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Honesty is the Best Policy

Man, I lie way more than I thought I did. I made a decision a long time ago to always speak my truth, so I recently started keeping track of all the ways that I don’t.

It’s only noon, and here is a list of what I’ve already lied about:

-I was telling someone about a power outage that we had, and I made it sound like it lasted longer than it did.

-I also alluded to having to throw out a bunch of food because of the power being off, but really it was just a package of fish and a carton of eggs.

-A guy at the grocery store asked me how I was doing and I said “Great!” even though it’s been a rough one. My allergies are horrible and I didn’t sleep at all last night because of my stuffy nose, but he doesn’t need to know that.

-A friend asked me to lunch and I told him I was busy, even though I’m not really. I just don’t have the energy to be supportive today because I’m so tired.

I guess none of these things are really lies. They are more like little white lies or exaggerations, or honesty through omission.

I’ve always felt like these kind of lies are justifiable and a vital part of keeping society from crumbling. If we were honest all of the time, there would be a lot of hurt feelings. Relationships would end. Jobs would be lost. Someone would kill me because of my smart mouth.

No one wants to hear about how crappy I feel. My friends don’t want to know that sometimes their complaining about the same issues over and over drains the life from me and makes me want to take a nap. Also, adding a little flare to a story makes it more entertaining.

In the spiritual community, we love to tell people to speak their truth. Do we really mean, “Speak your truth, except for when it might hurt feelings, bore people, or decrease the humor factor of an anecdote?”

Maybe it’s time for us to stop catering to the ego and start being more transparent with one another.

When I lied about how I was feeling to the grocery clerk, I might have passed up an opportunity. Maybe he knew about a great home remedy for the sniffles, and it would have made him feel good to help someone else. Maybe the remedy would have worked and I would have felt better.

If I told my friend that I didn’t want to go to lunch because I didn’t have the energy to listen to his broken record, maybe he would realize how stuck in his story he is and how draining it is for other people to be used as sounding boards. I could also have told him that I didn’t want to go to lunch because I wasn’t in the mood to. That answer would have been honest as well as tactful.

Being honest about the big things AND the little things requires courage, because the truth holds us accountable for our thoughts ad our actions. There are very few, if any justifiable reasons for being dishonest in any way. Sometimes it’s better to just not say anything than to tell a little white lie to protect someone’s feelings or cater to their insecurities.

From today forward, I will speak my truth in all things great and small, while remaining tactful. I will focus on the positive, so that my response to things will be honest and encouraging. I will recognize that I don’t have to express every feeling or thought that I have, especially when someone is trying to get my goat. I can simply smile at them and go on my way without saying a thing.

Barbara Buck is a Foundational Reconnective Healing Practitioner, writer, and teacher. For more information about her, please visit her website at Check her out on the Happy Empaths Twitter feed @the_empath.

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