How exactly does one cultivate truthfulness in a world where around every corner we are asked to prove our worthiness in the form of looks, education, skill, and accomplishments? In Erica Spiegelman’s new(ish) book Rewired she suggested honesty is the best policy, not only for living a happy life, but a life free from needing outside input to decide self worth. This path may allow one to live a full and complete life, without reliance on addiction. We can forget about the ‘good’ in us or the ‘bad’ in us, and focus on accepting ourselves and others for the warts and beauty marks which make us unique and magnificent.
Let’s spend a minute discussing addiction. Just it’s mention may make some go on the defensive, mentally stating, ‘I’m not an addict!’, but addiction can range from substance abuse to over consumption in the form of shopping, overeating, and screen time. Being honest and unashamed of what addiction looks like in your own life only brings us, as a human race, closer. There is no, ‘You have a problem!’. Instead it becomes, ‘We have a problem’. The problems may present themselves differently in each individuals life, but beginning with that simple, true statement, can begin a healing process that includes more than just you, but us all.
In the second chapter of her book Erica Spiegelman states, ‘..dishonesty always starts casually’ and may not be something we are aware of doing. When first reading and reflecting on the notion of honesty and how that looks in my own life, I brushed over my day, asking myself, ‘How many lies do I tell in a day?’. Those who know me will tell you, I am a pretty open book. If I am asked how the day is going I’ll tell you, whether good, bad, or ugly. I found nothing at first glance. Then, after reading a few pointed questions, I realized my findings were amiss. I was resisting looking deeply into my own life. Resisting bringing awareness to my faults. One of my favorite quotes came to mind:
“Truth is like poetry. And most people fucking hate poetry.”
‘Am I a poetry hater?!’, I asked myself. No way! So, I dove deeper.
To understand truthfulness, one has to first look into the role of untruthfulness in daily life, which is exactly what I did.
- Let’s do a quick reflection: Bring to mind a lie you recently told (small or big- it doesn’t matter for this exercise). Was the lie meant to control or manipulate another person? Keep that person at arms length? Were you lying to avoid pain or other difficult emotions? Maybe to cover up an event you feel ashamed of? Or possibly lying to yourself, minimizing a situation or event?
Above are the various types of lies, such as, omission, manipulation, control, avoidance of pain or consequences, emotions and feelings of unworthiness or shame. These are not the only types of lies, but a springboard off of which to dive into the many layers of the psyche.
Take the challenge!
Dare to go a full 24 hours without muttering a single lie, which includes being truthful in your actions or words, feelings and emotions. Reflect on how it felt in the body, mind, spirit. Were you able to better connect with people? Were others uncomfortable with your honesty? Were you comfortable or uncomfortable?
Just uncovering the ways in which one is being untruthful is a huge step in the process of living a full, happy, connected life. Not only does lying lead to a lack of intimacy and unnecessary drama, it also creates pain in our bodies and mind. How good do you want to feel?
“It does not require many words to speak the truth” -Chief Joseph (Nez Perce)