Ya’ll ready for this?…
“Let’s Be Honest…”
Last week I went to a house party where they were playing one of the “getting to know you” games.
There’s a deck of cards, each with a question that helps to kindle a conversation…
“What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?”
“Where would you get a tattoo if you had to get one and what would be?”
Probably on my neck… it says, ‘No Ragrets’.
“What are three words you use to describe yourself?”
This was an interesteing one because it made everybody in the room squirm a little bit.
After all, human beings are complex. To try and sum yourself up in three words seems extremely constrictive.
However, any time a question like this comes up… ‘Honest’ is one of the words I find myself choosing.
I’ll level with you… my record is not totally umblemished…
In high school, I once looked at a neighbor’s scantron during a ‘pop quiz’. (I rationalized that if the teacher was going to go all ‘Lord of the Flies’ on us by issuing an unanounced test, then we were clearly operating in a world of chaos where anything goes.)
But as long as I can remember, I’ve prided myself on being honest.
I think it’s one of the qualities I’ve heard friends and family use to describe me, so I’ve wanted to stay congruent with that attribute and those expectations.
(And, credit my parents for teaching me that you can get in trouble for doing something bad… but you’ll get in double the trouble if you get caught lying about it.)
However, following last week’s innocent “getting to know you” game, I found myself questioning my definition of ‘honest’.
In the past, I’ve always thought of honesty in terms of your relationships with other people.
Do what you say you’re going to do.
Be where you say you’re going to be.
Tell the truth even when it’s uncomfortable to do so.
Your word is your bond and creates your reputation.
Warren Buffett [paraphrased] said, “If you mess with my money I’ll be upset. If you mess with my reputation I’ll be ruthless.”
[But what happens when I mess with his soda habit??…]
But in the past month, the word ‘honesty’ has taken on brand new meaning for me.
Because I’ve been increasingly honest with myself.
You know what I’m talking about…
You tell yourself you’re going to eat healthy starting on Monday… but your resolve breaks the moment your co-worker mentions Taco Tuesday.
You tell yourself you’re going to clean up the basement this weekend… but come Saturday, it’s been a long week, and you just wanna ‘veg out’ and have a glass of wine.
It seems harmless enough… after all, there’s always next week… you’ll be more productive “someday”…
But over time these little ‘white lies’ accumulate.
You miss workouts… you miss deadlines… you miss goals…
Sure, you may have good intentions…
But time and time again, you let yourself down.
And the sum total of these inconsistencies systematically erodes your reputation with yourself.
What’s ironic is that you would never be this inconsistent with other people.
If you were… you’d earn a reputation as ‘flaky’, ‘undependable’, and ‘untrustworthy’.
That last one is especially noteworthy.
Because if you can’t trust yourself… you’ve got some major issues.
Imagine a friend who always stands you up when you’ve made plans in advance.
Wouldn’t you lose confidence in that friend?
What then, do you suppose happens to your own SELF-confidence… when you break more promises to yourself than you keep?
If you follow me on Facebook, you may have noticed that I’ve been doing a lot more writing lately.
This is in part because of a 90-Day writing workshop that I’ve enrolled in with a group of about 30 others.
It’s an exclusive group. And it wasn’t cheap to get in.
And our primary homework assignment is to post an IOD (“Impact of the Day” post) every day.
Some people have been completing their assignments. Others haven’t.
This fascinated me.
Because when I heard the rules on Day 1 of 90, I knew it was going to stretch me… I knew it would be difficult… but it never even occurred to me that I could not do the homework.
Come to find out there are a number of people in the group who are only posting once or twice a week… if that.
How is it you can commit to a program, invest your hard earned cash, have daily deadlines for accountability, have peers that will see if you’re failing… and still not do what you’re supposed to do?
Perhaps I shouldn’t be that surprised.
After all, I can recall doing the same thing with real estate courses I took back in the day.
I’d consume the information… but not take action.
And come to think of it… my confidence wasn’t all that great during that time period either.
One of the lagging members in our writing group complained privately that he was suffering from severe depression that was holding him back.
I tried to reach out to him with some words of encouragement… but he had a counter argument for every note of motivation.
While I have nothing but empathy for those who suffer from depression… what I can also see is that their inability to be honest with themselves, to keep promises to themselves, to make deadlines they’ve set for themselves… is precisely what’s keeping them depressed.
No self-trust… no self-respect… no self-love… no self-confidence… no self-esteem…
How could you be anything but depressed, frustrated, and angry?
When you’re in a state like that, the last thing you want to do is act.
But, rest assured, action is the only thing that will help you escape that downward spiral.
Jordan Peterson’s 2nd Rule for Life is: “Treat yourself like you would someone you are responsible for helping.”
I think this is invaluable advice because most people would do anything in their power to help a loved one (be it their kid, their friend, their family member, or their cat).
But they consciously (or subconsciously) categorize themselves as something different… as someone less worthy… as less important… as less lovable… as less deserving… as less…
But it’s a lie!… A grand deception from the Grand Deceiver himself.
You are worthy!
But… you won’t believe it until you take Jordan Peterson’s advice to treat yourself like someone you love whom your responsible for helping.
You won’t believe it until you start keeping promises you make to yourself.
You wont’ believe it until you take the action that you most certainly don’t “feel” like taking.
I used to think I was honest because other people could trust me.
Now I’m honest because I can also trust myself.
And wouldn’t you know it… I’ve never felt more confident. 😉
CJ’s Book of the Week:
“Learning to Breathe Fire” by J.C. Herz
This Week’s Podcast:
Episode 006: “Destroying Your Fear of Cancer…”
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