Today, we are discussing truth as part of Jamie Ridler’s online bookclub, The Next Chapter on The Joy Diet: Ten Daily Practices for a Happier Life by Martha Beck. Truth is the second menu item of this book.
What was especially interesting to me about this chapter is that it felt very familiar to me. Unlike with “nothing” where it took me working through the chapter to realize I had been practicing nothing quite a bit myself, thr truth chapter actually felt familiar. You see, in the last few years, I have made it a practice to be brutally honest to myself about my feelings. It all started in 2001 when I got rid of two really bad habits (a bad boyfriend and a bad cable news addiction, which was more like a negativity addiction) and realized that I had been lying to myself to keep both habits around as long as I had. When I realized that, I swore never to lie like that to myself again. And so the questions that Martha Beck suggests (what am I feeling? what hurts?) felt familiar. Her question “what is the painful story I am telling” and “is my painful story working” and “can I think of another story” felt similar to my own “if x hurts, is it because it should hurt, or am I making up a story around it?”
One of the things I have learned about truth, however, is that it is ok to sit with the truth for a while – truth can be joyful, but it can also be painful. And sometimes, sitting with the painful things helps me understand them. Finally, nothing and truth for me can be really intertwined – i.e. when I do the ticker tape exercise and name my feelings as thoughts flow by, I work hard to be truthful to myself.