Honesty. . .


Honesty ~ Billy Joel

Listening to this song and it got me thinking about this little 7 letter word, that is anything but.

Honesty. . .I’ve had this conversation with my son starting with questions like: “What is honesty?  What does it mean to be honest?  Is it o.k. to tell a little lie sometimes?”.

Good questions.  Hard questions.  Answering them in a way a 10-year-old can understand puts my understanding of honesty under the microscope and gives me a chance to share my perspective, simply and Honestly.  Sometimes being honest is easy, other times excruciating.  Especially when we perceive a risk of hurting someone with our “truth”.  Now there’s another loaded word, truth.  Truth feels a little easier; it’s relative. . .mostly.  There’s one thing I know to always be true and that’s change.  But I digress.  The conversation is honesty.

Years ago, I found it pretty easy to tell a little white lie or a big, bold faced lie to myself, others, strangers, family, friends.  My little deceits were easily passed out when I found them to be more convenient than the truth.  Because, at the end of the day, my fear of what might happen when the Truth was delivered; well, my fear mongering little ego can go pretty wild and pump up any situation with the fear of potential disaster.  “Someone might not like me!  Someone might think I’m a bad person!  Someone might think what I’ve done is horrible!”.  Or worse, “That person might leave because my Truth is just too unbearable, or ugly, or too close to home?!”.

So, honesty lost and a more convenient “truth” won.  And for a long time, I thought this was the easier way to be in relationship; keep the Truth to myself unless my Truth made me look more desirable in some way.  The desired end result and the compass for my Truth was simple: tell you what I think you want to hear so that you’ll think I’m a good person; worth keeping around.

And I don’t know when it happened exactly, when I decided that this way of being in the world, shelling out half-truths, withholding (that’s the best way to not lie, isn’t it?); it wasn’t how I wanted to be anymore.  Or maybe it started to feel bad.  Or maybe it always felt bad and I was starting to actually feel it.  And there were enough times of being on the receiving end of someone’s constructed version of the Truth that hurt enough to make me start to re-think my choices.  And so, I took another step towards my mature, Grown Up Self (whatever that means) and decided that I wanted my words to be more true.  I started to think about my own integrity.

The integrity of my word.  Maybe that’s honesty; integrity of your word.  Do you say what you mean and mean what you say?  Yeah, it’s a cliché and easy to say. . .but live it?  That’s an entirely different story.  Because sometimes what is honest and True for us in this moment looks a helluva lot different than what was honest and True, last year, last week or even this morning.  Maybe honesty is more fluid and not so set in stone.  Or maybe not.  Maybe that’s a convenient truth.

Tuesday, 7.26.16  10:50am somewhere over Texas

Author: Santa Fe Art Therapy & Counseling

I have a private practice in Santa Fe, NM where I offer online, art therapy and counseling services. My focus is working with people who have a recent or life-long history of trauma and stress. I use a blend of EMDR, talk therapy, art therapy and body-centered mindfulness practices.

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