Honesty is always the best policy.
Even a little bit of a twist, and it’s no longer honesty.
Everyone should be perfectly honest. We all make excuses and justifications for not being totally honest all the time. I do it. You do it. Everyone does it.
“Yes, doctor, I’m eating properly and exercising a few times a week.” No you’re not. You ate a banana on Monday (no time for Starbucks) and had to walk twenty spaces at Target rather than the five you wanted to walk because the parking lot was full.
“Yes, dentist, I’m flossing.” No you’re not. Do you even know where the floss is? When they did it at your last check-up doesn’t count.
“Yes, honey, you look amazing in that dress.” Maybe in high school or college. Right now you should just resign yourself to khakis and a sweater set and call it even.
We ALL do it.
We don’t mean to. We don’t want to. We don’t like it when people do it to us.
So what happens when you’re told to be dishonest? Who’s to blame? You’re innocent. You’re only doing what you were told to do, right?
You are responsible for your actions. Whether they are right or wrong…that’s on you.
Wrong is wrong. Dishonest is dishonest.
It doesn’t matter if it’s your spouse, your children, your best friend, someone who’s got a broken heart, or a bit of a shattered image, or your business.
My dad was a wonderful man. He taught me many things that I’ve carried with me throughout my life. He taught me to face hard times and walk through them, not around them. The first time I had a broken heart and I didn’t want to go to church because I knew he would be there, my dad forced me to get up and go to church. I thought I was going to die. I did. That is not an exaggeration. He looked right at me and said, “You’re never going to be strong and learn to stand up on your own two feet if you don’t face this. Walk in. Stand tall. Stop whining. You will survive this.” And you know what? I did it. I survived that day, and every Sunday after that until it stopped hurting so much. That made me stronger. It prepared me for the next time I broke up with someone and I had to go to church and see them. That was a pain far worse than the first. And I made it.
My dad taught me many good things.
(Watch out. This is where I burst the bubble that you probably live in wherein my dad was nominated for sainthood)
He taught me a few bad things as well. Like the time someone called him at home, and he didn’t want to talk to them. He stepped outside the front door and told me to tell them he wasn’t in the house. Well, no, he wasn’t in the house, but he was home.
That was a lie.
Like it or not. It was a lie.
I learned to be “technical” as he called it. “Technically” he was not in the house, so I wasn’t lying, right?
Don’t get me wrong…he was a wonderful. hands-on, always there for me, dedicated father. But he was human. He had faults. Technicalities were among them.
Because of this “gray area”, I can justify a lot of things. I can get away with things because technically I’m not lying. But I’m still lying.
The greatest damage we do by lying is to ourselves. We hurt those around us, but we damage ourselves by diminishing others’ ability to believe us. Without trust, how can you have any true relationships? How can you have a meaningful conversation, a marriage, or run a business? How can you prove that you are an honest person if you cannot be believed in every thing?
I found myself caught up in a “technicality” recently, and I have since asked forgiveness and restored the relationship.
All is well.
But I’m not happy with myself. I was told that this thing would be ok, and when it wasn’t, and it didn’t work out like it should have, I was disappointed. Not only in the fact that it didn’t work out, but in the way I tried to make it happen. While I didn’t technically do anything wrong, I still did something that was wrong by not being strong enough to stand up and say NO. By letting someone talk me into something, I was wrong.
I have admitted to my kids that I’m very good with technicalities. Since they were both very young, there have been times when I would help them to see the three sides of every issue, and let them decide which way they would go. Thankfully, they are bright, honest young people, and they choose right far more often than they choose wrong. And far more often than they choose to use technicalities.
This makes me happy. I’m proud to say this.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes find a bag of garbage waiting right outside the back door, and the excuse of “Technically it’s outside, like I said it was. I was just waiting until the next time I really go out to take it to the garbage can.”
They are right, but still…when they said it was “taken out”, they know I’m assuming it’s in the garbage can.
This has been on my mind a lot. Thankfully this situation in my life has been dealt with and is over. I have learned a lot from it.
And now, so have you.