Tuesday, April 26, 2016

First the truth sucks, then it might set us free

Richard Wright wrote, “I have found that to tell the truth is the hardest thing on earth. Harder than fighting in a war, harder than taking part in a revolution.

“If you try it, you will find that at times sweat will break upon you. You will find that even if you succeed in discounting the attitudes of others to you and your life, you must wrestle with yourself most of all. Fight with yourself. Because there will surge up in you a strong desire to alter facts, to dress up your feelings.

“You’ll find that there are many things you don’t want to admit about yourself and others.

“As your record shapes itself, an awed wonder haunts you. And yet there is no more exciting an adventure than trying to be honest in this way. The clean, strong feeling that sweeps you when you’ve done it makes you know that.”

He was talking about the act of writing, but his words are relevant even to those of us who just want to make a few healthy changes in our lives.  The first thing we have to do to change is to tell the truth about where we are now.  We have to admit that we are comfortable or lazy or weak, that no amount of evidence will make us like or eat kale, that we would rather have dental surgery without anesthesia than run a mile.  Once we tell the truth, we can see where we are and where we might want to start on making change.

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