If you had ever asked me if I considered myself an honest person, I would unequivocally answer yes. From when I was a small child, the value of honesty and integrity was deeply instilled in me, and so I felt that honesty was a big piece of who I am and what I value.
The truth is, I am an honest person, but to a degree. No, I don’t lie to cheat and manipulate but I found myself avoiding the full truth when it came to people pleasing and not wanting to rock my life’s boat.
I noticed a pattern within myself, especially when it came to saying “no” to people or an invitation, that I would rack my brain to try to come up with an acceptable excuse as to why I was saying no. When I was younger I would always blame things on my parents, they were the perpetual scapegoats. As an adult, I’ve become incredibly crafty with elaborate excuses and stories. But in reality, I was being a liar.
It was recently, when I was asked to attend an event, that I had no interest or desire in attending that I really saw my subconscious liar come into play. I didn’t want to go to the event, I was completely clear about that, but I didn’t want to hurt the person’s feelings who had invited me, and I didn’t want this person to not like me anymore for saying no.
My brain went into overdrive of what I could say to make it all okay; what story I could tell that would let this person down easy. I spent a lot of time trying to come up with an acceptable story: my usual go-tos are “I’m traveling!” or “I’m working!” and yes, sometimes I still use my mom as an out. I thought about all the details, and how I would have to make sure my excuse checked out, and that I wouldn’t get caught. The whole thing was, exhausting.
I had a moment of clarity when I wondered to myself, what would happen if I just said no, but thank you, and conveyed that I would love to be invited again in the future, but that this invitation simply didn’t work out for me. What would that feel like?
I made the call and did just that. I was kind, but I didn’t give any room for this person to convince me why I shouldn’t say no. Strong and firm. And it was completely okay. The person understood, and they appreciated my honesty. I felt amazing and relieved, and I wondered how much of my life and time had I wasted coming up with lies and excuses, rather than just being brave enough to tell the truth?
Once I started to give myself the permission to say no, and to be confident, and to tell the truth without excuse or reason, my life felt lighter and more free. The truth is, telling the truth saves everyone’s time.
When I told the truth, and wasn’t wishy washy with my response in this particular situation, I let this person off the hook. They weren’t waiting for me for an answer, and they were left clear with where I stood. And they appreciated that! I didn’t have to agonize about what to say and how to say it, I didn’t have to get any stories straight, and my conscious felt clear because I didn’t have that worry of getting caught in the lie.
Now, with that awareness in mind, I can see clearly when I start to fall back into the lying, people pleasing patterns, and consciously decide to act differently. Telling the truth is the most empowering life practice you can choose to partake in. You’ll feel more aligned, energized, and the people around you will actually value you more for being so straight forward.
It’s true what they say, the truth does set you free, and how amazing it is to be the ones to gift ourselves this freedom.
Michelle is Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life's Creative Director and resident writer. She has a degree in Journalism from Indiana University and is also a certified holistic health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and registered yoga teacher with trainings with Anuttara Yoga Shala and Strala Yoga. Michelle has a deep desire to help people find happiness in all areas of their lives, and truly believes the Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life movement will bring lasting change to the world. Michelle splits her time between Florida and New York City and loves connecting with people from all over the world. If you'd like to contact her, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org