Monday, December 13, 2010

honesty: the most difficult and easiest choice

Two Sided Truth by Weather Girl Shop

Honesty is one of the critical elements in the foundation of my confidence, peacefulness and self-love....but it hasn't always been that way. I've struggled to be honest for most of my life, up until about 3 years ago. It's not like I was a pathological liar, but I often found myself caught in dishonest situations. I never felt good about any of my lies; in fact, I beat myself up about them daily, but I couldn't seem to stop lying. I felt trapped in being the way I was. It's amazing how powerless we can feel over something that we actually have complete control of! It happens every day.

There are many reasons I feared telling the truth, most of them stemming from the fact that I was raised in an alcoholic home with two parents who have always had an incredibly difficult time telling the truth (even today). More specifically though, one reason is connected to how easily manipulated I was (until now), which is how I often found myself in the middle of a lie that I never intended to happen. I felt weak and only seemed to trust those who were untrustworthy while feeling uncomfortable around those who were worthy of that honor.

Another reason I was not truthful was my low self-esteem. The truth about who I was or what I wanted never felt good enough. As a little girl I would tell other kids stories about how I had magical powers (which I half-believed, to be honest) and that the old Colonial house I lived in was full of secret passageways and bookshelves that were hidden doors. I remember one time at sleep away camp when I was 6 years old; I told the other girls in my bunk that I could wave my finger and make anything I saw in a picture materialize in front of me. So they all drew pictures of toys and candy (things we weren't allowed to have in camp) and when my "magic powers" failed, one of the girls was so angry at me that she got her older sister to come beat me up.

For the most part, I never harmed anyone with my fake magic skills, but things got more complicated with age and my lies became more significant as I became an adult. As I began my life away from home in college, I began to realize that I felt shaky in my identity, something not uncommon for an adult child of an alcoholic. Not knowing who I was meant I didn't know what I wanted most of the time, and I certainly didn't trust myself. I brought all of those issues into all of my relationships so I would often end up with friends that I didn't really like and boyfriends I wasn't attracted to. But, I didn't feel strong enough to tell the truth about my feelings to anyone so I would find a way (subconsciously) to sabotage my relationships rather than having the courage to end them. In the area of love, that meant being unfaithful while knowing that I wasn't actually comfortable with being unfaithful, so I'd then be forced to end my relationship. And in the area of friendship, it meant a lot of burned bridges.

At the age of 27 I found myself with a complete life that I didn't want. It was a lovely life, but it didn't fit. I was in a relationship that I had never wanted to be in, and somehow found myself living with this man to whom I was eventually unfaithful. I was working a job that sucked the life out of me every day, though it paid really well and looked so good from the outside. And I felt consumed by pent up emotions and desires that I never released. Suddenly I realized that I was living someone else's life and I set out on a long, thorough and often harrowing journey to self-discovery. Little by little I began to figure out what I wanted, who I wanted to be surrounded by and how to invite all of that into my life. The hardest part was learning to trust myself and to speak the truth at all times to ensure that I was honoring myself always.

Be True by Sunshine Barlowe Lewis

The greatest lessons I have learned about honesty, and where I have made the greatest strides, has been in my relationship with my husband. When we first started to write to each other as pen pals 2+ years ago, Alex told me that he was setting out to be the most honest he'd ever been...with me. He told me about all of the darkest places in his soul and in his life, and all the (many!) beautiful pieces as well. I did the same.....and we've never stopped. It has always been incredibly easy to be honest with Alex though; I've never struggled to do so, which is why our love feels so pure and real. But, I did continue to struggle being honest about my emotions and desires with others for awhile, until I finally really felt what Alex had always said: it's easier to be honest, in fact it's the easiest thing to do. It might not feel that way at times, but life really does become simple and in line with what you want when you are brave enough to say it straight.

Don't Look Back by Inspire Someone

It's miraculous how resilient and malleable we are as humans. There is nothing we can't endure and I feel like I am proof of that to myself every day. It's impossible for me to imagine living any other way than I am now, and those days of fearing the truth seem so unfathomable and distant. The importance of honesty is that you can't live the life of your dreams without it. I learned that the hard way, but now everything I am, everything I do, everything I have just fits and feels so real. Shakespeare was right on when he said "This above all: to thine own self be true."

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