Tell the Truth, All the Time, with Compassion


David Wood

David Wood

I’m not sure I’m allowed to use this picture of David Wood, but I’m going to do it anyway, and I suspect David will not sue me for it. He’s not that kind of guy.

I discovered David Wood via Dean Dwyer, who interviewed him about his remarkable life – growing up in England, leaving school at 15, working as a window washer, then travelling the world for over 10 years before settling in Canada and becoming a multi-millionaire.

David is a “trainer’s trainer” – he discovered that his passion lay in helping people lead the lives they want, and that is a quest I am quite serious about these days (heck, I’m fifty years old and STILL not sure what I want to be when I grow up, although I’m getting a better idea thanks to people like Dean and David). I’ve been listening to his podcast The Kickass Life for a few months now, and enjoying it very much. So why am I blogging about it now?

I got a little behind with the podcasts, what with the holidays and all, and was listening to Podcast number 053,  released on October 30th, while doing my Shabbat cooking yesterday. I was stunned to hear him read out and praise a review that I’d left on iTunes a little while back. It’s about 4 minutes in. In particular, I’d forgotten that I’d mentioned one line of his, which had caught Dean Dwyer’s attention and also mine. Here it is:

Tell the truth, all the time, with compassion.

Now, I don’t think of  myself as a liar, but you know those casual little white lies we all indulge in – saying we were caught in traffic when we really left the house too late, for example. It really is a trivial thing, but I think it shows a deeper mindfulness to find a way to apologise for being late without lying or being hurtful.

It’s also a matter of courage, of taking responsibility for your decisions. If I decide to keep one of my kids home from school because I think they need the day off, I don’t say they are sick. I don’t hide receipts from my husband and I don’t sneak things into my kids’ food.

Sometimes life is harder when you decide to tell the truth all the time, but so far I haven’t regretted it. My late grandmother was the kind to rub your face in her version of the truth whether you wanted it or not, and that’s not what I’m doing. I might choose not to volunteer information if I can’t think of a compassionate way of sharing it. But I think it is a great maxim to live by.

What do you think?

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9 Responses to “Tell the Truth, All the Time, with Compassion”

  1. Holly Jahangiri Says:

    I think life is EASIER when we’re honest all the time. I’m not saying that I don’t tell those “little white lies” too – I do. Especially if someone says, “What do you think of this dress?” and we’re standing at a party and it’s too late to change clothes. But honesty doesn’t require mental contortions or a memory for every lie. Honesty is just easier, though sometimes cringeworthy. 😉

  2. Holly Jahangiri Says:

    May I be painfully honest with you, Hadass? CAPTCHA codes sometimes cause me not to leave a comment, particularly if they make me feel stupid or require me to try again because I couldn’t read them correctly the first time.

  3. Hadass Eviatar Says:

    I didn’t know there was one on this blog … I loathe and detest them! Is there really one? Do let me know and I will see what I can do to delete it forthwith … thanks!

  4. Hadass Eviatar Says:

    It’s gone! I wish you had told me before, Holly! No wonder I get so few comments here … thanks for the heads up!!

  5. Counterentropy Says:

    I will never tell my mother some of the things my sister has said, even if my mother asks me (and she has) why my sister is behaving the way she is. It would serve no purpose at all and only cause my mother intense emotional pain. I deflect. It may be an untruth to say “I don’t really know,” but it is much much kinder.

  6. Hadass Eviatar Says:

    That’s where the compassion part comes in. It doesn’t say “Tell the whole, unvarnished, painful truth” all the time. You can deflect. Maybe you could say “I’d rather not speculate” instead of “I don’t know”? That is painful for sure … hugs!

  7. Lynne Thompson Says:

    I think this is a much-needed discussion! I even think some folks are not even sure what the “truth” is in their lives. I struggle with this a lot…because I hate to upset anyone. But living a truly authentic life should really be the goal!
    Great line, Hadass

  8. Sonya Braun Says:

    This is a great post! I think convictions and compassion go very well together. So hard to get them together though!

  9. Hadass Eviatar Says:

    Thanks, Sonya! David really is a great guy – I highly recommend his podcasts.

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