I am reading the first chapter of Steve Pavlina’s book “Personal Development for Smart People” where he speaks of the first fundamental principle of personal growth: Truth.
If I were to sum up the chapter, I’d state in my own words that the more readily we accept the truth, the better and faster we will grow. It may not be easy accepting the truth, but it is always a step in the right direction.
I have had fights with truth in the past. Note: fight “with” truth not fight “for” truth.
Let me share these experiences with you.
I’ve been found!
I was taking a Masters in Development Management at AIM back in 2004. In the early part of the course, there was a battery of self-awareness exercises. The basis of it was that the more aware people are of themselves, the better for them to learn and grow.
One of the tests was the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test. It was a personality test (Take the Jung Typology test ). As far as I could remember, it asked a set of more than 50 questions. The analysis of my answers pointed me to a personality type that had with it a description of that personality.
After answering the questions, making the analysis and finally zeroing in on my personality type, I felt a very unique emotion.
I was enraged! I remember distinctly how *mad* I was! I was taken aback at how accurately the personality test was able to describe to me my personality! It was as if the test knew me personally! The write-up described how I think, how I felt about things, how I felt about myself, how I made decisions, how I approached problems.
It described *me* so accurately. I felt I had been found! And I could not believe what I was reading because I felt I had, until then, successfully hidden from others and from myself some of the very deep truths about myself! And now here is a test created by some person far far away who is telling me the kind of person I am, both good and not so good.
And the “not so good” this test was revealing to me when I didn’t want it to be revealed to me!
I was in denial and this test was uncovering things that I was denying.
I was mad! Mad about this disrespectful revelation of the truth I had hidden from myself.
Who knew I was faking a bit?
I had another similarly powerful experience while taking the Starshooters program of PSI in late 2007. In one of the activities, our group of 16 was divided into 4 groups. The grouping was based on a very simple scoring system derived from what we had achieved from the goals that we had set for ourselves in the past month. I belonged to the second group.
The first group was described to have goals that they truly resonated with. The goals they had set for themselves were very real and sincere for them that they would have moved mountains to achieve their goals. That’s how truthful their goals were for the people in the first group.
The second group, where I belonged, had goals that were short of the real truth. Being in this group, I was described to have goals which were not truly aligned with what I truly wanted. A part of my goals were in fact goals that I did not *really* want. I was told that a part of my goals were false goals that I thought were *my* goals but were in fact goals that I felt other people wanted for me.
For the second time in my life, I was mad at a revelation of truth. Here I was in a second group whereas I felt I belonged to the first group. I was being told that my goals weren’t as sincere as can be. My golly, I was mad and I didn’t hide it! :-)
My anger reveals resistance and denial
It isn’t often that I’m mad. Very few people have seen me mad. It’s sad that in my rage, it is the people I love who get hurt along the way.
I realized tonight that there are times this anger comes out when I am being forced to face a truth that I prefer to deny. Anger is one response I take when I insist on denying the truth.
This anger-response has helped me resist the truth and thus resist changing for the better.
“I am in denial”
Steve Pavlina describes, “Being completely honest with yourself is vastly superior to living in denial.”
When I say “I am in denial”, I consider this statement one step towards accepting the truth!
This is better than saying “I am true to myself” when deep inside it is not true.
At least by saying “I am in denial” there is an awareness that I am not being totally truthful to myself.
Hehehe … I know that there’s an oxymoron there. Although I am not trying to be funny here, I was amused at how truthful this oxymoron is.
By saying “I am in denial”, I take one step closer to accepting the truth.
Concrete action: catch myself
Here is a decision I am making right now. When I find myself bordering in anger, I will remind myself that I am resisting something. And my resistance is probably based on something in my mind or heart that is not completely true.
I will catch myself and ask myself: “Why am I mad? What am I resisting? Why am I resisting? What is the more truthful and loving way to respond to this situation?”
for truth, for love