Truth Be Told

I am not sure how much truth I can handle. Watching an episode of ‘The Good Doctor’ gets me thinking about this. Dr. Shaun Murphy, who always speaks the truth, engages patients with honesty and navigates his love life with unfiltered emotions. How much honesty can the world deal with?

As a PR professional, I am so used to keeping an eye out for the “right things” to say and focussing on what the audience cares about and wants to hear. This has become my second nature. The tussle is between what is ‘the truth’ (if there is such a thing) and ‘my truth’. Then I ask myself “How much of that truth should I share?”. Will the world be a better or worse place if we all communicated with complete honesty? How much truth can be told?

The love of Shaun’s life hears some painful (but honest) things that he has to say. He shares how hurt he feels that she does not reciprocate his feelings and how this has led to him feeling anger towards her. He calls her shallow and says she cannot see him for who he is beyond his Autism. This causes her lots of hurt. It takes an earthquake and lots of drama, where Shaun nearly loses his life, for her to see that she loved him all along. Maybe a happy ending is possible if we learn to truly look inwards and listen to what we know deep down. The earthquake is a metaphor for something that shakes one up and brings real feelings to the surface.

Another episode of ‘The Good Doctor’ came on, it was about Covid and for a minute I wanted to turn it off. To forget. To not face the truth. My reaction took me by surprise. Why was I blocking this out? It is so easy to get caught up in the pursuit of pleasure and feeling good. As the lights of Diwali twinkle and shine this year and the festive spirit shines bright, I remind myself not to let the lights blind me to some hard truths and hard lessons learnt. I must not forget the hands that held mine in difficult times. I must not forget the meaning I derived from things that happened.  What I learnt was that I need genuine connection and I need to contribute. The Diwali parties are fun, but I draw more joy from connecting and contributing.

The last few Pandemic years have shaken many of us up. We have got a glimpse of who is important and what is important, in our lives. We have seen sides of ourselves that were hidden from ourselves and others. We have seen the best and worst of humanity on display on the world stage and in our companies and in our communities.

The truth shall set you free. The toughest part about honesty is being honest with myself. Accepting who I am. Seeing parts of me that I don’t like and having the courage to look in the mirror and say “that does not fit with my self-image, but that is my true self” is incredibly tough. And like all difficult things, once I confront them they free me. I am better for having looked in the mirror and seen the truth.

If I don’t make time to find and face my truth, I will always feel like something is missing. At the same time, I believe having some filters are a powerful way to present reality in the best light. Good social media etiquette follows the “TINK” before your post a comment approach (True, Important, Necessary, Kind). Ask yourself “Is it True?” “Is it Important?” “Is it Necessary?” “Is it Kind?” The first step is still about understanding and accepting of truth. Post that the INK of the TINK approach tells us what to do with that truth.

Seeing the truth is important always. Sharing it (or not) and how one shares it is where the magic lies. Once I know my truth, deciding how to deal with that truth is where maturity plays a role. “This is who I am, deal with it” or “this is who I am, I would love to know more about you… “ both are rooted in truth. One truth is self-centred. The other is self-aware.

Honest moments are precious. Honest moments are painful. Honest moments pave the way for growth and life. Honouring our realities and choosing them with care and then deciding how much to share is a great place to live. Truth be told.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Nikhil Dey
Nikhil Dey is Executive Director, Adfactors PR.

A trusted coaching and communications professional, Nikhil Dey is a certified life and leadership coach (International Coach Federation - ICF). Nurturing talent and helping clients achieve their goals is what makes him happy. He loves learning from students of communication, teaching courses and guest lecturing at various educational institutions. When he is not working you will find him on the tennis court or out for long walks with his family and four legged friends.

Previously he has held senior leadership positions at Weber Shandwick and Genesis BCW.

He can be reached on twitter @deydreaming

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