What really happens when you tell the truth
I've been wondering, "Where would we be without lying? I’m serious. So many stories are based on lies. It's the fear of someone getting found out that keeps us on the edge of our seats in a movie. Lying creates dramatic tension. Think about the last movie or book you read. Was anyone in the story keeping a secret or not being honest?
I’m watching Younger on Prime TV. (Don't judge me - the episodes are short, light and funny.) In the show, Liza Miller, a 40-year old suburban housewife, needs to get a job after her divorce. No one will hire her because she has been out of the workforce for 15 years. Out of desperation, she decides to lie about her age. It helps that she looks young. With the help of a makeover, she is successful. People believe she is 26. She gets a job and a 26-year-old boyfriend. The tension in the story is whether or not anyone will find out she is lying. If the truth comes out, will her new life fall apart? (Fun fact: the actress who plays Liza Miller is actually 46.)
Last week I decided to be honest about my hesitation to get the Covid-19 vaccine. I wasn't sure what the response would be. Was I too honest? Would my newsletter end? Would I get hate mail?
I did hear from more people than I normally hear from in an average week. However, I was surprised by the response. Many of your feel the same way I do. Many of us sit on the fence, waiting for good answers to some of our questions and concerns.
I only had one person unsubscribe - although that could have been about anything. (As a side note - I don’t check who unsubscribes from my newsletter. I’ve unsubscribed from many newsletters, and rarely does it have anything to do with the content or the person behind it. It has more to do with how overwhelmed I am feeling with my inbox.)
I did have one person engage in a very thoughtful conversation. She chose to get curious and not defensive. I wasn’t surprised since I know her well. We talked, and I shared my questions with her. She gave me her rationale for getting the vaccine when it is available for her. She created space for me to make my decision but gave me some more data to consider. My choice didn’t threaten her, nor was she aligned with it.
One of the biggest obstacles we have when it comes to being truthful is our fear of what other people will think. Like Liza Miller in Younger, we believe that everyone around us will reject us. We think the worse thing will happen. We catastrophize, losing our job, friends, family, community, financial security, homes, and anything else we can lose. If we are honest about who we are and what we want, we will lose some of the most important people in our lives.
Here’s what I’ve experienced. When I’ve been honest (like in my newsletter last week), it often opens up a discussion. There have been a few people who have shut me out when I’ve changed and stopped showing up as "the Sandy they wanted me to be." I was sad about the loss of friendships, but looking back, I know that the only option was a friendship based on a lie or hiding my true self. It’s never been as bad as I thought it would be.
The more honest I am, the more I've learned to accept other people with different values and beliefs. I’ve become more accepting of other people. I’m learning how to have difficult conversations in a way that respects and honours the other.
Each time I’m honest, I become stronger despite the fear I feel about potential conflict and rejection. I’m no longer stuck trying to please other people on the treadmill of ‘do you like me now?’
As you read this email, is there a situation in your life where you feel like you can’t be honest? Is it having an emotional toll on you? Is it holding you back? Are you worried about not being able to hide behind Covid-19 lockdowns in the future?
I want you to know that what really happens when you get honest is that you'll start to live your life and become more aligned with what you really want. It's essential if you want to move away from people-pleasing and embrace your true self.