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I’ve talked a lot about honesty in my content over the last few years; it’s been such a gamechanger for me. It means no games, no deception, no worrying about whether the other person will find out I lied, no having to second-guess whether they actually want to be with me, or if they’re just here because they think I’m some “perfect” person.
But – I’m not perfect. Sometimes I do catch myself hiding the truth, or being “creative” with the truth, or omitting something in my answer. Usually I tell people afterwards – “Hey, I didn’t tell you the full story; here’s the actual truth.” Most people take that very well; they appreciate me opening up and admitting I didn’t tell the truth. It’s ok if you’re not honest the very first chance you get; you have infinite retries. Just open up, admit you didn’t tell the truth – hey, now you’re being honest.
As with everything I talk about, the mission is progress, not perfection.
Out of curiousity, I’ve done a lot of inquiry into why I lie – the first answer is, “Well, because I’m a human, and I’m imperfect. Like everybody else, I’m just trying to do my best.”
But when I dug a little deeper, I found that every single time I caught myself lying, it was because I was trying to get something from the other person.
Maybe I was trying to GET them to like me.
Maybe I was trying to GET their approval, their validation, a nice pat on the head and a “You’re great, Andy!”
Sometimes I was trying to GET them to stay in my life.
Sometimes I was trying to GET them to not reject me, to not say no to me.
Sometimes I was trying to GET them to give me what I wanted.
Sometimes I was trying to GET confirmation that I was a “good” person; other times I was trying to GET them not to say I was “bad”.
Sometimes I was trying to GET them to think I’m eloquent, or well-spoken, or diplomatic, or charismatic, or confident.
But every single time I’ve caught myself lying, it has always, without fail, been for one of these (or other) reasons; it’s always been me trying to get something from them.
And so the freedom came from me each time saying something Byron Katie taught me – I’d ask myself a simple question:
“What if I didn’t need anything from this person? What if I didn’t even need them to like me, or to talk to me, or to stay in my life, or even to think I’m a decent human being?”
I’d take a deep breath, close my eyes, and actually imagine that reality – what it’d be like to need NOTHING from them. I’d imagine what it’d be like to not even care if they hated me, or went and told everyone I was a piece of shit. I’d meditate on how it’d feel to get nothing from them, and still be absolutely ok and perfectly happy.
Sometimes I’d do this in the moment, while talking to them (I’d obviously skip the closing-my-eyes-part). Sometimes I’d do this afterwards, when I had a chance to really think and take my time. And every time I did – every time I asked myself “What if I didn’t need anything from this person?“, a deep sense of peace would wash over me. That peace – that non-neediness or abundance-mentality – would allow me to just say the truth, without caring how it sounded, without caring what their reaction would be, without caring if they’d like me or think I was a “good person”.
I just got to tell the truth, and be ok with whatever the outcome was. Outcome-independence.
And if they didn’t like my truth – hey, that’s ok. Not everybody in the world is going to like me. And the game (the stressful game) of trying to GET people to like me… well, that game just hurts. Without that game – without trying to GET everyone to approve of me – I can actually relax and be more connected to my fellow-human beings. No longer is there a chasm between us – a chasm filled with “Please like me! Please approve me of me! Please think I’m good!” Instead there’s just closeness, honesty, being on the same team as each other, and connectedness, love, mutual respect, joy.
The good stuff.
You can try this yourself if you want to, the next time you catch yourself in a lie. “What if I didn’t need anything from this person? What if I needed nothing at all.”
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