Mark Twain said, “Tell the truth and then you don’t have to remember what you said.” George Washington and Abraham Lincoln each told famous childhood tales about the importance of honesty. Truth, as a guide to life learned early in life, is freedom.
Truth is eternal, critical and consequential. If one is spiritually inclined, God may be that person’s absolute path to real and consistent truth.
Mathematical tables are based on sets of facts or logic which reflect truth or fact.
Truth resonates with people. The famous television show, “To Tell the Truth” showcased three people each stating identical facts about their lives. The audience was tasked with deciphering which one was telling the truth.
Lack of specific facts opens the door not only to interpretation, but also to deceit, misinformation and manipulation. When the truth is disregarded, human beings are, quite literally, disheartened. They lose confidence in the world around them.
While those who lie do damage to those who are taken in by those lies or who live in a world partly shaped by those lies, the person delivering the untruth is harmed, as well. That person knows, her core, that she is building on a shaky foundation. Lies derail business and personal relationships. I believe they are toxic enough to undermine psychological and physical health, as well.
Most individuals have been subjected to falsehoods at least once. This behavior from someone personally close can be particularly damaging, hurtful and disruptive. The turmoil from deception and vague ambiguous half-truths can temporarily sidetrack one with sadness loss and grief.
The best path would seem to be gaining insight and seeking personal growth when exposed to untruths. That can reverse the damage that would otherwise be done by the person telling the untruth.
Heath care providers have an ethical responsibility to be truthful and accurate with patients about their diagnoses and their prognoses and their progress toward health. Only reality will do. That’s why I have enjoyed my work as a physical therapist all these years. I can’t use a falsehood to get someone truly well. It just won’t work. Only the truth will do.
Kathi Fairbend, MS, RPT
Author, Stand Up to Depression