I very recently received a message from someone I loved and respected a great deal that, within its 4 short sentences, was able to completely extinguish any shred of emotion I felt for them except shame, anger and disgust. This person was reaching out to me requesting I do something that goes against everything I believe in, and that was to lie for them to cover up 14 months of poor choices, deception and outright bad character. I told them to kick rocks in not so uncertain 4-letter terms, even though doing so would also expose my own involvement in the activities. Because as flawed of a human as I am, and I have more than my fair share of bad qualities, being a liar and not holding myself accountable are not two of those flaws.
I am happy to say I live my life without any regrets. That is not to say I always make the right decision or do things I am proud of, but I do make a definitive decision that makes sense to me and I stand by it, regardless of the outcome. This is because I have learned to take the time before making a choice, especially ones that might impact someone other than myself, and really consider if I am going to be able to accept the consequences of those actions. I analyze the cost/benefits on my life and whether I will be willing to accept those results. I also play out all the possible scenarios for how this will end and a strategy for a worst and best case situation. If at any point I would not be able to hold myself accountable for these actions, I do not do it.
From an early age, the concept of “if you lay with dogs, you catch fleas,” was hammered into me, and every time I was with someone doing wrong, even if technically I wasn’t responsible, I got in just as much trouble if not more. That lesson taught me that if I’m going to do something, by god, I better be willing to reap the repercussions whether they’re bad or good. I was also taught that a liar was just about the worst kind of person you can be. Growing up poor, a lot of times the only thing you have is your word, and if that’s not worth anything, then neither are you. Lies and deception sadly have the potential to get you pretty far in this world, but I learned it will always come back to haunt you. Being honest up front will get you further in the end, because there are no surprises and you never have to make excuses for your actions. And even if the truth is hurtful, it is “better to be slapped with the truth than kissed with a lie,” as the proverb says.
Being raised the way I was made me an absolutely terrible liar. Physically it makes me ill and I end up either telling on myself because I’m so uncomfortable or my actions are a dead giveaway. I’m even a terrible gift giver because I’m so bad at keeping a secret and end up spoiling the surprise. This has however made me a trustworthy daughter and friend, thus strengthening my bonds with loved ones and I wouldn’t change it for the world. This honest upbringing has also left no room in my life for people who do not share the same qualities.
In every relationship, both friendly and romantic, all I’ve ever asked from someone is to simply be honest with me, and it seems to be the most challenging thing to uphold. It is certainly painful to hurt someone’s feelings. Something as small as cancelling plans can make a person feel uncomfortable, so they make up a white lie to cover up the truth, like maybe they just don’t want to go because they’re tired or something more interesting to them came up. But what is far more uncomfortable is finding out someone lied to you to avoid being with you. I would rather just hear you didn’t want to do our initial plans, because now I’m insecure that it’s something personal about me instead. In my marriage, it would have been incredibly painful to hear that my ex-husband had met someone else he had much stronger feelings for than myself. But had he told me that openly and honestly from the day he left, I wouldn’t have spent 6 weeks of my life feeling terrible about myself and wondering what I did to make him leave, which was far more excruciating. As soon as I found out about the affair, I no longer blamed myself and my grief lessened.
In the case of the afore mentioned message, this person knows better than to ask me to do such a thing because they are acutely aware of my staunch stance on liars. We have both been equally involved in a no-win situation that affects a multitude of people, and unlike myself, this person continues making choices that they are not willing to accept accountability for. Instead, they keep digging themselves into a deeper and deeper hole and taking the cowards way out by lying to everyone around them instead of owning up to their true feelings and behavior and being an adult. This will certainly come back on them because A) the truth always comes out and B) I’m not anyone’s whipping boy. Love is what makes this world go ‘round folks, and without trust there can be no love, which makes it a more important quality to me.
I honestly hope each and every reader has a beautiful day and that a blessed week lies ahead of you!