THE WAY FORWARD
If you were expecting this to be a rant it is not. This is a critical time in our island’s history and there is no room for words which inflame or exacerbate the issues. I think that the way forward must have honesty and truth at it’s core.In short: WE MUST STOP LYING.
Lying may not seem to have much to do with the madness, but it does. We lie so much and so often that we cannot recognize the truth when we see it. If we accept that what happens in the macro world (big world) happens also in the micro world (our homes), then there is no doubt about the fact that we have to begin by looking in the mirror. We lie about important and unimportant things. We learned to lie at home and we teach lying in our homes. We do not lie because we are bad. We lie because we are trying to avoid discomfort or pain. We lie because it’s convenient. We lie to save face. We lie because we don’t realize the damage that lying causes.The lie makes us dishonest and the dishonesty makes us defensive.
While we may be denying that we are dishonest, our three and four year olds have no problem explaining to their teachers how and when we lied. It is very clear to them. Hey we all know we shouldn’t. The problem with lying is that once we do it, we then have to justify having done it. We have to find a reason to make doing it right. Often this involves making someone else wrong. Are we seeing any parallels between the lies we tell, how we have to justify them, and the madness out there in the streets? They too are lying, and, like us, they have to justify their behavior in order to continue doing what they are doing. i.e. If he had not done thus and so, I would not have had to teach him a lesson. He brought it on himself. Granted the situations in the streets are exaggerated, but the principal holds true.Integrity, and trust cannot thrive in this climate.
Telling me when you need to tell her is a lie. Saying yes when you want to say no is a lie. Blaming is a lie. Failing to spend time with people you live with, while calling yourselves a family, is a lie. Buying what we can’t afford is a lie. Thinking that supplying every member of the household with a cell phone means that you are staying in touch, is a lie. Saying that we cannot afford to support our children is a lie.
“Well Sharon this sounds like a rant to me!”
Well it isn’t. It’s just calling a spade a spade.
I have now stated what I see as the problem. If we are not careful we can get sidetracked into an academic debate about lying, and I really don’t want to go there because that would be a distraction.Expecting our children and significant others to be truthful when we lie is unrealistic. It is for this reason that we must begin telling the truth.
WHERE AND HOW TO START
I am a recovering liar.As such, I do far less these days. I acknowledge that sometimes I lie and am not conscious of doing so until later. I forgive myself for those times, I give myself a pat on the back every-time I consciously step up and tell my truth. I’m finding it freeing. In fact I find I enjoy the feeling so much I am beginning to look forward to opportunities to tell the truth. I can tell you I feel lighter and healthier.
Okay some examples:
When the phone rings,you pretend you are not at home because you don’t want to speak to the person asking you to serve on a committee. You just don’t want to.
Try this: Thank you for thinking enough of me to offer me a place on this committee. At this time however this is not something that I want to do. I appreciate your asking me. Thank you.
Take a deep breath. Done! She will not be calling you back anytime soon. You don’t have to duck any more when you see her coming.
II You have been avoiding the teacher who has been trying to get you in for a parent teacher conference about Dean.
Try this: Hi Ms Smith, I’ve been avoiding this meeting like the plague. I find it so difficult listening to people talk badly about Dean. What will this meeting be like?
Take a deep breath. You have been honest. You have given her a heads up as to your anxiety. You still have the meeting to go to but you are no longer ducking her or yourself. You have stepped up. Pat yourself on the back. If she is perceptive, you have also given her an important clue which may go a long way in terms of her approach to you at the parent conference.
III Your daughter calls. She wants you to babysit on Thursday because she herd you say your meeting was cancelled. You were looking forward to doing nothing Thursday. Now you feel guilty as though you must now say yes to her request.
Try this: Sorry Hon. Thursday just opened up for me. I intend to sleep late and treat myself to a long walk and some quiet time. I really need to give this
Done! Take a deep breath. Now you don’t have to babysit AND feel resentful because you wanted to say no, and didn’t know how. You have no resentment about being taken for granted. All she made was a request. All you need to do is look her in the eye and, honor her with an honest reply. If she sulks it does not matter. It will take a while before folks realize they are dealing with a new and improved you. Oh with practice you’re going to become so good at this!
IV Your friend calls and asks if you can come around. He doesn’t sound right. You feel you should go now. You agreed to sort the children out tonight: bed, storytime, the whole deal. You’ve already reneged once this week but your friend sounds urgent.
Hon you won’t like this but it can’t be helped. Anthony’s just called and I don’t like the way he sounds. I’m going round to see what’s up. I’ll be back as soon as I can.
Done! Skip the lie. Don’t exaggerate either. Look your wife in the eye. Honor her with an honest explanation.
We are in this together. It’s just time to clean some stuff up, and we all have stuff. There’s a lot in it for us. We can look forward to improvement in our health. We will feel better. Our family will improve and our children will bounce into school and declare to all who will listen that “we don’t lie anymore in my house.”
30 Day CHALLENGE
Would you like to take the 30 challenge? Remember that this is not meant to be a weapon. You may not use it to point out how I look fatter today. If that’s your truth keep it to yourself. The idea is not to kick yourself for all the times you don’t tell the truth. The idea is to recognize how different it feels when we do. In the beginning it doesn’t feel good, it feels tiring and strange, but hang in there it gets easier.
If we cannot fix what is in front of us we cannot fix what is out there.