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What Needs To Be Said?

September 17, 2013

What needs to be said right now and what is true are not always in one-to-one correspondence. Just because something is true does not always mean it needs to be said. And just because something needs to be said does not always mean it is true.

When you are trying to be helpful (which hopefully is always), “What does this person need to hear?” is a more powerful question than “What is true in this situation?” They may or may not be the same thing. Some truths are unhelpful, and some things that are helpful are not verifiably true. “Truth” is a slippery concept, and highly contextual, whereas “helpful” can be much more evident.

For example, “You are whole, complete, and beautiful” may be just what someone needs to hear at a particular moment to stop beating themselves up. Someone else may need to hear “You are the source of everything that makes you unhappy” in order to spark a needed process of critical self-reflection. “You are already successful” may help someone approach their work with a greater sense of ease and focus, or it may induce them to settle for less than they deserve. All of these statements are context-dependent, none of them is objectively true or false. But they may or may not be helpful for a certain person to hear at a certain time.

Likewise, just because you needed to hear something at a particular time does not mean it is objectively true for all time and space, so you can let go of thinking that it is. Just let the words act upon you, without wondering if they are “true” or not, until they no longer resonate. If someone told you “You need to get your act together” when you were 20, it might have been what you needed to hear then, but it no longer applies to you at 35.

The best way to escape from the tyranny of objective truth (which is always based on limited perceptions, and thus actually subjective), is to learn how to be your own coach, to program your inner voice to tell you what you need to hear, all the time.

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  1. The Tyrrany Of Objective Truth | The Buddha's Hotdog

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