“But it’s only a little white lie” … or is it? I grew up hearing that white lies were okay… everyone did it, right? And, if you crossed your fingers behind your back when you were lying it cancelled out the lie. What in the world would make me believe that was okay to do? We tend to tell ourselves stories and can justify pretty much anything if we try hard enough. The quote above is incredibly accurate… did you read it? We need to be honest with ourselves first and foremost. If we are lying to ourselves, how can we tell anyone else the truth?
So… why do we lie? Maybe we don’t want to hurt or disappoint someone so we avoid telling the truth. For example – a friend asks you out for dinner… and you say you are busy that night (even though you are free) – instead of being honest and saying – I don’t really like spending time with you? Or you call in sick to work when you are fine… is that lying? I am not saying I have the answers here; each situation presents different challenges to our integrity. For those that know me well, I like to stir things up a bit to make us step back, look at things differently and become aware of our patterns. Can we step back and contemplate what truth is for us?
In the movie Something’s Gotta Give with Jack Nicholson, he says this to Diane Keaton after she spots him with another woman and accuses him of betraying her: “I have always told you some version of the truth.” Wow… that line has really stuck with me since I heard it. Maybe we think that if there is some truth contained in a statement that makes it acceptable. In my opinion, omission is still a lie. I recall being in a relationship with someone who I found out was lying and when I approached him with this question about omitting some of the truth, he said, “Well, you didn’t ask me with those exact words.” So, what that meant to me was: if I didn’t ask exactly with the correct terminology then I wasn’t entitled to the truth. Hmmmmm. I love the Yiddish proverb which states: “A half truth is a whole lie.”
There is an energy to everything; every thought, every emotion, words unsaid. We can usually tell when something feels off; there is a tangible energy associated. We get the sense that we are not being told the whole truth. We all have intuition; it is important to trust it. We know the truth when we witness it.
When to tell the truth:
- Haircuts, weight, jeans, a new dress… well, it’s all in the way you share the truth. Be gentle is my motto. Bluntness works for some and we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, right? Be truthful, not hurtful. I always want someone to tell me when I have broccoli in my teeth, even if it temporarily embarrasses me. I don’t want them to shout it across the table, but perhaps catch my eye and make a covert hand motion to indicate what is going on.
- Sometimes we may share the truth about something after a few cocktails, and perhaps we share too much. Although it may have seemed a good idea at the time, it can be dangerous and damaging to a relationship. Be careful with this one.
- The friend that unloads on you when you have lunch. Their life is one crisis after another. They need someone to listen, not give advice on every single aspect. If they ask for advice, give them input in one area. Listening is highly underrated; be a good friend and open your heart and your ears without judgement. We’ve all been there.
- With yourself. Life is complex and full of challenges, and we don’t like to look at the darker parts of ourselves that might have an agenda for most things. If I I baked brownies and then told my neighbour that I just happened to have extras, when what I really wanted was for him to mow my lawn while I was away the following week. Would that be the truth? Be honest! We can be so stuck in patterns of dishonesty that we don’t see it anymore.
We have all heard the words: we reap what we sow. Every single word, thought and deed is recorded in our pallet of life experiences. In the book How Yoga Works, Geshe Michael Roach writes about how the seeds we sow may ripen when we least expect it. We just might want to watch what seeds we are planting with our words, thoughts and actions. We want the garden of our lives to flourish with things that nurture and nourish us.
Let us strive to be honest, impeccable with our thoughts, words, and actions with ourselves first and foremost. By being truthful and impeccable we create love and beauty in our lives. If I love myself and tell you the truth I will create a like reaction. If I insult and judge you, it will come back to me. We have often learned the opposite of being impeccable. To simply hold the intention of being honest is a fabulous place to begin.
One of my all time favorite quotes that has been on each vision board over the years is by Oprah: “Everything you do and say shows the world who you really are. Let it be the truth.”
As always I am here to support you in this life journey of ours and love your feedback.