All too often, the times it matters most is when we are most inclined to lie.
I don’t mean the question requiring a straight answer from our Partner, Parents, Close Friend, Teacher, Colleague, Manager or Leader. I don’t mean the Census or the Tax Office. Fundamentally, we answer these honestly.
I am also not talking about the stories we may tell our Children at Christmas and Easter. These perhaps fall more into the Fairy Tale category.
Too many of us are dishonest with the one person we should be most honest with, the one with whom personal integrity should be a not negotiable fundamental.
The person we lie to and do so to our own detriment is none other than ourselves.
I was recently engaged in a conversation with someone entering intense negotiations about their future employment. These were to be career defining, even career ending at least in the area they have worked for the last 20 or so years.
They were preparing three possible outcomes to have ready for the first round of negotiations, one of which included returning full time to the role they were on leave from.
(Stated) option two was Part Time work in the same field while the third involved a negotiated separation.
I suggested they need to be really clear about what their order of preference was in case they were asked outright, what their preferred outcome is.
I asked, what it is?
Their answer was to return full time to their previous role. I was stunned by this and followed up asking:
Is that really your number one outcome and received a reply, “well of course it is; it’s what anyone would want”.
I put it to them such an answer was based on what they perceived was expected of them from Business Colleagues, mates at the Cricket Club, acquaintances and family.
I asked again, what do you really want and received the answer that returning from leave part time is really what is wanted and if that cannot happen, a negotiated separation.
Their initial answer was based on a perception of what others would expect and not about what they wanted and in this case, need. It was a massive “self lie” as it was actually their least preferred outcome.
Why do we lie to ourselves?
There are pressures or perceived pressures from our environment, people in our circles. We are influenced by what we fear others will think or say about us.
We fear expressing what we truly want because we fear having to explain why we want to do this or that.
We all have responsibilities that restrict us, but we can still be honest about our dreams and desires and be honest about why these may be on hold.
Perhaps therefore, the most challenging outcome for many of us is; if you are not doing what it is you want to do, make sure you understand why you are doing what it is you are doing, why you are doing it where you are and why you are doing it with the people you are doing it with.
If you can address this with honesty and clarity, you will have taken a big step towards self-honesty in all other aspects of your world. You will also be on your way to doing what it is you honestly want to do.