It seems that as a Nation we are extremely curious. If you want to know just about anything, you can Google it and you’ll have the best answer in under a second. Information practically floats up into your brain, without your ever having sought it, from an endless array of devices and resources. We all pursue knowledge in one form or another, every day. We need it to survive and thrive in an increasingly complex and diverse world. But, there’s a difference between information, knowledge and truth, isn’t there?
Everyone knows that scene in the movie A Few Good Men, where Jack Nicholson, when caught in a lie during cross examination, shouts, “You can’t handle the truth!” What is it about that scene (and that quote) that is so memorable? Could it be that it touches a nerve we all share? Are there “things” that we don’t really want to face or know about? Perhaps there is a place of vulnerability within each of us, where we don’t dare let anyone (not even ourselves) go. Is there something that we refuse to look at, name, or explore? The truth, our own truth, can be dangerous, maybe even unbearable (or so we think). For, what would happen if we let down our guards and exposed what we have shielded so closely all our lives, often at great personal sacrifice?
The truth about truth is that we all have the ability to encapsulate and hide it from ourselves for so long we can’t remember why. We then implicitly require of everyone that it remain untouched, unspoken. But isn’t that unwavering protection precisely what makes it so threatening and so powerful? Truth somehow becomes secret. It lives and breathes in the rarified air that promotes its endless growth and unlimited power. The amazing part is that if we could just look at our truth directly, if we could just peel back the protective layers of avoidance, fear, and servitude, we could destroy its power over us- once and for all.
So, if our secret truth is so very powerful, how do we expose (and thereby destroy) this beast without destroying ourselves in the process? Well, first of all, it’s important to remember that if it is in fact our truth, then perhaps it is not bad. For as Shakespeare’s Hamlet says, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” In therapy, we are able to dispassionately examine our truth with non-judgment. Allowing ourselves to examine what we have feared for so long does not have to be such a David and Goliath-like battle. We can begin to examine our truth when we realize that it has exactly as much power over us as we are willing to ascribe to it. As we gain awareness, we can begin to see possibilities, ones that were once invisible or considered “impossible.”
Once we are able to gaze upon and reflect upon our truth in safety, we can begin to reclaim it. The ultimate goal is to incorporate the truth back into ourselves, gaining strength and wisdom as we do so. If we can learn to stand in the middle of our own truth without fear or self-reproach, we can attain a clarity of thought that will free our intentions. Our thoughts, feelings, words and deeds will begin to be in alignment. A consequence of this evolutionary process is that we will begin to be open to even more truth (our own and that of others). Truth will be our constant companion and greatest ally.
Call us at Life Skills Resource Group in Orlando, if you feel like you’re ready to handle your truth. We’ll be here. Kim
To Contact: TherapistKimMurphy@gmail.com
“To thine own self be true, and it must follow,
as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”
A Few Good Men is a 1992 courtroom drama film written by Aaron Sorkin. It was directed by Rob Reiner and starred Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, and Demi Moore.