by Susan Birmingham
What does that really mean, “The Truth Shall Set You Free?” For me it means that if I tell the truth about what I am doing, thinking or saying then I have nothing to hide. I am free to be who I am – authentic and real. My self-esteem is high and I have a good feeling of self worth.
Telling the truth means I don’t have to lie about how I am feeling, what I am doing or where I am going. Once you lie about one thing, be it big or small, you put into motion a pattern that can become extremely difficult to break. It takes on a life of it’s own before you even realize it. It doesn’t have to be a whopper of a falsehood or a white lie to be considered not telling the truth. It really does start with keeping your thoughts so private for so long that they get blown out of proportion in your head and things become distorted. Over time you start living what I call “A false sense of reality.”
I have been sober over 22 years now and I got that way by learning to tell the truth. Years ago I had what I call my “Taco Moment”, my moment of clarity when I actually opened my eyes and saw where my choices and decision had taken me. That moment changed my life forever!
I had been living a life of untruths, lying to myself and everyone else. The worst part of it was that I didn’t even know I was doing it. I did not realize that the biggest lie of all – was not telling myself the truth about how I felt. Every since I was a little girl, I was always denying my feelings. I was afraid that if you knew what I was thinking or how I felt, you (the generic you) would not like me, much less love me.
Thank God I found my way into the rooms of a 12 step program over 22 years ago. My journey had begun and I didn’t have a clue where I was going or how I was going to get there. I only knew that the way I had been living wasn’t working for me anymore.
There are so many wonderful sayings that I have learned over the years in the rooms of my 12 step meetings. One that really resonated with me from the very start is “You are as sick as your secrets.” WOW, that is another way to say “The truth shall set you free.” Well by the time I made the decision to change my life, I was 35 years old and I had a lot of secrets. I had secrets from way back, from when I was a little girl. There were things I had never told anyone.
Part of the 12 step program is working “The Steps” and yes, there are twelve of them. The fourth step is the one where you take a moral inventory of your life. This is a big step and one I put off for many months. When I finally did it, I started to understand what freedom was all about. I started to see how I was breaking the chain of secrets that were keeping me bound in a way of life that was killing me.
It started with the ability to tell the truth to myself. The truth about how I was feeling. The truth about what I had done. I started to accept myself. It took time but it happened. I started to let myself feel good about who I was. Over the years I have been able to discover the beautiful woman that I am today. And none of it would have been possible without the ability to tell the truth!
Once I got started I began to see how important it was to be honest to myself and others. I realized that I didn’t have the skills to let people know how I felt. I did not know how to communicate. So I set out on a mission, I wanted to learn how to communicate. I took workshops on communication, read books about how to talk to people and express my feelings, went to therapy, worked with coaches, and…practiced, practiced, practiced.
Where did all this get me? To AN AMAZING LIFE -one that is filled with fantastic relationships of all kinds. Today my relationships are real, they are deep and meaningful. I have genuine connections with people and I have never been happier.
No matter what stage you are at in your relationship, married or not, start to tell the truth about how you feel. Begin with allowing yourself to be honest to YOU! Admit how you feel to yourself, how you really feel. Seek out ways to learn to express what you are feeling. Sign up for workshops, read books, work with a coach (like me), whatever it takes it will be worth it.
Learning to communicate and tell the truth about how you feel will change your life forever. It will give you a closeness in your relationship that you may have been searching for your whole life. I am not saying that it will happen overnight. What I am saying is that it will happen for you if you want it to and if you work for it. As my title says “The Truth Shall Set You Free.”
Susan Birmingham 2009
Susan Birmingham is the founder and C.E.O. of Birmingham Consulting and Coaching as well as creator of the ESTEEM Principle. She works with women from all walks of life helping them maneuver around the obstacles that are keeping them from creating their dream life from the inside out.