Truth. Often daunting. Seldom accepted. Frequently offensive.  It can be the cause of fights, breakups and misunderstanding among loved ones and often fails us when met with judgement or reprimand. Our negative responses to truth can cause the truth teller to withdraw and refrain from sharing in the future. This leads to deceit. Lies. Hurt. It becomes a cycle and before we know it, we’re living a lie. Lying to ourselves and others because it’s just easier and safer to do.

The truth hurts. But it hurts because it’s real. When truth is addressed, those wounds can be doctored, thus healing and forward movement occurs. However, failing to acknowledge or share the truth is like saying there is no wound. We are lying to ourselves and everyone around us. Just as you can’t address a wound you won’t acknowledge, you can’t be loved truly when withholding truth from those you love.

Being honest with ourselves is the first step towards living a free life. Over the past few months, I’ve been moved to be more honest with myself and my husband than I’ve ever been before. I’ve aggressively exposed my secrets and desires that were hidden because of my fear of truth’s’ consequences. I was forced to admit to falling in love with someone else, acknowledging my love for (and sometimes obsessive) sexual desires, and being afraid to write due to receiving constructive criticism.

As time grew, so did new desires, realizations, and a boldness to acknowledge the thoughts I once hid.  Somehow, confessing my truth encouraged me to dig deeper for more. I became increasingly satisfied with being in a state of constant discovery. My search for inner peace has led me on a journey that encourages me to live fearlessly authentic. While the catalyst for my newly embraced reality wasn’t pretty, it led me to become comfortable with who I am. I’ve gained an affinity for the search for truth in all aspects; specifically religion, God and societal norms that I’ve believed all my life.

It’s difficult for people to love you effectively when they don’t know the whole truth. Or the whole you. We have to be honest with our loved ones even if we aren’t sure how they’ll respond. Even if what we say may hurt them. They deserve truth and you deserve the opportunity to be loved fully for everything you are. I don’t believe we can even receive God’s love fully when we’re dishonest with Him. When we attempt to hide aspects of ourselves, we shut God out. Fortunately, He knows everything about who we are and how we feel anyway. Being honest with ourselves and Him helps us address what we try to ignore. As our creator, God always has the perfect response to our truth: LOVE.

A couple years ago, I remember catching my husband in an “omission.” Simply meaning, he didn’t lie to me, he just omitted an important conversation between him and an ex girlfriend. When I asked him why he didn’t tell me, he responded with “I knew if I told you, you’d flip out and I didn’t feel like dealing with that.” That day moved me to change my response to the truth. We may not always like it, he may not be in the “right” but if I want my husband to be comfortable telling me the truth, I have a responsibility to make truth conversations comfortable for him.

It isn’t limited to romantic relationships. It’s universal. Mother and daughter. Kids and parents. Friendships. World and individual. The moment a person releases their unpopular and wildly unaccepted truth, they become labeled. Crazy. A liar. Or there is instant judgement attached to whatever their truth is. In several sectors of life, we’ve created a boundary around what truth is and which “kind” of truth we can accept.

In certain cultures and religions, it’s unacceptable to have a love for a person of the same gender. It’s inappropriate to wear dresses that are fitting. If you smoke weed, you’re going to hell and God will be mad at you until you die. In relationships, if you fall in love with another person intentionally or not, you’re a terrible person. If you desire to be a career woman instead of  staying at home with your child, you’re not a “real” mom. The truth is far too vast for us to organize yet we do it everyday. Thus, the truth often fails us. Or, maybe our insecurities judge truth. Either way, it becomes easier to live a life in the dark than be open and honest about even the “strangest” desires and realities.

I’m not here to determine whose truth is right or wrong; I’m incapable of making that judgement. But I’ve found myself applauding those who boldly live in their truth despite the societal opinion and opinions of their community. Maybe if we were all bold enough to live in our truths, the world would look different. Yet even if we are not bold enough, even if we do not desire to let our “skeletons” out of the closet, it’s counterproductive to berate and behave irately towards those who do.

The truth is, you can’t manipulate truth, it just is. You can seek to change it. You can hide it. But whether spoken or not, the truth will still remain.

1 Corinthians 13:6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.