Truth and me? We had a rocky start. When I was a kid, I lied often. I mean I’d lie even if the truth were to literally shell out cash to me. I don’t think I’m alone in the lying as a kid thing. I’m reading Real Love by Greg Baer, recommended by a great friend who has been looking at the truth too. Baer talks about why we might start lying as kids, for example, how “good” behavior and “right” responding gets us good stuff vs. tantrums and errors getting us time out. Lie for the good stuff, cover up (lie about) the mistakes. I was pretty good at lying, if all the hell my brother caught for my misdeeds is any indication. For the record, though, I also told some incredible, unbelievable doozies – like I played guitar with Eric Clapton. As. If. I told that one before I ever learned to play guitar (lie squared – grrrrrrrrr).
The truth is: lying is exhausting. By the time I turned 30 I stopped. Now in the year I’ll turn 50, I’m taking a closer look at the relationship I have with not lying and telling the truth. For me these two are different. Today, if you asked, I’d say that I don’t lie. Except that I don’t always tell the whole story. Friend: “how are you?” Me: “good, and you?” I say good whether I truthfully am good or not.
Sometimes I’m afraid to say what I really mean or really feel. I have this belief that there are some people who “can’t handle the truth.” I also believe we live in a culture that supports the little white lies – it’s normal, everyone does it, it’s accepted AND expected. But I’ve realized that the way I tend to tell the truth is as exhausting as lying, since I can be a people pleaser, crowd follower, do the right thing-er.
My fun new disclaimer is “in the spirit of transparency.”
So, in the spirit of transparency, it scares me to say out loud “if you don’t like what I say, that’s not my problem” or [even scarier and the real truth] “if you don’t like what I say, it’s your problem.” This scares me because I don’t want to piss anyone off, I don’t want to hurt feelings, I don’t want to lose clients, subscribers or friends or become any more estranged from family members than I already am.
Except there’s this – the truth is if you don’t like anything about me, what I write, what I say, how I frame it, whatever – that IS your problem. My fear of your reaction doesn’t change that truth. I’m just being me on the planet – and if that is bugging you in some way, well that’s your problem, not mine. However, I somehow want to make it mine, or at the very least tell only enough truth so you don’t unsubscribe, fire me, get mad at me, etc. See what I mean? EXHAUSTING!
But wait – there’s more… it’s not just that I want to tell the truth – the truth is that I want to be seen. I am FINALLY ready to be seen. As a kid, I wanted to be seen so badly that I’d make stuff up that I thought made me seem more interesting or cool or tough or whatever. Now I just want to be seen as who I really am. And even though I haven’t “lied” for 20 years, I don’t let many people see who I am. In fact, there is just one person, who knows IT ALL – all the deep dark scary truths. One is a start – that one can (and does) give me faith and courage to risk telling others the deep dark scary truths. And the more I’m seen, the more I’m willing to tell the deep dark scary truths about me, well, this really cool thing happens –– FREEDOM.
Once there are a few who really know me – every secret, every single dark niche inside my brain, heart, and body – really SEE me– that’s where freedom rings. Freedom to be who I am without shame, without fear, without apology. And that’s what I want – knees knocking, heart pounding, stomach lurching – freedom.
Look out 2013 – I’m about to tell my truth and let you see all of me (well maybe just a little more of me – baby steps ;)). Let Freedom Ring!
I wanna see you, too, hear your deep, dark, scary stuff. Please share about your relationship with truth in the comments below.
great love and big truth-filled hugs,