For you, me, ‘truth’ might be different

Published 12:27 am Wednesday, February 18, 2015

“Standing in your truth” — I hear that phrase a lot among yoga people. It is talking about a choice in the way you live your life, choosing to stand in what you understand is right for you.

Now, I know my truth is not always going to agree with everyone else’s truth, and I certainly should not expect it to be any other way. Still, standing in your truth is not always easy when it seems to go against the accepted way.

I’ve thought a good deal about that phrase lately with all the discussion in the news, online and among people about same-sex marriage. Everyone has an opinion about the rightness or wrongness of allowing two people of the same sex to get married.

There is debate and argument that is stirring up a great deal of emotion on both sides of the issue. If I’m not mindful, emotion is what rises when I hear the talk circulating everywhere.

When I considered writing a column and standing in my truth about what I think about same-sex marriage, an alarm went off in my head. A voice screamed, “DON’T DO IT!!”

The reasoning behind that voice went something like this:

“If you say how you feel, you are going to get some negative backlash.”

“A lot of people won’t agree with you and you might even lose friends.”

“You are just going to stir up more controversy.”

“Nothing you say will change the minds of those who feel differently from you.”

On and on it went. There was little, if any, positive words coming from that voice. Now and then, there was a whisper of “stand in your truth,” but that other louder voice quickly drowned it out.

When I got quiet and considered what it was and why I heard this voice, I found that underneath the words was one overriding emotion — fear. It is a fear that seems to hang around most of us for most of our lives. It is the fear of being different, being misunderstood and ultimately finding some people do not like you. Whether we admit it or not, we want people to like us.

This weekend I read a letter in the Andalusia Star-News from Judge Ashley McKathan. In it, he stood in his truth writing what he believes about same-sex marriage. My views are not the same as his, but what struck me was his willingness to say what he believes even though he said he knew it was not going to strike an understanding cord with many people.

What also struck me was how we as humans often make it hard for each other to live and to speak openly about how we feel. In many cases when we, me included, don’t agree, we go on the attack. We resort to name calling or other negative behavior.

Knowing this happens is what causes many people to hesitate when it comes to expressing themselves. It’s that fear of what will happen if I put myself out there for the world to see.

Then in the midst of thinking about this and about how challenging it is to stand in your truth when it goes against the status quo, something else occurred to me. For those among us who are born gay (and I think are created the way they are by the same loving, creative energy that created me), they must experience this challenge of living their truth in ways I cannot begin to understand.

So, while I don’t want this column to be a debate on whether or not same-sex marriage is a good thing or a bad thing, I would perhaps like it to encourage us to take a step back from arguing our individual viewpoints and understand that in so many ways we are more alike than different.

Maybe, if we could do that one thing, “standing in your truth,” whatever that truth might be, would be easier for everyone.