Tell the Truth, Even When It’s Scary

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If I could share 500 words to inspire, this is the important wisdom I'd want to pass along to others...

  • I have learned nothing more deeply satisfying or life-affirming than this: The more we can discover what is true with us, the more open become the walls that constrict our souls. And when we do so out loud with a trusted friend or partner, the more permeable become the walls that separate us from each other, and the more connected we become, Soul to Soul.

    Lesson 1: Discover new Truth. Where we are keeping secrets from ourselves—false personalities we developed in childhood, traumas we “forgot,” truths about us we dare not think—we must work hard to not face them. Hiding our eyes from what is actually true keeps us from being effortlessly open and authentically ourselves.

    Our secrets are our chains.

    But peering beneath our secrets, bringing our truths into awareness, frees us. In facing who we are, we can live more wide-open. And it’s easier.

    Our truth can set us free.

    So life—or God—beckons, constantly, though gently. “Tell the truth,” it says. “Tell it so completely that there is nothing left to hide from. Even in the face of your hiddenness and your pain, become wide-open, translucent.”

    The arc of maturation is long, to paraphrase M.L King, but it bends, gently but insistently, towards honesty. It invites us to dig beneath every lie we tell ourselves. And then it beckons us again: “Don’t give up,” whispers the great invitation. “Don’t stop. Not until you’re entirely open. Never quit.”

    Lesson 2: Explore the truth aloud, with people you trust. The best way I know to discover new depths of truth is to do so out loud, with trusted friends, lovers or playmates. In quiet duets, trios or even larger groups, where we’re reaching mutually towards the really real, we can invite each other to discover, however tentatively and haltingly, more of who we really are.

    Such authentic truth telling typically bears three marks:

    • Something new emerging: “I have a vague feeling that…” “I’m not quite sure of this but…”
    • Though you’re discovering something you’ve never seen before, it feels deeply true.
    • It often comes as something vague, a feeling without words or a mute image.

    Doing so together, aloud, offers an additional gift. And this is one of life’s great gifts. Sharing what is really real together, digging into what is true of you me and us all, is a or perhaps the key to deep and real connection. For when you reach down into what’s true for you, I can see me in you. And when I share what is really real for me with you, you can see you in me.

    Intimacy wafts in on the back of the courage to discover new truths.

    Lesson 3: Lean into the anxiety of new truth. When we listen or reveal something new and deep, we usually feel uncertain, exposed or vulnerable. And this makes us anxious. Not neurotically anxious, but the shudder-that-comes-with-confronting-how-we’ve-always-seen-ourselves anxiety. Generally, in our conventional, everyday selves, most of us have learned to ignore, run from this sort of vulnerability. We might giggle, tell a joke, intellectualize, get busy.

    But the anxiety that accompanies truth telling is not a pathology. It is a gateway to truth. And to authentic connection.

    If we can lean into our anxious feelings of vulnerability as they arise and still keep exploring, we can both discover who we are AND foster deep love.

    So these are the lessons that enrich life the most: Tell the real truth, even (or especially) where it scares us. And when we do so with someone trustworthy, we can connect, honestly, intimately, heart-beatingly. Soul to Soul.

    Robert Forman

    Dr. Robert K.C. Forman has been called “one of America’s most respected spiritual teachers.” He is the author of the recently released, award winning Enlightenment Ain’t What It’s Cracked Up To Be, which is both a memoir of his own breakthrough to what’s called “spiritual enlightenment” and a re-imagination of the spiritual life as the transformation of a whole life, including relationships. Growing out of those insights, he and his colleagues developed the SoulJazz Program: Bringing Soul to Everyday Life and Relationships, which helps participants develop more connection, intimacy and love in their lives and relationships. He continues to help many spiritual counseling clients in their own journey towards love, honesty and engaging the messiness of everyday life with authenticity and depth. A Ph.D in Religion from Columbia University and a tenured professor, Dr. Forman recently received an Honorary Doctorate from Lund University, Sweden. He’s been married to Yvonne for 38 years and is the father of two, grandfather of two, an interfaith minister, avid motorcyclist and is a lead in a professional Blues Combo.

    For more information, please visit

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    1. Tim Weitzel
      Tim Weitzel says:

      This came across my inbox today. Bob is a good friend of mine, and I can attest to the work he puts living living what he writes about and his unwavering authenticity honestly and his incredible capacity for friendship. He also writes beautifully and plays a kick-ass Blues Guitar.


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