Thursday, November 01, 2007

The True You


“To thine own self be true…..”

Most of us are familiar with this quote taken from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, but how many of us know the rest of the verse: “And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou can not then be false to any man.” The thought being that unless we can be true to ourselves first, we cannot be true to others. In my opinion, self-awareness, knowing one’s self or being “true” about who we are is critical to every relationship we have.

In my last post I shared that my wife and I just celebrated 20 years of marriage. I think the reason we made 20 years has something to do with this thought. Had we given our lives to one another at the cost of losing who we are as individuals in the process would have led to distress on both our parts. When we allow someone else to define who we are, we lose our ability to discover and grow inwardly. But accepting one another for who we are and growing together has been a wonderful journey, one I highly recommend.

Truth….truth is a word that brings out such negative reactions to many of us. In fact it seems to be becoming more and more subjective everyday – what’s true for me may not be true for you, etc. But that kind of thinking makes even the ground we’re standing on start shifting. Webster defines truth as “conformity to fact”. Facts aren’t subjective; they're pretty black and white. Perception on the other hand, is very subjective, but it doesn’t change the facts or the truth. Many will debate the truth while in fact, they are really arguing their perception of something, but again it doesn’t change the truth.

For example, I could perceive myself as being 6’10” tall with an incredible inside move to the hoop and show up at the Dallas Mavericks training camp for tryouts. However, it won’t take long for the truth to bear witness to the fact that I’m 5’7” and might sink a free throw every now and then. In the same way, not being honest to myself about my strengths and weaknesses will put me in difficult situations in life as well. It will cause my relationships to be built upon falsehoods that will ultimately lead to hurt feelings and emotional rifts.

Unfortunately too many of us are less than honest with others about who we are. Somewhere along life’s path we learn to put on masks and claim that everything’s fine or pretend things don’t affect us. Do they teach that stuff in school? I suppose it stems from the idea that anything less than that would look like weakness to others. The reality, the facts, the truth is that when we live our lives that way, our lives become false and empty. That creates problems that none of us really need. The truth solves a bunch of that “stuff”.

The second part of this verse is a natural occurrence if we hold true to the first part of the verse, but it begins within one’s self. So, when in doubt as to our motives of not being truthful with someone….look inside and ask, are we being less than truthful to ourselves?

”This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

Shakespeare - Hamlet


Peace……

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