Challenge. Think about the last 48 hours. Can you metaphorically ‘cross your heart and hope to die’ that you only spoke, wrote or acted 100 percent truthfully?
No little crossed fingers behind your back?
No obfuscation—a subtle way of avoiding the truth, and one in which our politicians are unsurpassed masters.
No jargon designed to obscure the more limited substance of what you were saying than you’d like your listener to understand.
No passive aggressive behaviour: “I’m being polite and civil, but really I think you’re an a@#$%&*e.”
What about, “I can afford that, it’ll only be a little more on my credit card”? How far from the truth was that?
Or did you write a proposal, email or report, reread it for its intent and then reword it to meet your agenda?
How about dealing with a tricky relationship? Did you meet it head on with the full truth as you believe it to be, or hide behind an emotional retreat, like being cold or walking away?
Who do you know who is 100 percent truthful?
Even the most honest, transparent and authentic people might not always be truthful, simply because they don’t want to offend or hurt others. But in avoiding the truth, are they any less guilty of being untruthful?
Do we often tell ourselves stories about how we behaved, or acted, or were treated and then come to believe it as the full truth? And if we believe that to be so, even if perhaps there was indeed another truth, then aren’t we in effect living a lie?
It’s tough, this truth business.
Imagine these human frailties of our first world, daily lives and our interactions with colleagues, clients and family magnified a hundred fold.
Imagine that has been compounded by decades of inequity and a universally despised political system. As a result of this legacy wouldn’t we say that one side was truthful and fair and the other lied and were cruel? AKA apartheid in South Africa.
Truth is never quite so black and white.
Someone who understands this in depth is Geraldine Coy. Her knowledge of the role truth plays in open and effective communication is informed to a large extent by the extraordinary experience of being called on by Nelson Mandela to serve on a Commission of Enquiry into the causes and perpetrators of violence in two of Cape Town’s townships.
Today, as the author of Brave Truth and the inventor of the board game of the same name, she works with corporations to build effective teams based on their ability to communicate openly.
You can hear more about how Geraldine employs truth as a foundation to trust, respect and mutuality in the third of the Clarity. Through A Glass Brightly webinar series on Thursday July 9 at 1:15pm AEST. It’s free and you can book here.