What happened to the art of honesty? Admittedly, when I was younger, I used to fib a little. Even now, I’ll dance around the truth to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. When it comes to anything of substance though, you better believe that I will tell you up front and all of my words will ring true.
When I describe my family dinners to my friends, they don’t understand. Just a little background: Most of you know I grew up in a military family. Also, my parents got divorced when I was four. This meant that I spent my time not only moving around from country to country and state to state, I also spent months at a time with baby-sitters or visiting my grandma in Charleston or visiting my mom wherever she was because my step-dad also served in the Air Force for eight years. I share that to say that it was tough to develop super close relationships with my families, unlike many of my friends who were born and raised in the same place and lived with their families their entire lives.
So back to my family dinners – my mom is a hoot. She’s crazy in a good way, and there’s never a dull moment with her. My step-dad has always treated me like an adult and allowed me to make my own decisions and mistakes, which is one of my favorite things about him. My younger sister is a lot more reserved than I am, but trust me, she’s crazy too. I don’t know what other families talk about at their dinners, but my family can easily go from talking about traveling, careers, current events, etc. to discussing sex, partying and many topics that most parents avoid. I think these dinners made me realize that there was no point in shying away from the truth. If I could be honest with my parents about things I’ve done or mistakes that I’ve made then there’s no reason that I should withhold that from other people in my life.
Our decisions and experiences collectively make up who we are as a person. No, I don’t go around airing my dirty laundry to everyone I meet, but if a topic comes up or I’m asked a direct question, I’ll be honest. After all of the craziness that’s happened in the past year, I’ve been, for the most part, pretty transparent about some of the unfortunate things that have happened to me. Selfishly, I like to share these experiences because writing is almost therapeutic for me, but I also like to share them publicly so others can relate to it and know that if they’ve been in the same boat, there’s going to be positive growth from it.
As I continue to age, I’m starting to realize that there’s no point in trying to hide behind a false image. To be honest, lying gives me anxiety. My friends will be the first to tell you that I’m one of the worst liars. Even if I was good at it, I still wouldn’t see the appeal. When it comes to forming relationships and friendships with people, why would you want that to start off on a lie? We’ve all seen and read about too many examples that show how one lie will lead to another and so on and so forth. What a waste!
I’ve talked about my fear of rejection before, and that very much still rings true, but I’ve gotten to the point where there’s really no time to waste. All 20-somethings are chasing their dreams, and if people aren’t honest about their intentions from the beginning, it’ll just lead to a lot of wasted time and energy. Even with the very real possibility of rejection on the table, I still fully believe in going at everything you want – jobs, people, dreams – at full speed. Yes, rejection will suck for a little bit, but you’ll get something even better from it – growth! Can you imagine if everyone in the world always got exactly what they wanted? We would all be pretty bratty, and life would be pretty boring.
It’s also important to own up to the things you say and do. I admit that I’m horrible when it comes to confrontation, but if I’m confronted with something, I’ll always tell the truth because that’s a lot easier to explain than a lie. Take responsibility for your own actions and your own words, and don’t blame anyone else or create any kind of propaganda. Forming lies about yourself is bad enough, but spreading lies about others is the worst.
My favorite friends are the ones who are honest with me and call me out. The ones that tell me I look like I just rolled out of bed or hate my outfit. The ones who tell me “told you so” when I blatantly didn’t follow their advice. The ones who tease me about my past bad choices in guys. Those are the friends that you need you in your life, but you also need to be willing to be honest with yourself and call yourself out when needed.
One thing that my friends and co-workers have said to me often is “I asked you because I knew you’d tell me the truth.” That’s a reputation that I will continue to proudly stand behind.