What does honesty have to do with health?
Brad Blanton, Ph.D, psychotherapist and author of the book, "Radical Honesty: How to Transform Your Life by Telling the Truth," maintains that 'lying is the major source of all (non-environmentally induced) human stress." And stress, as it manifests in the physical body, which it always does, can be bad for your health.
I first read this book about 12 years ago. The title is compelling, to be sure. My first reaction was, "Oh, yeah. Well, I consider myself to be a pretty honest person, but sure, I'm willing to see how much better I can do.".
As I began reading through the introduction and then even only the first chapter, I came to see that I may have underestimated what Blanton meant by "radical", and what he was suggesting was leaping way out of the comfort zone, almost into the realm of, "Are you kidding me? You want me to do what???"
But like many things that are self-evident, I was then left with the undeniable realization that to not be honest in the ways he suggested would leave me with at best, a substandard, disconnected life; at worst, a slow and painful self-destruction.
So, what are we talking about?
This is not about huge lies and cover-ups like non-existent WMD's, though that can be seen as the fruit of the seeds planted in a million little ways by a culture that values appearances over truth. This is about releasing ourselves from the fabricated personalities we've taken on, first in early childhood to 'be good' and ensure the love of our caregivers, and then the posturing of adolescence as we are trying to individuate and create a self-identity.
Blanton says that maturity, the process of becoming a grown-up, is about relinquishing the attachment to that adolescent identity, and all of the dishonest and withholding tactics that go into protecting that identity at all costs. We are a society of lying, posturing adolescents. True intimacy and connection can only come from revealing the truth about who we really are... what we feel... our judgments, our ugliness, our warts and all... otherwise we are trapped in a hell of our own creation. And the immense energy required to maintain these precious illusions most definitely takes a toll on our health and well-being.
It's not easy, and it's not a one-time event. It's a life-long process requiring vigilance, mindfulness, and a willingness to have the illusion of 'self' destroyed over and over again. But the rewards are feeling alive and walking with the earth with a sense of lightness and freedom... and real connection with other human beings.
Brad Blanton is on a mission, you could say. Not just for the liberation of the individual, but of civilization.. which he believes to be based on a foundation of lies. Indeed, he sees the very act of truth-telling to be the only thing that will save us from our own extinction.
Want to learn more? Check out Brad's website.... not for the faint of heart, I'll warn you now.. :)