If you don’t build your relationship on the truth, sooner or later it will crumble. (Thich Nhat Hanh)
So often, truth is withheld in relationships with the best of intentions. We want to avoid making the person we love feel uncomfortable or upset. We present a “better” version of ourselves to be loved more and to make the relationship stronger. Despite how normal and well-intentioned this is, it is also the way that relationships are poisoned.
The first thing that happens is that the person withholding or twisting the truth feels afraid of being discovered. You also feel isolated, misunderstood, and distant. Now there are problems and unmet needs that the person you love cannot help you with because he or she is unaware. Not saying how you feel or what you mean—expecting the other person to guess—leads to friction and resentment.
What about the other person? If you are afraid to be honest in your relationship, you probably don’t encourage it or welcome it from your partner. So both of you feel the same low-level, ongoing suffering. Besides, it is exhausting to fake anything, especially at home. Acting is work and nobody can be happy without breaks from work.
We learn about relationships from the world of entertainment, where characters are always trying to manipulate reality. This is what all movies are about. If there were a movie about two people who were perfectly open and honest always, there would be no plot, no intrigue, no drama, no crisis to deal with. This movie has never been made, but this sort of life is possible and fully desirable.
What most people do not know until it is too late, is that the truth always eventually comes out. You can go on for years getting away with something, playing a role, pretending. But reality is designed in such a way that everything will be known. When it is, you will face crisis and everything you built on that foundation of shifting sand will crumble.
Even if it may seem difficult at first, if there are risks involved in speaking your truth, every relationship must be built on truth and openness to be joyful and eternal. We continue tomorrow and each day after that.