I have a life coaching client who suffered a stroke several years ago.Â After her stroke she couldn’t walk, couldn’t talk well and didn’t look normal.Â She told me that people would just stare at her, obviously questioning in their mind what had happened to her.Â Yet, no one would ask about her physical challenges.Â She wished that they would ask the questions rather than just stare.Â She was willing to share her story with them, and it would have allowed for a personal connection rather than an awkward moment.
We often pretend we don’t notice things that make us uncomfortable.Â We have learned not to say what we mean or mean what we say.Â In fact, our communication with others is often so vague or convoluted that people don’t really understand our point of view.Â When we represent ourselves we tend to adjust the truth, misrepresenting our possessions, our achievements, and our relationships.
The ironic aspect of this is that in the last analysis, the only person we are really deceiving is ourselves.Â If you pay close attention when someone is telling you something, you can tell whether it is coming from the energy of truth or the energy of dishonesty.Â Body language, eye movements and tone of voice will give people away.Â So does time.Â Â Remember that when you stretch truth, it can snap back with a sting.
We often tell so many small lies that we can’t even remember who we’ve told what, how we’ve presented ourselves to certain peopleâ€¦and inevitably, we get found out in the end.Â In fact, I have met several people in recent years who have told very large fibs in an attempt to make themselves look good.Â Months later, they didn’t even remember what they had told me because it wasn’t really true.Â Liars get found out eventually.
Why don’t we simply tell the truth?Â Perhaps we are afraid of what people will think of who we are.Â Could it be that we don’t like who we are, believe we don’t know enough, or think we should be farther along on our journey than we actually are?Â When we aren’t comfortable with our own present state we begin to paint a picture to the world of what we think they want to hear.Â We are afraid that people won’t like us if they know us as we truly are.Â We don’t want to be judged, mocked or rebuked.Â Rather than facing these reactions, we say something we don’t really mean to smooth the situation or we swallow our true feelings and say nothing at all.
I learned this pattern growing up.Â Rather than talking openly about challenging situations, we had to be quiet so that we didn’t upset my dad.Â He was having difficulty and when someone expressed another view, he would become enraged. I became terribly afraid of these reactions so I learned instead, to suffer silently when I was around him.Â I would share with my close friends how I felt, but I couldn’t let him know.
Perhaps we avoid the truth because we are trained by others who are trapped in dishonesty, fearful to know their own truth.Â The patterns of communication we learn as children stick with us whether we are aware of it or not.Â Significant adults in our lives didn’t want to hear the truth from us.Â Further, we heard them telling half-truths on a regular basis so we decided its ok for us to do the same.Â We come into the world telling the truth but learn dishonesty along the way.Â Dishonesty becomes our habit.
Until we begin to notice our own level of honesty by watching what we say and the way we say it, we remain unaware of the possibility to grow as authentic communicators, capable of wholesome interaction with those in our lives.Â As my clients and I look more deeply at communication patterns, we notice how often conversations remain shallow when there is such deep thought and feeling going on underneath.Â Â With close observation, we become more honest with ourselves about what we think, what we want and how we feel.
Honesty starts with telling ourselves the truth and becoming comfortable with who, what and where we are.Â Isn’t it said that the truth will set you free?Â It truly does.Â People sense honesty.Â They give us trust when they know we are honest.Â You allow yourself new choices when you give yourself the gift of personal honesty.
I’d like us all to take some time this week to observe closely our level of honesty.Â Take time to notice the following:
1.Notice how often you â€œadjustâ€ the truth.Â Do you tell white lies or half truths?Â Do you leave out important details when the other person needs to know the whole story?Â Do you stretch the truth to make yourself or situations you are experiencing seem bigger and better (or smaller and less significant) than they actually are?
2. Notice how you feel when someone is dishonest with you.Â Are you hurt, angry or disappointed?Â Â Would you rather have been told the truth?Â What happened in these relationships because of dishonesty?
3.Observe how you feel when someone is honest.Â Do you begin judging them when they tell the truth about themselves and their life?Â Do you react in anger when someone expresses how they really feel about you or a situation involving you?Â Or, are you grateful when people speak with an open heart?
4.Pause often to give thought to the way being more honest with yourself and others might change your relationships and your life.Â Would you appreciate honesty from others?Â How would it feel to you to be more honest yourself?Â Would it be freeing to just be you all the time?
If you are stuck in a habit of dishonesty, it may be difficult to face some situations in which you have created misimpressions. An â€œunwindingâ€ may occur as you begin to speak honestly with those you have shared mistruths in the past.Â Thinking of that transition may cause fear.Â Don’t worry about that.
All you must do this week is begin to look at your habits as they relate to honesty.
Don’t judge what you observe.Â Just look honestly.Â Honesty begins within.Â You will be surprised to find the gentle, gracious ways God will support you as you open and ask for help to embrace your authentic self.
Food For Thought
â€œHonesty is the first chapter
in the book of wisdom.â€
-Â Thomas Jefferson
Patricia G. Omoqui 2010,
All Rights Reserved
Patricia Omoqui, The Thought Dr. â„¢, is an internationally recognized inspirational speaker, life coach and writer.Â Patricia’s mission in life is to inspire people to move beyond fear so they can reach their full potential.
To share your thoughts about this article, please email Patricia at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her at her website:Â www.patriciaomoqui.com .