People say “the truth hurts.” But which hurts more: Evasion of reality, or confrontation of reality as it is?
Abusers of drugs and alcohol are evaders and deniers of reality. Are they really happier for their efforts? People who quit and transform their lives say they’re a lot happier than before they quit. How can this be, if living in reality “bites” or hurts as so many claim?
People who claim that reality is nasty are guilty of a smear against reality. Some things in reality are awful, but just as many things are good, great — or even beautiful. By what standard of accuracy can one claim that reality is by its nature awful and terrible? Even during bad times, people are known to laugh. And others, no matter how good times may be, can never muster up a smile.
The honest truth is that reality is represented by a whole range of facts — some of them terrible, some of them just wonderful. It’s an exaggeration to say that reality is always wonderful or always terrible.
The truth need not hurt. There’s always good news when confronting truth. The good news is that you’re now more in contact with reality than you were before you heard, learned of or finally grasped the difficult truth about something. I much prefer the statement: The truth will set you free.
People who claim that reality and truth are horrible also ignore the power of choices. They prefer to think that people have no choices about anything. It’s simpler to believe this than to actually confront the truth that we all have many choices about many things — not everything, but many, many things.
To some, it’s easier to think that man has no choices, that man is a helpless creature in a hostile universe where malevolent forces will eat him alive every time. They think it’s easy to think this way; but what about the consequences of thinking this way? Psychiatric textbooks are full of them: Anxiety disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, phobia, and just plain emotional misery. If your beliefs lead to your emotional states, then are the consequences of thinking of reality as a terrible place really worth it?
When you condemn reality, you’re condemning life itself. When you condemn life itself, you’re condemning your own life in the process. You sentence yourself to a life of psychological imprisonment from which death — perhaps with some imagined afterlife or “nirvana” — is the only thing to look forward to.
If you ask me, evasion and denial of reality are what bite and hurt. It takes much more effort to wish away a known fact than to embrace its existence and work around it, or work with it. When you let go of the impossible, you finally have access to the many great possibilities that life has to offer.
If you think that somehow, somewhere there has to be “something” better than life itself — well, OK then. I don’t agree, but I can’t stop you from thinking that. But be consistent. If something other than life is the standard of value, then don’t worry about being happy in life. Don’t worry about mental health, or even physical health for that matter. Consistency dictates that you care about the thing that’s more important than life. It’s contradictory to wish to be happy — to actively seek to be happy — when something other than life is the top standard of value. And, if you agree with me that life is the top standard of value — well then, reality and truth are your friends. Walk arm in arm with objective reality to live the best life you possibly can attain.