...but can you lie to yourself?
If you've spoken to me recently, you may have noticed that one of the things I've been saying is that I am practicing being more honest. What that looks like for me is not beating around the bush when answering questions or during discussion, but rather being direct and to the point of what it is I want to say. This has been a challenge, to say the least, because I have a tendency to ramble. Like right now. I'm rambling right now.
In all honesty (insert laugh track), being truthful with your words is somewhat of a dying art, is it not? Time has changed the way we interact with each other, and, in my opinion it has made the fabric of our relationships thinner and weaker. What does that mean? Well, I think we are so interested in being nice to each other, not offending one another, and doing our best not to be hurtful that we have succumbed to the act of watering down our words, all in an effort to be "kind". I take issue to this not only because there is no kindness in lying, but also because there is no lasting consequence or result.
Picture a time when you thought it best to tell a lie in order to get yourself out of a sticky situation. It shouldn't be hard—we do it all the time. Heck, I did it just today at work. We tell ourselves that these lies are OK because they're not hurting anybody. In fact, they're doing the exact opposite! If someone asks you how they look in a new set of clothes, tell them they look great, even if you don't really think so! Hey, if it boosts their self-esteem, what's the hurt? Right?
Sure, why not?
But what happens when we start to feel less and less guilty about passing out compliments simply because we want people to feel better about themselves? A noble effort indeed, but I would venture to say that any image based on a bed of lies (maybe a little harsh here) is no image at all. And what happens when you are dealing with someone else? What happens when you are dealing with yourself?
You can lie to other people about who you are. Go ahead and do it. Most people will not be curious enough to follow you around to make sure you are who you say you are. In fact, most people will probably just take what you say at face value. After all, you know you the best. What authority do they have to tell you you are not? But deep inside you, you will know that whatever image you concocted is not you. I mean, it's you, but not... you, you know?
Like I mentioned, we have moved into a time where it is more in your interest to make sure everyone feels good than to make sure everyone feels right. For example, you can look me straight in the eye and tell me that I'm a great writer. You could tell me about everything you like about everything I write, and I would take it. But, if you said those things to me and believed that I actually am not that great at writing, this is not something I would ever find out. In my mind, you would think I was great and therefore have no improvements to make. Or, you could help me improve and change what isn't so great after all.
I used the example of a person's image for the sake of convenience and, hopefully, having a more relatable example; but obviously there are a multitude of situations where honesty should and needs to be extrapolated. To go back to talking about the direction our world is heading, just stop it. I get that sometimes you want to make people feel good about themselves. I feel that way sometimes, too (I'm not 100% evil incarnate, guys). But I think we have to start thinking about the long-term. This diluting of words and criticisms does more damage than any good that could possibly come from it. Worst of all, it's made people expect it.
The bottom line is, honesty and truth do not have to be hurtful. I think we sometimes take honesty to mean bluntness or being direct, but it doesn't have to be. In fact, sometimes it really shouldn't be. But they are necessary. Much more than I think we give them credit for being.
So let's challenge each other to be more honest. Not just in the things we say, but in the things we do, as well. Honesty breeds honesty. I think when we can be completely honest with ourselves, we can learn to be honest with others. And then the world will be a less frilly world full of rainbows and unicorns, but a more truthful world. I honestly don't even like rainbows or unicorns that much anyway.
If you're new to Word Vomit Wednesdays, each week, Taylor and I will give each other and our friends topics to blog about, hours before midnight on Wednesday. The point being, exercise your brain and be vulnerable! No editing, no proofreading, just your thoughts and post. Let me know if you would like to join us!