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Personal Practices: Truth

Although most of us would say we hold truth as a value and believe in telling the truth, in practice we tell white lies, withhold truth, are inauthentic in cocktail-party conversations. One way to bring more attention to where we fall short in our courage or commitment to truth-telling is to choose a period of time for which to take a vow of truth. You might make the vow to yourself, or to make it more serious, you might announce it to a trusted friend or partner. Your intention is to tell the truth absolutely for the chosen period of time, be at a day or a month.

As part of the vow, commit to reviewing each day at bedtime, noting any instances where you fell short of honoring your vow of complete truth-telling that day and why. Don't beat yourself up over it, just simply observe it with a sense of curiosity and intention to learn. Also note where you spoke the truth in a situation where you might not have if you were not bound by your vow. How did it feel to speak the truth? How does it feel in retrospect? What have you learned about telling the truth, about being authentic?

At the end of your chosen time, give yourself a round of applause for your courage in taking a vow of truth. Reflect on the experience, what you've learned, and what commitments, if any, you might want to make to yourself going forward. You might write about the experience and share it with a close friend or group of friends, inviting them to talk about truth telling and authenticity and support you in your new resolve.

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