In reading Jack Canfield’s book “Success Principles”, there’s an entire section on telling the truth. It includes speaking up for yourself, being vulnerable about your fears, doubts, and challenges, and treating others fairly by being honest with them from the very beginning. But then there was also a section on the small, convenient, white lies that we tell on a daily basis and what that actually does to us.
There are times when we’re in the heat of a story, or recollecting facts about something for someone, and we exaggerate the truth. This may be to generate a stronger effect so the point really sinks in, it could be out of enthusiasm and excitement… But it probably was never your intention to lie and all of a sudden it slips out.
Jack Canfield shares that if we really want to feel liberated as an ultimate truth-speaker, we can’t let any lie go unaddressed. Big and small, we can’t let anything slip through the cracks or be written off as an exception. Once you let yourself lie about one small thing, and you know it, you lose a little bit of trust in yourself, and with less trust you have less confidence and ultimately you fail to be honest to others and yourself.
What I reflected on after internalizing how this relates to me, because I very much am guilty of this, is that we feel the need to embellish because we feel insecure about ourselves in the situation. We fudge the sales numbers a little bit because we are afraid of how we’ll be received if we don’t meet expectations. We exaggerate the details in stories because we’re compensating out of fear that others won’t enjoy spending time with us. It’s a defense mechanism from standing out in your truth because you’d rather hide behind a more impressive or seemingly valuable front.
So what I’m committed to doing, and I've added it to my goal sheet, is asking myself the question “Did I do my best to be completely honest today?” Did I correct myself when I embellished? Did I report things as they are, not how I think others want them to be? The first step is about bringing more awareness to your habits so you can understand the full breadth of the topic you’re hoping to improve, and that’s where I’m starting.