Is truth subjective? How about when a friend refuses to see it?


The HeartMath Institute sends out a quote every day–some of them from famous people, some from the founders of the organization. Almost all are gems. Found this one today:

“Everyone stumbles over the truth from time to time, but most people pick themselves up and hurry off as though nothing ever happened.” – Winston Churchill

It’s easy to see this happen when you’re looking at other people. How easily we can recognize when a friend or relative is turning away from a truth that’s uncomfortable. Not so easy in ourselves, of course.

The big question we face when we see it going on with a friend is, where does our responsibility lie? Are we supposed to point the “truth” out to the friend who can’t see it or who disagrees about it? What most likely happens if we do is the friend gets angry with us, feels misunderstood and judged. Because the fact is, when someone’s ignoring the truth, it’s usually because they are either unable or unwilling to acknowledge it. In any case, it doesn’t appear to be truth to them at all. So you can come off as preachy or holier-than-thou if you bring it up–even if you do it very diplomatically.

Do you gauge your course of action by whether you think it will make a difference? Do you only say something if the person is putting herself in imminent danger? Some people choose never to say anything, and that’s always safe. But if you want to be truly intimate with another person (whether it’s a close friend, a significant other, or a family member), that’s where the choice becomes more complicated.

The best course is to let love guide you. But that’s often easier said than done. In an insightful book called The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm, written originally some 40 years ago, the author talks about the components of love being care, responsibility, respect, and knowledge. Though a few of his ideas are dated, it’s worth reading this book to get a deeper perspective on the meaning of love in all its forms–and sound guidelines about when and how to discuss a difficult issue with someone you care about.

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