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Getting To The Truth About Truth

Written by: Abigail Stason, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Why is it so difficult to communicate? Why do we hear phrases such as alternative facts, fake news, and re-writing history? Imagine the spike in productivity in organizations if humans could get to the truth swiftly.

The invitation is to educate ourselves about what we are talking about, to get to the truth about the truth. “It would be unwise to dismiss definitions as “mere semantics” or concern with exactitude as pedantry. The value of a precise definition is that it allows us to distinguish a particular aspect of reality from all others so that we can think about it and work with it with clarity and focus.” ¹


Much time and energy are wasted in relationships and communication, not to mention productivity and innovation, when we don’t make truth our primary target – NO MATTER WHAT!


Well, what is the truth anyway? The truth includes facts, data, reality, and anything accepted to be true. In relating:

  • TRUTH = My experience of ME. By sharing my experience while interacting with you, you get to know and see me, and I bring myself closer to me. Only I know the truth of my experience, and I can’t know myself unless I share my experience—what’s true for me. This includes “I” statements, facts, body sensations, emotions, thoughts, reactions, uncertainties, requests, and opinions stated as opinions.

  • NON-TRUTH = My experience YOU. By sharing my experience of you while interacting with me, I share how you are coming across to me and the impact of your communication and behavior on me. By sharing my experience of you and your impact on me, an open dialogue is created where we get to know each other, see each other, learn together, and evolve. We avoid drama.


This distinction is why it’s so difficult to get to the truth. We’ve been lazy in our communication. This is OK. As humans, years ago, it wasn’t as crucial to focus on the truth. The truth is necessary in a global economy and modern world; otherwise, our interactions lack clarity and are full of drama. All you have to do is look at interactions on social media or the news to recognize what I am offering here.


Here’s what’s essential to know when aiming for the truth.


1. Match your inner experience with your outer expression.


Alignment and authenticity happen when matching your inner experience with your outer expression. Truth comes forward with this alignment. This is the opportunity to evolve with great acceleration, for when we are honest with each other, we can connect on a deeper level. The following points will confirm why it’s so challenging to be congruent.

  • For instance: When asked, “How are you,” the response is, “Fine,” even if your back hurts, some project is not going well, or you were laid off from your job.


2. Know that your brain contextualizes everything.


“The recognized starting point for modern scientific understanding of stereotypes is Gordon Allport’s 1954 book The Nature of Prejudice. Allport wrote: “The human mind must think with the aid of categories… Once formed, categories are the basis for normal prejudgment. We cannot possibly avoid this process. Orderly living depends on it.” ² We form mental images, which is helpful. However, it can be harmful when stereotyping.

  • For instance: when you hear American Leader, what image comes to mind even though you know nothing about the individual?


This leads us to the next point.


3. Humans don’t speak “fact to fact.”


Because the brain contextualizes everything, humans don’t speak “fact-to-fact.” We form mental images which usually are harmful, inaccurate, or false. We can look at any news station and see that most of what is reported are opinions. Imagine if the news was strictly reporting the facts. Networks wouldn’t be able to fill 24 hours.


Knowing this will empower you to bring more clarity to your conversations. Most of what comes out of our mouths are judgments, intuitions, opinions, guesses, stories, and mental chatter. This is OK; however, knowing this means we cannot treat what we say as truth. Here are some truthful ways to express:


“Here’s how I see it…”

“In my experience…”

“My opinion is…”

“I may be projecting and…” (See 6 below).

“This may not be true. My intuition is telling me…”


  • For instance: try speaking fact-to-fact in your next interaction to see how difficult it is.


4. Watch out for the liar in all of us.


“Our daily social lives demand and generally receive repeated lubrication with a certain amount of untruthfulness, which keeps the gears of social interaction meshing smoothly”. ³ Here are the types of lies:


White lies – tend to be harmless, motivated by the desire to spare another’s feelings.

Gray lies – a bit darker than white, motivated by the desire to spare one’s feelings.

Colorless lies – invisible to the liar; this is self-deception.

Red lies – very “caveman” in nature; red lies are told to respond to selection pressure to spread genes.

Blue lies – lying to convey the type of person you are to support impression management.


I am not here to question integrity. What the research points to is “untruths that are somewhere on the spectrum between totally unconscious and partly conscious, untruths that people tell not only to others but at times to themselves as well.” ⁴ As you can likely see, it’s best to watch out for lies when communicating. Make this a part of your human process.

  • For instance: try going a whole week without telling a lie. DO NOT penalize yourself if you catch yourself in a lie.


5. Make getting to the truth the main objective.


Because of the above, it’s time to draw a line in the sand for truth. A commitment is required to make truth the main objective no matter what. This can be highly challenging because the truth can be VERY inconvenient.

  • For instance: what is your commitment to truth, and how do you hold yourself accountable?


6. Watch out for projections.


We deny parts of ourselves and ascribe them to others. This becomes the predominant behavior from which we communicate. Through projections, we share statements that begin with “you” directed at others that are intended for us. This is very human.

  • For instance, a masterful inquiry asks, “Am I projecting?”


7. Keeping it “real” on social media.


A new discipline is emerging called cyberpsychology, the study of online behavior. It is a must to stay present on social media so we can examine how we behave differently than if we were in person. “The illusion is that the cyber environment is safer than real life – and connecting with other people online somehow carries fewer risks than face-to-face contact. But our instincts were trained and honed for the real world, and in the absence of real-world cues and other subtle pieces of information – facial expressions, body language, physical spaces – we aren’t able to make fully informed decisions.” “Disinhibition is facilitated by the environmental conditions of cyberspace – the perceived lack of authority, the anonymity, as well as the sense of distance or physical remove.” ⁵

  • For instance, am I posting authentically or for impression management? Am I taking responsibility for my behavior on social media? Would I behave the same if I was in person?


At the core of psychological safety is creating a space where what wants to be said can be said and not judged. Creating these conditions requires more skills than we’ve been taught in schools.


So much is being exposed about how we relate. It’s another opportunity to evolve past drama, shaming, and blaming and to invite the truth, no matter what. From my book Evolution Revolution: Conscious Leadership for an Information Age, you will want to refer to Chapter 9: Conscious Expression – Responding to Life. To learn why it's so difficult to communicate, the problem with projecting and some real-life examples, and why conscious expression is so important. You will also learn the six steps for applying the practice and comparative examples of evolved vs. non-evolved expression. You can also dive into your learning and development with my online course.


Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, and visit my website for more information!


 

Abigail Stason, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

More Master Teacher than coach, Abigail “Abby” Stason is a social activist and skill builder with 20+ years of professional experience as a leader, organizational consultant, and group facilitator. As a disrupter, Abby is committed to a new social awareness in favor of exposing outdated structures that are no longer of service, giving way to the experience of peace, freedom, and truth in the world. She is a catalyst for societal evolution. In short, she helps human beings, leaders, teams, and organizations wake up by equipping them with behavioral skills for a modern world. Abby created a conscious leadership curriculum, a series of practices that are easily accessible to everyone.

 

References:

  • [{1]: Branden, Nathaniel. (1994). The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem. New York, NY. Bantam. (28)

  • [2-4]: Banaji, Mahzarin R. & Greenwald, Anthony, G. (2013). Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People. New York, NY. Random House. (78, 29, 21)

  • [5] Aiken, Mary PhD. (2016). The Cyber Effect. New York, NY. Random House. (21)

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