Truth Bliss

Is it always better to know the truth, even when it hurts? Or is ignorance bliss? Or are they both true some of the time?

guess if I have to choose one, it would be the last statement. Depending on the situation either could be true. I’ve often heard people say, don’t ask a question if you really don’t want to know the truth. I guess that would be a situation where ignorance is bliss. Where you want to know but you really don’t. One of those situations where you know that once you learned the truth, things would never be the same.

The situation that immediately comes to mind would be infidelity. I mean, would you really, really want to know the whole truth? When all that’s going to happen is you’re gonna be hurt and your life as you know it will never be the same again. Unless you’re prepared for your whole life to change, do you really want the whole truth?

Or another situation was brought up this morning. I saw an old friend over the weekend that I hadn’t seen in a couple of years. She went to the doctor because she had been having some health problems and eventually after several tests, her doctor informed her that she had a mass on her pancreas and bottom line was she was probably looking at 2 to 8 months to live. She said he basically told her “You need to get your affairs in order.” WTH??? Would you want to know?

Hubby and I debated this for a while. He was like “I don’t think I would want to know” and I was all like “Well, I think I’d like to know I needed to prepare and get things in order but I don’t necessarily want to know a time limit I don’t think.” I think you might defeat yourself if you are given a time limit. Maybe you’d give up? Maybe you wouldn’t want to try to overcome the inevitable? Maybe you’d feel too sorry for yourself and have a defeatist attitude. Or would you be like Randy Pausch and decide to do the most you can for your family with the time you have left.

On the reverse side, hubby also said he wouldn’t want anyone else to know if he had something “bad wrong” with him as he put it. I would want to know (if it were someone I loved) because I’d want to be able to make the most of the time we had left. I’d want to be able to spend as much time as possible with that person. Yes, maybe we should feel like that about the ones we love anyway but it’s not always feasible. I would be willing to put the rest of my life on hold for a while in order to spend more time with someone I love if I knew my time with them was limited. And I also think the people who love you have a right to know what is going on with you.

On another note, not quite so serious… if I was wearing something that made me look hideous, I’d want someone to tell me, but in a loving manner. I don’t want someone just blurting out “You look like Sh**!” (which coincidentally I did have someone tell me once, which reduced me to tears!) I would want them to tell me lovingly so I didn’t have a meltdown. Or if I were acting like a total *B* or diva, I’d want them to tell me. Call me out on my crap if I’m getting too big for my britches, just remember I do have feelings.

 I once had another woman say some very ugly and hurtful things to me about my weight and when I looked at her incredulously she responded with “What? You know how fat you are!” I told her yes, I did in fact know I was fat, but, that didn’t mean that I wanted to be reminded of it by someone else or that I didn’t have feelings. Then I went home and cried like a baby and I was in my mid thirties. So, yes, just because someone knows something about themselves, doesn’t mean you don’t have to be tactful when reminding them of said fact.  So in that case, truth can be tempered with tact.

Even though it seems like I’m contracting myself I’m really not. I always say I don’t want to be lied to and that I can’t stand to be lied to. I guess I really can if it’s to spare my feelings. But not if it’s something that’s really important. I know, I know… I just contradicted myself again.

I had a friend actually get mad at me and accuse me of not being a friend because I told her I had NOT told her the 100% truth because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. She said I wasn’t really a friend if I wasn’t 100% brutally honest and I tried to explain to her that I thought tempering the truth WAS being a friend. She told me I obviously didn’t know how to be a friend. I really don’t know if she still feels that way because she hasn’t spoken to me since. I think friends can have differing opinions and still be friends. You just don’t have to tell each other something you know is going to hurt them. If it was something that was important and would matter in the future, then yes, I would have told her but it wasn’t something that was going to affect the situation in the least and the only thing it would have accomplished was her being hurt on top of being mad. In that case it probably wouldn’t have mattered because either way, I would have lost her friendship.

Bottom line, I guess I’m still sticking with the third option, that whether or not you are 100 % honest would depend on the situation. In some cases ignorance is bliss and in other instances truth is gold. You just have to go with your heart and hope for the best.


About pegbur7

South of the Mason/Dixon Line
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14 Responses to Truth Bliss

  1. Peg, it’s funny. I have to agree with you. I choose #3 too. When Alex and I met he was in the Navy and went on 6 month cruises. I never worried that he would fool around even though the ships pulled into ports all over the world and the sailors all went to brothels. I knew Alex was not going to leave me for a Bangkok prostitute. I would not have wanted to hear about it, but when he was going into the Indian Ocean to sit on an aircraft carrier for 4 solid months, if he did take a little comfort before he got there, I really couldn’t worry about it.

    People can tell someone, “I love your hair long, but this short is cute.” and not say something unkind.

    If I’m sick, hell yes I want to know. I do want to make sure my will is in order and that people know what my wishes are.

    All men should know the answer to that “Does this make me look fat?” question. Nothing ever makes us look fat. That’s my only absolute.

  2. terrepruitt says:

    Definitely both true some of the time.

    I believe that you shouldn’t ask if you are not prepared to hear the answer . . . whatever it may be. If you are asking to get a particular answer then you might be disappointed.

    I would want to know about the cheating.

    I would want to know that I was going to die if there was a disease. I would want to know my time line. I would tell family and close friends, but not everyone or people I would meet after.

    If I were wearing something that was ripped or torn I would probably want to know, but if someone just doesn’t like what I’m wearing they can keep that to themselves because I probably don’t care what they think. (I have frequently been on “wanted” posters posted by the fashion police because I am NOT a fashionista!)

    I honestly believe that no one but your doctor, your spouse, or your parent should be commenting about weight and it should ONLY come from a place of concern for health. I remember you sharing about that woman before and I just cannot understand that.

    I think the friend thing is tricky. I am on the side of believing that if the REASON you are telling someone something is to help then it is mostly ok, but if you are saying something that is potentially hurtful for a reason of just saying it or seeing how that person reacts, then it is not nice. This, of course, is a generalization because there are so many circumstances and so many different ways to handle things.

    Thanks my two cents.

  3. SuziCate says:

    I agree that it all depends on the situation. But like Terre stated one should not ask if they are not prepared to hear the truth…truth can hurt. Friends are honest but know how to be tactful. I think it is ugly for people to say mean things just to hurt others or get a reaction…those people are self absorbed drama queens. I know there have been times, I’d rather have not known things, and there are times I would rather have known the truth…all depends on situation.

  4. auntbethany says:

    I wrote a post that I was reminded of when I read your article. It was entitled “Two Hours,” and it dealt with how you would spend your time if you were given two hours to live…AND, if you could only pick one person to spend those two hours with.

    Would you want to know how much time you had left? Would it help you decide who to see and what to say? And, would it help prioritize what’s REALLY important in life?!

    Great post…I’m sorry to hear about your friend with cancer. I’ll be keeping her in my thoughts.

    • pegbur7 says:

      Thanks Bethany. She’s gone for some alternative treatment and they have now upped her expectation by a little bit but she still isn’t looking too good. Your thoughts and prayers are appreciated.

  5. Ron says:

    I have to agree with you, Peg…100% honesty depends on the situation.

    As far as something like being told I was terminally ill, without a doubt, I would want to know and go through it with family and friends. Because in that situation, even though it’s my life, I have to remember that others will be affected by it, and should know.

    And as far as being honest with a close friend about their appearance (like something they’re wearing), I think you can be honest in a tactful way, without hurting their feelings.

    I usually won’t give my opinion until someone comes out and asks me. But, if they do, I’ll be honest. And I wouldn’t ask someone else’s opinion unless I wanted to hear their honest opinion.

    Faaaaaaaabulous post, Peg! Great topic!

    Have an AWESOME day!


  6. Jimmy says:

    I agree that true friends can have different opinions and still be friends, I also agree that telling someone the truth depends on the situation, for the most part I want to know the truth 100% no matter how harsh it may be, just be tactful when telling me 🙂 especially when it comes to my health and things that affect my life.

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