Embracing Your Personal Truth
by Elizabeth Jo Otto
The quality or state of being true…
- Veracity; sincerity in action, character, and utterance; genuineness
- Agreement with that which is represented; correspondence to reality; verisimilitude / ver-ə-sə-ˈmi-lə-ˌtüd /
- Conformity to rule; exactness; correctness
The body of real things, events, and facts : ACTUALITY…
That which is true…
- that which conforms to fact or reality;
- that which is or is characterized by being in accord with what is, has been or must be;
The state of being the case : FACT…
A transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality…
This is TRUTH according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online and Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 5th ed.
The UU 4th Principle is: “A free and responsible search for truth and meaning.” On the UUA website, Rev. Paige Getty, UU Congregation of Columbia, Maryland is quoted saying,
“As responsible religious seekers, we recognize that we are privileged to be free, to have resources to pursue life beyond mere survival, to continually search for truth and meaning, to exist beyond bonds of dogma and oppression, and to wrestle freely with truth and meaning as they evolve.”
It seems pretty simple to find that which is actual, fact, based in reality –TRUE. That which can’t be disputed. The sun rises in the east, gravity pulls; the apple drops to the ground when it’s let go… Or do they? Does the sun actually move? Or is it the ground rises to meet the apple? Everything can be disputed. TRUTH not so easy then, Now throw PERSONAL into the mix…
Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online defines PERSONAL as:
- Of, relating to, or affecting a particular person : PRIVATE, INDIVIDUAL /
- Done in person without the intervention of another
- proceeding from a single person
- Relating to an individual or an individual’s character, conduct, motives, or private affairs
- Being rational and self-conscious
- having the qualities of a person rather than a thing or abstraction
…INDIVIDUALITY. Each one of us has our own unique perspective and view. Now finding TRUTH has become much more difficult. Okay then, what is personal truth and how do we embrace it? I think Dr. Phil has a good definition in his article What Is Your Personal Truth?
“Our personal truth is what we really say to ourselves when our social mask is off.”
It’s that small, quiet voice from your true-self/higher self/spirit. It’s who you are. Clare Goldsberry (a freelance writer for industry and business trade publications; author of seven books, including A Stranger in Zion: A Christian’s Journey Through the Heart of Utah Mormonism; and a lifelong student of religion, theology, and religious history.) in the article Religion and the Quest for Personal Truth on the Theoshophical Society of America’s website, says,
“Finding one’s personal truth always has to do with a calling that is uniquely our own,one that comes from the inside out, not from a bishop, a rabbi, a guru, or any other person. It comes from within ourselves when we are called to travel a path in which we can best learn who we are and the purpose of our lives on this earth.”
Seeking our personal truth means learning to question all that we’ve been told, even that which we have taken on as truth and be courageous enough to face the answers we find. In the Huffpost Blog post What Is Your Truth? it says,
“The exploration of personal truth helps to form the foundation of your life. What do you stand for? What do you value? What are your boundaries? What are you aspiring to become? These questions among others enable you to define and clarify the standards by which you will measure yourself. Without truth, you will have no way of knowing whether you are growing or evolving, contributing or taking from life. Your truth will become a barometer of how well you are doing in life. If you have not yet affirmed your truth then you will create your life by default. To live by a code or standard is a form of truth in action in the world. When you establish that you will respect yourself and others, that is a form of truth. When you decide that you are worthy of more, is a form of truth. When you choose to surround yourself with people who are uplifting and inspirational, is a form of truth. The qualities of respect, worth and inspiration are the truths that you begin to embody in the world. Armed with your personal truths you move with more ease in the world. Your life will expand and prosper because of these truths. To identify, to name, to define your personal truths is perhaps the single most important thing you’ll ever do in this life.”
Finding our personal truth is a journey many times it takes us away from family ideals or the religion of our upbringing. Our individual revelations and living our own truth often requires we push against religious dogma and legalistic ideals, but it allows us to step beyond into so much more. It requires the bravery to endure rejection by some, even the possibly of being ostracized from those we’re closest to and/or our communities. You’re the only one who can decide if the search is worth it. All I can say is being true to myself & my truths is well worth any price I have to pay for the peace it brings me…
What is your personal truth? A few of us will share our thoughts. And we shared a story with then posed a few questions to our RE kids. I’m sure you’ll enjoy their responses.
Embracing MY Personal Truth
by Elizabeth Jo Otto
I’d like to share something I found in the braver/wiser section on the UU Worship Web that I could really relate to.
By Adrian L. H. Graham
He starts out with a quote.
“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.”
I spent an entire year brooding over whether and when to come out to my family. I had had a little practice with some close friends in college, and later with a few friends from high school. Looking back on the experience now I can almost laugh at myself, or at least smile: the first few times, I essentially announced (after much beating around the bush) that “Adrian is not straight.” That was the most direct I had ever been in my entire life.
Before we got to that point, one of my friends tried to clue the others in with a metaphor that began something like “Well, there are apple trees, and there are orange trees….” In hindsight, watching them try to figure out what the heck she was talking about was hilarious! But at the time, I could not find my laughter. I was consumed with fear, and all I could think was “What if they reject me?”
In the end, they did not reject me. Sure, there were a few minor bumps here and there (mostly learning experiences for my benefit), but they held me in love and continue to do so to this day. What a blessing.
Coming out to my family might have been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. We held to “traditional” religious values when it came to culture and social concerns—at least, that was what I was taught. In the end, I realized that my choice was one of life and death, and I needed to let my secret out in order to continue living, and to do so authentically.
My friends stuck with me through that entire year of brooding. It was hard, and I was scared, and they held me in love. I’m not sure I could have faced the challenge without them; we did it together. Today, I continue to be joyfully surprised by my mere existence. And I am forever grateful to them, and ever mindful of how I offer my presence to others.
God of compassion and companionship and presence, be with us always and draw near to us in times of fear and uncertainty. Teach us to hold one another gently and in abundant love. Show us the ways we can nurture authenticity, wholeness, and peace in ourselves and in one another.
I almost backed out of leading service today…
Last Saturday when I was reminded that I had volunteered to lead today, I wasn’t being ME in one of my relationships. How could I lead a service on Embracing Your Personal Truth when I was doing the complete opposite of the part my personal truth that is: “always be authentically you…”
I’d be a fraud…
Then it occurred to me, maybe this is exactly why I should lead this service.
Life isn’t all sunshine and beautiful rose blossoms. Sometime it’s devastating storms. Sometimes you get shredded by thorns…
I have a part of my truth for this!…
“Be courageous; face your “shadows”; you have the strength within.” Yes, I took a very painful tumble off my path. But I worked my recovery. I reached out for help. Even though I balked at and took my sweet ass time before I listened to and acted on what the Divine was telling me, I finally did what was necessary to get back on my path. It was one of the hardest most terrifying things I’ve ever done. I don’t know what will happen now –it’s too soon to tell. What I can tell you is that I have a new calm that is worth the price.
So, what is my personal truth? The best way I can define it at this point is an Eclectic Mystic:
Always be authentically YOU…
Be open and honest especially to yourself…
Be courageous; face your “shadows”; you have the strength within…
Be true to YOU…
Walk softly on our Earth Mother and in harmony with all creatures…
Be compassionate and offer loving support…
*Sources, Resources & Such*
Sunday, July 19, 2020
- LABYRINTH By Leslie Takahashi – https://www.uua.org/worship/words/poetry/labyrinth
- OPEN TO UNEXPECTED ANSWERS By Julianne Lepp – https://www.uua.org/worship/words/chalice-lighting/open-unexpected-answers
- POEM IN A TIME OF PERIL By Barbara Rohde – https://www.uua.org/worship/words/poetry/poem-time-peril
- Truth, Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 5th ed. ©1941
- Merrian-Webster Online
- Reflection on the Fourth Principle, – https://www.uua.org/beliefs/what-we-believe/principles/4th
- What Is Your Personal Truth? By Dr. Phil Staff, December 10 2002 – https://www.drphil.com/advice/what-is-your-personal-truth/
- What Is Your Truth? Huffpost Blog 09/21/2010, Updated November 17, 2011 – https://www.huffpost.com/entry/what-is-your-truth_b_721292
- Religion and the Quest for Personal Truth, by Clare Goldsberry – https://www.theosophical.org/publications/quest-magazine/1468-religion-and-the-quest-for-personal-truth
- Originally printed in the MAY-JUNE 2005 issue of Quest magazine.
- Understanding the Elephant – https://www.uua.org/re/tapestry/adults/practice/workshop10/60893.shtml
- Joyfully Surprised By Adrian L. H. Graham – https://www.uua.org/braverwiser/joyfully-surprised
- NOW MAY THE LOVE OF TRUTH GUIDE YOU By Jane E Mauldin – https://www.uua.org/worship/words/closing/5992.shtml
- GO BOLDLY By Jean M. Olson – https://www.uua.org/worship/words/blessing/go-boldly