|Ophelia's art poster: http://www.zazzle.com/to_thine_own_self_be_true_poster-228306749335934814|
Yesterday I watched an online discussion between Martha Beck and Oprah, following Oprah’s life class entitled “The Truth Will Set You Free”. This of course was of interest to me as my life’s work is centered in this issue.
Martha Beck had a spiritual experience while undergoing a surgery, and it changed they way she lived. She had been touched by a divine love, and the only way she could come close to experiencing that feeling again was to live in absolute truth. The alternative became too painful. She could no longer say yes when she meant no, or do work she didn’t believe in, or be in a relationship based on false selves.
This was the part of the conversation that riveted me. She said that if you are in a relationship in which you can not truly be yourself- meaning you can’t say what you really think or feel for fear of the other person rejecting you- then you are presenting a “false self” to the relationship, and therefore it is a “false relationship”. I could instantly flash on several relationships in my life past and present that fit that bill. And it made me wonder…If I’m not being myself so I won’t lose the relationship, but it’s a false relationship, then what am I really losing?
I can recall countless work or family functions I’ve attended where everyone forces a smile while simmering with resentment underneath. Or times I’ve said yes when I really meant no. And this is what I think shame really is. It’s when your actions are not in alignment with your heart. Shame is born in the moment that you betray yourself.
And yet most of us live this way.
So why do we do this? Why would we ever live a life that is not true? Why do we betray ourselves? Why do we say one thing and do another?
What do we gain by living this way? And more importantly, what do we lose?