A Blog about Career Changes, Madness, and My Awful Brain

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Lies. And a quest to be honest.

I know, it's been a while since I have made an entry, but I've been busy. Okay, no, that's not true at all. I haven't been busy, I've just been lazy. A lie then...and oh, how easy it comes.....

Which is actually what I wanted to write about today. Truth, lies and everything in between.

I hope that in these entries, you've gotten a sense of how sincere and truthful I'm trying to be. I've told you all some pretty personal stuff...and kiddies, every word that I write (barring satire and exaggeration, perhaps) has been true. True as I see it, true as I can be. You see, I'm on a bit of a quest...a quest to be an honest person. Honest to myself, honest to other, honest to the world....and it hasn't always been easy.

So am I telling you that I used to be a liar? A dishonest rogue, perhaps? Well....yes and no. I don't think I'm that more dishonest than the rest of you, but I have found that I have a disturbing tendency to twist the truth, and I'm not proud of it. So now you're probably curious....how do I lie? Why do I lie? Some of you who know me personally, are probably wondering if I've ever lied to you.

Well, let me break down the most common situations. And while I'm sharing them with you, I want you to ask yourself if maybe you have been dishonest in similar ways.

1)I lie to make myself look better. This is probably the most pride damaging way I lie. Maybe I add twelve pounds when you ask me how much I can bench. Maybe I tell you I got a higher mark or make more money than I do. Realistically, I don't do this that often...I used to when I was younger, but not so much anymore.

2) I lie so you will like me. In some cases, I might agree with your opinion, even if I disagree with it. I'll pretend that I don't find a certain political or religious idea reprehensible so that you won't be offended. I might even pretend I like a movie or TV show.

3)I lie to stay out of trouble. Granted, I don't usually do this...whenever I don't take responsibility for a mistake, I usually get crushing guilt, so I almost always admit when I make mistakes. The fact that I don't lie very often about mistakes got me in trouble a lot at my last job, so I did finally start practicing lies by omission just to survive. Which actually got me into trouble a couple of time because my boss literally checked every little thing I did.

4)I lie to get something I want. This, I expect, is a pretty common reason to lie. Many of us might call it "stretching the truth", but you stretch that fucker enough, it's an outright goddamn lie. This is the kind of lie you tell at a job interview when they ask you for your strengths and weaknesses. It's the kind of lie you tell the store when you are returning something you broke, but swear it came like that out of the box. It's all the dead grandmas' funerals you had to go to when you really just wanted a day off or an extension on your paper. Me...well, I've taken many a sick day when I haven't really been sick.

5)I lie to cover up weakness. Oh, my job is going alright. Oh, he didn't hurt my feeling at all. Oh, everything is great at home.

6)I lie to make people comfortable. The white lie....who doesn't do it, right? When you tell a kid he sounds great playing the flute, when it's just about the worst thing you've ever heard. When you tell a friend you love their new girlfriend or boyfriend, even though they are the biggest douches you've ever met.

Do you lie for any of these reasons? I'm sure you do. We all do, to some extent. If anyone tells you otherwise, or claims not too, you better damn well watch your back.

Many times, we lie because we have to. It's survival at a very basic level.

The problem is that if you lie a lot, you start believing your own lies. In many ways, I feel that that's a big reason that my life has gone off the rails. God, you have no idea how often I've lied about my education or career. Lied about liking what I do. Lied about how my success made me feel. Lied about who I am and what my strength are. Lied about who I am as a person.

And I'll be damned, I started to believe my own shit. And even when I didn't believe my own shit, I felt like I was compromising my own principles...well, whatever principles I had. Not always mind you....if I'm gonna be honest here, I'll come out and tell you that I have told plenty of lies with no hesitation or guilt. But the more I lied, the smaller I became as a person. The smaller I felt. I think that if you're lying about things that matter to you, opinions you hold, and feelings you have, your really betraying who YOU are. Moreover, I really believe that people can pick up on it. People can sense that you are not an honest person, even if they can't point out a single lie you are telling.

So I decided that I was going to change. This blog was an attempt at being honest, and I'm telling you (cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye) that so far, I haven't told a single lie. Although I hold to the right to embellish a story to make it interesting, I want to stay true to the spirit of truth (ha...the "spirit of truth"...if that's not a suspicious statement I don't know what is). But that's not good enough...I want to be more honest in real life too.

Well, I've had the opportunity to be completely, heart-breakingly honest in the last couple of months. Those of you on my facebook know that I joined toastmasters a while back, and have given two speeches. One of those speeches, my first, was the "Ice Breaker". Oh, how sweet the opportunity to impress people....my greatest weakness, by biggest temptation. I had five to seven minutes to tell people who I am, where I come from, and what I do. I didn't have to lie, of course, but I could use the truth as I saw it to really impress some people I barely knew. Or I could have given them a boring overview of my life, not letting them know the real Dan...again, not a lie, but not REAL either.

But I didn't do either of those things. I said fuck it, I'm gonna give these people a taste of the truth. In short, I did something I never would have done a couple of years ago. I showed them who I was...I let them see the good side of me, and I showed them my flaws. By the end of it, there were tears in the crowd. At the end, I almost cried myself. I spit the freakin' truth, and I can't believe the response I got.

I can't share that speech with you, although I wish I could. The reason is because I didn't write it down....well, not beyond a couple of phrases and a general outline. When you tell the truth, when it comes from inside you, you don't have to refer to notes. You don't have anything to keep track of. You know your story; you stand up, and you tell it.

My second speech, in some ways, was even better. If you read my entry "The Voice in Your Head is an Asshole", then you basically read my speech. It didn't have the emotional aspect of my Ice Breaker, but the audience really enjoyed it. They related to it. And I realized how important, how powerful being sincere, and honest, can be.

Now, I'm starting to feel like I'm bragging, so I'm going to stop right here. I do, however, want to encourage you to start being a little more honest, if you can. Hell, I bet most of you are still more honest than I am....I'm a recovering lie-aholic. Still, give it a shot.

Also, if your wondering, the job I interviewed for (that I referred to in my last entry)...well, I didn't get it. Ha...maybe I was a little too honest, who knows.....but I did get some good feedback from my interviewers, and they assured me they went with another candidate because he was very experienced. They said I had a great interview and are keeping my resume on file. Here's to hoping they were honest.......

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