2002-09-07 / Columnists

The Inner Voice

By Marilyn Gelfand

When it comes to determining what truth is, it is often too difficult to rely on anything other than your own experiences. How can one tell what is real and what isn’t, especially in this very technical age when all things can be altered? It isn’t easy to tell. Years ago, I remembered being shocked when I learned that National Geographic magazine changed photos to make them look spectacular. One cover had the pyramids in Egypt lined up in one photo. That was done for effect, but many people, like myself, had no idea that photographers did this without telling the reader. More recently, I remember that the mother of, I believe, octuplets was photographed for the cover of a national news magazine. The magazine put in several teeth that were actually missing from the mother’s mouth. After people complained, they actually offered to have dental work done on the mother for free. She wasn’t acceptable as she was.

I have often heard it said that telling the truth is a virtue. To me, telling the truth means actually saying what you are thinking. Many people feel their group knows the "truth". But that is only a personal truth for those people. If I knew you were wearing a particular dress to an occasion and thought you looked great, would I really say that I thought you didn’t look good in it if there was no chance for you to change into something else? Truth is in the eye of the beholder, and it is exemplified in all the various interpretations of historical acts.

Truth and its interpretations belong to the speaker of it. Some people use the word truth to get what they want. They confuse the listeners because they keep extolling the virtues of it. Yet, they themselves do not honor it. It’s done with intent to mislead. Only your own experiences and beliefs can guide you as to what your own truth is. It doesn’t really matter what others think about it. You have to go by your own inner pilot. If someone has a hard time accepting you, then it means it must be time to move on to another relationship. By the same reasoning, we recognize another’s right to experience truth differently. We keep ourselves safe and protected, and guard our own truths.

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