So the other day I found myself in the middle of a situation. I was a third party to two other people debating and even arguing over an event that had taken place. They both viewed and experienced the circumstances differently and at this point had become quite agitated with one another.
When they asked me my opinion and who I thought was right, my first instinct was to run as fast as I could away from the situation. Although that was probably the right move, it was almost impossible based on where we were at the moment. And then my over-developed sense of obligation kicked in anyway and I tried to mediate as best I could. I went to my “go to” line in these situations and said something like, “It sounds like you both have a strong opinion about what happened and the truth can probably be found somewhere in the middle.”
Is that a cop-out or what? So much for my “go to” line.
Avoiding The Truth
If truth is really truth, how can it be found in the middle? Are we compromising truth for political correctness and making sure we smooth over feelings for all parties involved, making sure everyone in the situation is OK? And if so, is there anything really wrong with that approach? Unfortunately I think there is, it’s called avoiding the truth.
Now there are some people that are extremely direct and never have an issue with speaking their mind or telling others exactly how they feel and how they perceive things. This doesn’t mean they are right or even necessarily telling the truth, it just means that they are direct. These folks typically live by a saying, “Seldom right, but never in doubt.”
The other extreme are the people who will not utter a word, they will stand by and passively watch or listen as someone spins a story or even tells an outright lie. They know it’s wrong but they would prefer to keep quiet instead of risking the wrath of the other person or just take the position of going along to get along.
I am not sure about you, but no matter how much it might hurt, and it has hurt when it has happened to me ... I would rather someone be honest, even brutally honest with me and tell me what I need to hear not just what I want to hear. I want them to tell me the truth or call me out when they feel I am not telling the truth.
And here’s what I have personally experienced in each situation, when the truth is actually revealed, regardless of how painful it might be, everything becomes better much faster for all parties. There may have been initial hurts and disappointments, but truth is truth and no one has to continue a lie or perpetuate a story that could cause drama or future problems.
There is a Proverb that reads, “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.” There is so much truth in that one simple Proverb. It is so frustrating for everyone involved when we search for the truth in conflicting agendas and personalities. Drama gives way to truth and we find ourselves back in the vicious cycle of political correctness and making sure everyone feels good.
‘You Can’t Handle The Truth’
Maybe it’s more like the epic line by Jack Nicholson in the movie “A Few Good Men” when he shouts from the witness stand, “You can’t handle the truth!”
How about you, is the truth found somewhere in the middle? Is an honest answer like a kiss on the lips? Can you handle the truth? I would love to hear all about it at firstname.lastname@example.org, and when we learn to live in the truth, it really will be a better than good week.
Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker, and CEO of www.candogo.com. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.