“I want to live an authentic life and honesty is one of my most important values,” she said, “but if I were to tell the truth I would hurt people and destroy lives.”
I wish our lives were simple. That there was black and white and nothing in between. But the reality is that our lives happen in the grayscale in between. When I got the email above it reminded me of my own experience.
Back at the beginning of 2010 I found myself emotionally entangled in a physical relationship with a man who wasn’t my husband. I was on a journey of spiritual transformation, I had declared my life’s purpose to be authenticity and here I was telling lies to everyone. I lied to my husband, I lied to my friends, and I lied in my blog posts. Even now I can’t reveal what really happened because it’s not just my story to tell. If I told the truth I would hurt people and destroy lives.
I even lied to Duckfish for a long time. I told him that this man and I hadn’t been intimate. It took me months to confess that I was an unfaithful wife. I worried that Duckfish would think I was morally corrupt and incapable of honouring my promises.
Absolute truthfulness is an ideal that can never be reached. I can’t tell my mother that her religious belief in a God that judges some worthy for heaven and others damned to hell is the polar opposite of what I believe. I can’t tell you the name of someone who claims she’s never had an eating disorder who I know has been treated for exercise bulimia. I can’t tell my friend that she let me down when I needed her the most. I can’t tell my father that I believe his illness is a result of not forgiving his own father.
So what keeps me from telling the truth? Why is authenticity dependent on the circumstances?
It’s because there is one principle even greater than honesty and truth ~ it is the principle of love.
Because ‘love’ is such an abstract concept with many interpretations it is easier to put it into a Prime Directive (like in Star Trek). The Prime Directive for an enlightened woman living in her feminine energy (a love ninja) is ~
First, do no harm.
If telling the truth would hurt someone and bring conflict into your life and theirs then keep your secrets. We all have secrets we keep between ourselves and the Universe in order to keep others free from harm.
The uneasiness comes when we find ourselves drowning in guilt from the mistakes we have made and the lies we have told to keep our secrets safe.
There is only one way to be free of this pain.
Tell this one truth and live in this authenticity ~
I’m an imperfect person who has made mistakes. I forgive myself for my shortcomings. The past can’t be changed and at the time I did my best. I’m letting this story go and living from a place of love and acceptance from now on.
First, do no harm.
Don’t harm yourself by living in guilt.
Don’t harm others by hurting them.
Love is the Prime Directive and takes precedence over all other considerations.