The Courage in Telling the True Story

The master was unmoved. To all their objections he would say, ‘You have yet to understand that the shortest distance between a human being and Truth is a story. –Anthony de Mello

Having the courage to tell your true story changes the world.  The novel and recent film adaption of  The Help has captured the hearts of so many because it depicts the civil rights struggles of millions into memorable and heart breaking stories of characters so rich in detail that they are people we have all known somewhere in our lives.  All of the facts I had learned of this time–separate but equal, Jim Crow laws,  Klu Klux Klan–came alive in the context of these fictional yet very real lives.

The women who shared their stories in The Help, knew they were risking their jobs, their safety and even their lives by revealing their truth.  Yet they were compelled by the courage of King and the movement he lead to own their lives by sharing their stories.  This is fiction but you wish it were true, because even months later, their stories live in me like old friends I wished I had.

This is the power of storytelling.  When we share our true moments, we convert our daily experience into clear and powerful meaning.  Our stories are the currency we exchange that last far beyond any passing on of material wealth.  Our stories are how we know ourselves and how we learn about and hold onto the family we are born into.  The stories are what make our families and our friendships our own.

Many of us never share our true stories.  We feel compelled to tell the story that will be acceptable.  We give up our truth to not make waves, to keep others from being hurt, to trick ourselves into not seeing what is in front of us.  These tactics don’t really work.  We know when we have lost touch with our selves or the people we love and usually it is reflected in our stories.  They are shallow and feel thin as we share them.  They don’t capture our attention or our imagination and at their most base they resemble lies.

This is the main distinction between the courage to tell our true stories and the other talking that passes for communication.  When we give up our stories for what is politically correct we lose what is most precious to us.  I think about this as I work on compiling the true story of my own positivity quest.  Each time I weigh how much I feel safe to expose with what is lost by the edit,  I have to choose again between the truth in me and what I shouldn’t say.

I want to find the courage to share my true story.  The one that is thick with meaning and shows me what I am really connected to.  This is where transparency means the most, when you get a glimpse of the inside of someone else, you begin to see yourself more clearly, because deep in most true stories we can all be found.




Anne F.
Anne F5 years ago

Sharing the thick meaning of life and what we have learned is a great task. Honesty helps.

J.L. A.
JL A5 years ago

good reminders

Danuta Watola
Danuta W5 years ago

Thanks for the info

Sue H.
Sue H5 years ago

Thanks for your view point on this issue.

Lydia Price

One must always tell the truth in all matters because it is a matter of personal integrity and standing for what one believes in. A short, truthful life is far better than a long one based on lies.

Robert O.
Robert O5 years ago

Thanks Wendy.

Will Rogers
Will Rogers6 years ago

I triedand tried to read the book, but was unconvinced, something does not ring true about that book. I know it's fiction, but it had too many holes in it. I thought it was just me and so when I saw it come out as a film, I watched it hoping that it would make me revisit the book. Alas I found it dull and unconvincing. So I amvery surprised to see this article praising it. It takes all sorts I suppose.

Jaclyn Johnston
Jaclyn Johnston6 years ago

I agree, but using a fictional novel as an example makes no sense and does not support the argument at all.

Loo Samantha
Loo sam6 years ago

noted, thanks.

Alicia N.
Alicia N6 years ago

noted with thanks