Those little lies which just trip off the tongue are seemingly innocuous:
- No problem, I’ll do it.
- I’m not tired.
- It will only take a minute.
- I didn’t get your message.
- I weigh 120lbs (really 135 pounds)
Or are they? Your lies are a barometer of your empowerment. Many lies are rooted in people pleasing, lacking the personal empowerment to risk saying no. You want to be well-liked at the cost of authentic self-expression.
Lying to other people suggests that you are probably lying to yourself. You are building an artificial you – step by step: “No one knows I am lying.” Most likely, they do know because you give yourself away with body language, a blink of an eye and downward glance, or embellishing the details of your lie. Moreover, you might start lying to yourself about your abilities, either downplaying or exaggerating them. Do you tell yourself this lie: Without you nothing works, that you must do it all and so, can never delegate?
Consider lying by omission: “I’m fine,” or “You shouldn’t have.” Do you expect others to read your mind? When you volunteer for another task or politely refuse a gift (secretly hoping to be begged to accept it), you might be simmering with resentment because no one read your mind! They should have been sensitive to your needs to discern that you needed a break or that you really wanted that gift which next time they didn’t give you because they took you at your word.
However, by telling the truth you not only take back your power, but embrace your freedom. Freedom leads to adventures, spontaneity, joy and creativity. You can find your true purpose when you are liberated. You can simply say thank you without any qualification.
How honest can you really be? Try writing your personal story in third person, referring to yourself and your family by their first and last names like objective characters. Then read what you wrote out loud to yourself. If you have always viewed yourself as a victim in your life story, this is the time to fill in some of the positive aspects of the past. Everyone tends to remember the bad times, the mistakes, or the painful moments of childhood; can you remember a good moment or a validated success? And when you recall a good time, a kind word, an inspiring mentor, or an achievement, expand the details. Edit out the clever words you hide behind to leave the bare truth. You can bring calm to your life.
Here is a reliable truth test:
Can you admit your mistakes? Not only will you cultivate self-esteem, but you will feel greater compassion for others. You will be able to experiment and explore - unafraid of being initially awkward or making mistakes when you are first learning. There just might be a heroic myth in your messy, cluttered life story. Go on tell the truth.
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life
, Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout
and Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul,
a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com