Tell the Deep Truth

Watching television growing up, it gradually dawned on me that most sitcom plots wouldn’t even exist if people simply told their deepest truth. But no, everybody lies, hides the truth, tries to save face–and makes one hell of a mess doing it. This may be fun to laugh at on TV, but it doesn’t make real life much fun, I can tell you. And I’ve done my share of it, too: when I’m triggered, the Deep Truth is sometimes the hardest thing to tell. Not the superficial truth–that’s easy. But there are layers of truth like layers of fossilized sediment, and it can take some hard digging to uncover the deep truth because we hide it from ourselves, because it is so vulnerable-making, exposing our naked scared selves underneath the mask of self-sufficiency and toughness.

I’ve learned that telling that scary, self-exposing, vulnerable-little-underbelly truth is what transforms things, heals things and, paradoxically, empowers us even in the moment of greatest vulnerability. Telling the deep truth is a profound relief. No more hiding, posturing, blaming. When we tell our deepest truth, it places us on a throne that is unshakeable, with which no one can argue.

So how do we start discovering–and, hopefully, telling–our deepest truth? Here are some steps:

1. Take some time to figure out how you’re really feeling. A classic example: a woman’s husband forgets their anniversary for the third year in a row. She’s angry, wanting to get back at him, hurt him, call him names. That‘s all true. She can acknowledge that to herself. But underneath all that, there is profound hurt, a feeling of being not-cared-for, undervalued. A fear that this relationship, which is so important to her, is not at all important to him. This is her deeper truth.

2. Try to hold on to yourself in compassion for these deeper feelings. If you can, allow your anger to subside. Concentrate on soothing and comforting the part of the self that is hurt or vulnerable. When we do this, we begin to feel stronger. We begin to see that, even if those around us betray or wound us, we are there for ourselves, our own best allies. When we explode in rage at others, we give our power away.

3. Focus on what you really deeply desire. Is it to hurt someone as we’ve been hurt? Or to receive the caring and love we really want? The blaming approach isn’t likely to get more than a defensive response. Speaking from the deeper truth often opens hearts.

4. Make “I” statements, not blaming name-calling “you” ones. Not “You forgot our anniversary again. But why was I surprised? It’s so typical of you, you selfish jerk” but instead speak from the deeper place: “I was really hurt when you didn’t remember our anniversary again. It makes me feel that our relationship isn’t important to you. Then I start to feel unappreciated and unloved. It‘s an awful feeling.” It may be that the husband’s deeper truth is that he doesn’t really care, and that would be hard. But most folks want to please the people in their lives. Chances are that this approach might soften things just a bit, and lead to positive change.

Telling the deeper truth takes practice and more practice, but every time we do, we grow stronger, more in our integrity, more clear. It may be hard work but it’s so worth it!

By Cait Johnson, author of Earth, Water, Fire, and Air (SkyLight Paths, 2003).

Love This? Never Miss Another Story.


Faith Billingham
Faith Billingham4 years ago

thank you for this article :)

Susana L.
sue l.4 years ago


Robert O.
Robert O.4 years ago


K s Goh
KS Goh4 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Sambhunath Tiadi
Sambhunath Tiadi5 years ago

Thanks a lot. Now is the time, we have to adopt such policies and strategies for eradication of unemployment from our nation by making reformations in the existing policies, which is possible on the part of our nation with out any financial implication, subject to strong political will. This will control crime and terrors also in some extent.Hope, you will do something for the nation and for the human society. god bless u & Wish you all the best in your life.

Rita M.
Rita M.5 years ago

Speak your truth in the language of increase and you will find more positive results.

Barb F.
Barb F.5 years ago

TY for this article, I love seeing it. I do feel the same, it is just part of who I am, it's resulted in some conflicts to say the least, I've found what the societal norm is in that the last thing they want to hear is the real truth, sad but true, I hope for change on that.

gail d.
gail dair5 years ago

thanks for posting

Montana Freeman
Montana Freeman7 years ago

Phooey, i get this kind of stuff from my girl friend and it all boils down to the fact that she would rather live in the illusion that my absolute job is to act like some moronic idiot and behave appropriately in her tiny little world, and that really pisses her off...Thankfully for her i am pretty evolved and listen to her rants until it eventually subsides and life goes on. However at this stage of her evolutionary life trip i doubt that she will ever figure the difference between what ''is'' and what she in her childish mind ''wants it to be''.
Enlightened One

Mayhre Borrett-brockway

Very good. Especially turning the hurt part toward the true need. Love. Thank you.