame is associated with wrongness; it’s the inner emotion we experience several times every day. Indeed, some days are just filled with shame, as we rest our heads sullenly and despairingly on our pillows, wishing our day away.
We tend to separate guilt and shame, but it’s shame that underlies guilt—we attribute wrongness for something we’ve done, and we, of ourselves, are ashamed of ourselves. ‘How could we do such a thing?’
Shame presents just about every time we deny the truth. Even as we try and hide from the truth in parts of our lives that nobody could find out about; especially there, is shame.
One truth we should always remember: shame is a reprehensible emotion; it’s something, also, that we don’t need to feel. This is because, when we own our truths, however ghastly they may be, shame is vanquished.
Test The Truth
The most marvellous thing about truth is it implores us to test it; to find it works every time. Truth, by its nature, must work every time; if it didn’t it wouldn’t be truth.
Awareness is the key. When we’re aware that we are lying to ourselves, or to others, or repressing certain ugly things (truths), there stands before us, an opportunity. A choice presents. Do we own the truth or prefer to think it’s not there? Do we acknowledge what is or prefer to believe it isn’t? Pretending the truth doesn’t exist isn’t doing us any favours. And, the truth is, we don’t need to deny the truth, ever.
The beauty of this truth, acknowledging it every time from within us, is it’s not only shame that’s vanquished—but fear is whitewashed, too. And, as Jesus said, the truth has set us free (John 8:32).
Where the truth never hurts is everywhere. Where we no longer fear the truth, fear no longer overwhelms us, and we live shame-free. There is greatness in acknowledging (to ourselves) every secret truth. We welcome it as part of us; only then can we do something about it if we wish.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.