Monday, May 7, 2012


In a world full of half-truths, deceit, and lies, I find myself pulled toward honesty.  I would much rather feel the sting from hearing the truth, than feel the burn of knowing something has been kept from me, or even worse, fabricated into a lie.  I take, very seriously, the value of the truth in my friendships and relationships, even in circumstances when I know the truth will hurt.  Mostly because, I also know, the truth will set you free.
Sometimes, however, honesty is a difficult thing to live up to.  Fear of hurting someone you love, can make us justify holding onto information.  Waiting for just the right moment, or the right words to present themselves, can lead to second guessing whether or not being honest is the right choice.  "What they don't know won't hurt them," and "Ignorance is bliss" become mantras that build invisible walls around our own hearts, and create barriers in our relationships.  This, of course, is my own opinion.  But it's also my experience that not sharing the truth with the people I love most, holding onto it until I "think they're ready to hear it," only makes the actual confession more painful for all parties involved.
Perhaps I believe so vehemently in full disclosure because I have been caught off guard one too many times.  Perhaps it is because early on in my life the people around me didn't think I could "handle it," when there was big news or something serious going on.  Maybe it is because for so long I held too many secrets of my own, that once out of the bag, damaged relationships I held so dear, and changed them forever.  Whatever the reason is, it has all led me to the same place: I want to live in the reality of truth.  In my own life, with my friends and family, and in relationships, because avoiding being completely honest will only hold me back.
I'm not saying it's easy.  I have struggled recently with how to divulge information to people I care deeply about.  My justification was in "seeing exactly where things stood" and "finding a non-aggressive approach," but in reality, I was scared that what I needed to share with them, the truth, was going to hurt them and drive them away.  When I finally got up the courage to say what I needed to say, it wasn't the truth that hurt them, as much as knowing I had held onto it for so long.  Thankfully, the relationships I have built with my friends, rest on the foundation of full disclosure and honesty, and they were able to articulate how my hesitation in being completely honest affected them.
One of my favorite quotes is by Spencer Johnson, author of "Who Moved My Cheese?"  He states so simply what I have been working on so diligently in the past few years.  "Integrity is telling myself the truth.  And honesty is telling the truth to other people."  There have been moments where I have tried to convince myself of something other than the whole truth.  When I have shaped it into something that is easier for me to swallow, and made myself believe it will be easier for those around me to handle.  The truth is, it has never worked.  Either I have had to live with my own guilt of manipulating the truth, or the pain of hurting someone with those lies.  In the end, there is no integrity in that.

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