Have I always been completely honest?
I, like everyone I’ve ever known, bends the truth a bit when it suits our fancy. Whether it be taxes or self-promotion, about our monies or our families, about protecting our dignity — it’s an unnecessary self-imposed survival tactic to save face.
I’ve lied when I’ve seen a not-so-pretty baby, “Oh, she’s so beautiful,” or “My word, you look fabulous,” to an old friend who gained 150 pounds.
I’ve been told that white lies are OK to soothe a tender soul. I’ve lied to be simpatico so that a friend doesn’t feel so alone and I’ve lied to spare someone heartache. I’ve lied to ex-boyfriends, telemarketers and bill collectors as well. But I can justify those and still feel I’m an honest person when it counts.
We all have a history of self-imposed lies and truths. Our family trees branching out spreading the teachings of our own making, hopefully passing on the ability to our children to recognize their own truths and come to terms with them.
As they say, “the truth shall set you free.” And I have to say, they are right. It is freeing to be honest about who you are.
Don’t be ashamed to be fallible, or concerned with what anyone else has to say about how you’ve handled something. We’re our own worst critics and are apt to beat ourselves up way more than any observer ever could.
Be kind to yourself and cut yourself some slack as we all only do the best we can do. Admit to your truth and don’t browbeat yourself. Believe me when I say, you’ve paid a hefty price already; suppressing your truths and choking on the secrecy. Besides, to reveal your truths it’s not only freeing but it quells the gossip as well.
Allow yourself to be a better person, a happier person, less stressed and secretive, learn to like yourself in spite of your “failures.” Like milk, it does a body good.
More downstate honesty next week.
Valentina Heishman is a Cazenovia resident, artist and contributing columnist for the Cazenovia Republican. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.