If you want to be trusted, be honest.

Today’s thought: Tell a lie once and all your truths become questionable.

Since yesterday I have been thinking more about what I mean when I say I intend to live more honestly. It’s certainly not about just blurting out whatever pops into my head. No way will I be tramping up to random strangers and telling them that they should have looked harder in the mirror before deciding to wear those lemon coloured jeans; I will not be adding acidic opinions to everyone’s posts on social media – that’s cruelty, not honesty and I don’t want to be cruel.

I think, for me, living more honestly is about noticing WHY I want to say what is in my head before I allow it to have an audible voice. Usually, when I am being dishonest, it’s because I’m afraid – afraid of how the other person will react if I tell them the truth. I’m afraid they won’t like me; I’m afraid they will yell at me; I’m afraid they will tell me home truths and, most of all, I’m afraid they will disapprove of me and look upon me with disappointment or disgust.

At work, I have to provide colleagues with feedback. This is a wonderful thing to do when you have wonderful, positive things to say. It’s so much harder when you have to tell them they need to improve something. Inside, I can feel the knot of terror tighten in my chest and as soon as this sensation announces itself, I look for an escape route. I normally do this by telling them a tiny part of what they really need to hear because I am so afraid of what will happen if I tell them everything. I know that even though they have left my room happier than if I told them the whole truth, they are no wiser and more importantly, they cannot correct the aspects of their work that need correcting. In reality, I have protected myself instead of protecting them. That is not fair on them.

The first step in my quest to live more honestly will be to recognise where my feelings are coming from when I interact with others. If I feel fear, I need to understand why and where that fear first manifested itself so that I can deal with it. This will mean I can respond honestly rather than in a manner that simply protects myself. I need to develop courage! Where is Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz when you need them?!

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