I’m always amused when people say, “The truth hurts.” But think about it: Which hurts more: Evading or denying what is real, or confronting reality head on? Abusers of drugs and alcohol are evaders of reality. Are they really happier for their efforts? People who quit and transform their lives tell me they’re much happier than before they quit. This couldn’t be the case if living in reality supposedly hurts?
Of course, some things in reality are awful and can indeed hurt, but just as many things are good, 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. But others, no matter how good things may be, can never muster up a smile. The truth is that reality is represented by a wide range of facts; some of them terrible, some of them wonderful. Reality is never just one way or another.
The truth need not hurt. There’s always good news when confronting truth. The good news is that you’re now in contact with what is really happening. Indeed, at the risk of mixing metaphors, the truth will set you free. Those who deny reality are ignoring their power to choose. They prefer to think that people have no choices about anything. It’s simpler to believe this than to actually confront the fact that we all have many choices about many things. Not everything, of course, but many things for sure.
For some, it’s easier to think that man is a helpless creature in a hostile universe where malevolent forces will gobble him up every time. But they aren’t thinking far enough ahead to consider the consequences of those beliefs. What are the consequences? Simply go online or to a bookstore (if you can find one…) to see psychiatric textbooks full of them: anxiety disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, phobia, and just plain emotional misery. If your beliefs lead to these (and other) emotional states, then are the consequences of negative thinking really worth it?
Rather than the truth hurting, it’s evasion and denial that really hurt. It takes more effort to wish away a known fact than to embrace its existence and work with (or around) it. When you let go of the impossible, you finally have access to the great possibilities that life has to offer.
One way or another, be consistent. If something other than life is the standard of value, then don’t worry about being happy. 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 actively seek happiness when you believe that something other than life is the standard of value. But if you agree with me that life is the ultimate standard of value, then reality and truth are your friends. Walk arm in arm with them to live the best life you can possibly live.