Relationships: What do you do when others “share their truth” with you?
Their eyes widen, they lower their voice. They lean forward to speak to you conspiratorily. “Can I share my truth with you?” they ask. “I would like to share my truth with you,” they say, as if they are about to give you the biggest gift in the universe.
Have you ever noticed how you felt after these great shares? Did you feel lighter, empowered, excited about yourself and life? Or did you feel defensive, contracted, required to justify every choice you’d made—not only about the event being discussed, but everywhere else in your life?
Guess what! These people that share their truth with you are not your friends. Their aim is for you to feel just like that piece of shit you feel like when they’re done. By forcing you into defense, they prevent you from being you.
Gary Douglas, the founder of Access Consciousness, doesn’t beat around the bush with these folks. “These people are out to destroy you,” he says. “They want to cut your guts out.” What could be the value of a relationship like that?
Having my guts cut out
Interestingly, the first time I was aware of being on the receiving end of one of these folks, I felt just like that. You may have seen those anatomy illustrations where the skin of the arms and legs is intact, but the skin is removed from the internal organs in the torso so anatomy students can study them. I felt just like that. Hmmm….I thought, “I wonder if that’s what Gary meant when he said they’re here to cut your guts out.”
How can you identify these truth sharers who are really shit stirrers? There is the heaviness you feel afterwards. You can also look at what they say. Is any of it a question? (I have never seen them ask a question.) Is everything they say a judgment? Is it all about how they are right, and you are wrong? Do they ever consider, let alone ask, if there was some good reason for what you were doing?
If you find yourself going into the reasons why you choose what you choose, they have already won. They’ve forced you into defense. If you refuse to buy their judgment and do not judge yourself, you have no reason to justify any choice. You chose it because you chose it. Period.
When I first heard about this share your truth dynamic, I foolishly thought I hadn’t experienced it. After 13 years of working with this material, I realize it happens all the time.
An example of “sharing their truth”
The latest incident for me involved a rental apartment in Holland. Normally I approach these rental flats with gratitude and curiosity. What would it be like to live in the skin of the person whose abode I am borrowing? What is their universe like? I tend to feel a kinship, a connection, a relationship with the person whose space that lasts long after I’ve left their space. That was not the case with this rental.
The day after I arrived, while I was facilitating a class–an activity that requires 100 per cent of my presence–I received a text on my cell phone.
“Can you keep the sheets over the bed and can you close the curtains when you are sleeping.” These may look like questions, but a real question is more than a statement with a question mark attached. These were commands from the owner of the flat I had rented.
To understand the creepiness and invasiveness of this message, consider: the flat faced a private walkway with locked gates on each side. No one from the public passing by could see in. The person inspecting the sheets on the bed and the curtains had to be standing right outside my window AND have a key to get in.
For a woman travelling alone, that was a creepy message no matter what he’d seen. I work from 9 a.m. and get home often at 10 p.m. or after. When was my sleeping being observed?
Then there’s the content of the message. Being a share-your-truth-moment, it instantly forced me into defense. The black sheets did not fit the bed very well. In my tossing and turning in a strange and not very comfortable bed, the far end of one corner came off and was very difficult to retuck.
I didn’t close the blinds out of pure laziness. It was yet another rented flat in a 4 week trip with twice as many venues, accommodations, and beds. I was just too lazy to figure out how the blinds worked.
It got worse. The next day, I got another message. “Turn off the lights when you leave the house. And set the heater on 18 (degrees C). It’s not like a hotel. It’s my property please treat it that way.”
Again, my first reaction was to go into defense. The lights in that area of the Netherlands were off everywhere on that cold morning. I could not have seen if the lights were off or not! He told me how to control the heat, but he never told me to turn it to 18 degrees when I left. The highest I ever turned it to was 19.5—not a very big difference. As for “it’s not like a hotel, it’s my property, please treat it that way,”—obviously I had in his eyes committed other major sins. But he didn’t even tell me what they were so I could defend myself, even in my mind.
Then, fortunately, the light dawned. The “share your truth” principles apply not only to personal relationships, but to business ones as well. As soon as I realized that is what was happening, I stopped going into defense.
The people who do this kind of “communication” do not have your best interests at heart. Stepping into his universe and experiencing it would only lead to my judging and destroying me. As soon as I realized the malevolence from which this man functioned, all my need to justify myself stopped.
Interestingly, so did his texts. It was like by refusing to go into the judgment of myself that he was broadcasting, I sent a message out to the universe. “Dump closed.”
What a relief!
The next time someone offers to share their truth with you, or to be completely honest, you could get their intention faster than I did. You could invite them to put it where the sun doesn’t shine. Or better yet, to keep their honesty to themselves.