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If you had a friend who just got a bad haircut and they asked you what you thought of it. How would you answer? Or, let’s say, a loved one baked you a pie that tasted awful, what would you say?
Let’s ratchet it up and go to another scenario where you were late for an important business meeting because you overslept. What would you say to the group? OR your ex (who you never wanted to break-up with in the first place) has come back into the picture but you’ve just begun dating a new and very interesting person. What do you do with that one?
Fibbing, embellishing the Truth and making stuff up out of whole cloth used to be a way of life for me back in the day. So I have some cred in this department when I say there’s always one solid “go-to” when you’re on a Path of Awakening.
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As a little kid, I remember sitting in our kitchen, as my mother and a neighbor woman were having coffee and chatting. Now, I’d say I was a precocious kid, observant and earnest and I heard my mother say to the neighbor lady something that wasn’t true. I took the opportunity, right there and then, to let my mother know that what she was saying wasn’t true. I don’t even remember what it was. But I do remember that after the neighbor left, my mother very sternly, even threateningly, told me NEVER ever correct her again.
The short of it, is that I grew up with big and little lies … that is, I grew up with pathological lying, which is on-going habitual lying … now, that could have been out-and-out lies, making stuff up out of whole cloth or dressing up the Truth, that is, embellishing, we call it a fish story. (You caught a fish this big and your story is that you caught a fish this big). You know people like that? Maybe you?
The point being is that in my childhood, it’s was very hard because if a lie or an embellishment could be told at anytime, then I had no idea what the Truth was, right? Even when the Truth was really the Truth.
So I grow up first of all, not trusting anything anybody said – I learned that from my caregivers, right – as we all learn behaviors from our caregivers. And I also learned that it was OK to lie. To be loose with the Truth when it was convenient. I remember lying and embellishing about all kinds of things… from something like how much I weigh to telling a mediocre lover that they were a great lover to telling hyped-up stories at cocktail parties.
In our culture, there’s this division between little white lies – fibbing and BIG lies. But it’s a slippery slope, right? Because lies are all about deception – that is causing someone to believe something that’s not true … and typically it’s to gain some personal advantage. If I lie to my boss and tell her that the project is nearly complete when I haven’t even started, maybe I’ll think she’ll respect me more. On the other hand, if my friend has a bad haircut and he asks me what I think about it, and I tell him, “Oh, looks great!” Maybe I think he’ll like me OR maybe I think he won’t get pissed off at me.
BUT living with integrity means living without lying… that is big and small lies. No betrayal, no deception. No cheating. And if we are consciously on our Path moving toward an enlightened way of living, emotional fluidity… being in the flow, then being True to oneself, means we believe in our self. And in order to believe in our self, we must Trust our self to have a true north compass. That is, we are so aware of living in integrity that it’s not within us to violate our own code of ethics. Now, having said that, we make mistakes along the Path. But they’re honest mistakes. And we may be so used to sliding the Truth that our awareness hasn’t caught up with yet. So in the moment, we may tell a fish story, we might name drop where we suggest that we know somebody, who we really don’t. It happens. But we note it to our self and reinforce to our self our commitment to integrity.
So this came to me in my… 30’s, maybe my late 30’s. I was studying the mystical form of Judaism, called Kabbalah, and the need for impeccability in my actions and in my language. This is an enduring principle in spiritual disciplines of course. Buddhism, it’s included in right speech and right action.
And it came as a shock to me. The teacher gave an example that if you’re somewhere, in a store for instance, and the casher gives you too much money back, you stop and say, “Excuse me, I think you gave me too much money back.” Prior to that, if someone made an error in my favor … finders keepers. Or if I was in a conversation with someone and I blurted out a lie or an embellishment… if I caught myself I would correct myself right there. “Oh what I meant was….”
It’s a practice. And you gotta want it. Because in order to be kind and compassionate out there with others … you need to be kind and compassionate in here with yourself. And how can you think kindly of yourself if you see yourself lying and cheating?
Yes, and about cannabis. Cannabis, when used wisely and judiciously, amplifies our awareness so we can see our self more clearly. It heightens our sensitivity to our actions and sensibilities. So if you’re committed to the process of increasing your integrity – make no mistake about it – it’s a process, cannabis can be an agent of personal change. And if we’re committed to a path of MASS awakening, it starts with our personal self.
I had a mentor once who in a retreat, lead us thru a guided meditation of being a guest at our own funeral … seeing the people there and hearing what they said about us. And the question on the table was, what would they be saying about you. AND what would you want them to say about you? I know I’d like to hear that “Becca lived true to her values and did her best to live of life of integrity and on purpose.” What do you want them to say about you? Wherever you’re watching this, drop down to the comments section and let me know, let all of us know, and if you have thoughts on what integrity looks like in your life… and any tips on how you stay true to yourself.
I’m Becca Williams, and I want you to lead a marvelous life, and I want to help you do that.
7 thoughts on “The Soul-Sucking Underside of Lying & (oh BTW) Cannabis as an Antidote”
There’s an important caveat to this and that is if you’re in a situation where telling the truth puts your life in danger … then safety comes first. Most important, stay safe and devise a way to move out of your dangerous situation. In this instance, protecting yourself physically is primary.
Wonderful insight Becca, thank you. I’ve been thinking about integrity a lot specifically when it comes to our jobs. So often in the workplace, corporate policies go directly against our inner moral compass. I feel as though I’m often forced into fighting for things, manipulating people, or whatever it takes to “get the job done.” I’ve been trying to notice when these situations arise and I’m trying to “do the right thing” even if it’s not the popular or profitable pathway.
I agree, the workplace is a HUGE consideration. Company culture can either support integrity or erode it depending on what’s being communicated from the C-suites. If the boss or supervisor is not acting in integrity then it’s a dog whistle that those kinds of actions are tolerated and even accepted in that workplace. In those workplaces, you’ll often find that since like-attracts-like the whole culture perpetuates that dysfunction. And people of integrity don’t stay long.
Exactly. Thank you Becca.
Good stuff Becca, and aptly-timed. I worked with a Shaman, and we were discussing trust. She said, “you can trust those who are impeccable with their word”. I have a long-time friend who has been going through great difficulty. I felt like I might be able to hang in there with him, as many of our mutual friends had begun to avoid him and otherwise distance themselves. It was quite a challenge, as I couldn’t gain cooperation with boundaries ( 3 a.m. texts and the like), and not responding to my efforts at connection, canceling plans at the last moment with “reasons”, etc. Finally, after realizing this is a one-way friendship now, and that while I wanted to be patient, and listen to him-to give him a sense that he’s not been abandoned, as I felt empathy for him, the lack of reciprocity became too obvious to ignore. I told him that I still care about him, but I’m going to have to cheer for him from the sidelines. It had become clear that explaining why, working through this with him was not going to be productive. Well, I received a text from him at midnight just last night (actually midnight, again, the boundary, whilst clearly stated on numerous occassions, ignored. I responded with, “What’s up?”, because in the previous interaction, I had stated, as described above, my newly created boundary…I’m quietly on the sideline wish to ng him well.
He said that he wanted to see if I wished to play golf with he and his father on Sunday or Monday. While a lie was unnecessary and undesirable, I’ve come to understand that once honesty has been shared, and been unheeded, even an excuse that is honest (already have golf plans, and we’ve been through this countless times) is not warranted, nor helpful.
I replied “Hope you’re well, but won’t be joining ya’ll for golf.”
Feel like letting this long-time friend down, but being good to self, so there’s inner conflict here, but I got to remain impeccable….didn’t even go into the why…if he doesn’t know, or recall my statement of “no more”, I didn’t want to remind him because I’m setting myself up to get sucked back in.
This is, I suppose, a story which supports the idea you’re presenting here, and perhaps an expansion of it. I’m taking good care if myself here, and have been honest with my “friend”, without wiggle-room such as “maybe next time” or something similar.
Loyalty is an important one for me, but realizing that sometimes I have to let go of what I don’t want (maltreatment), even if it means feeling disloyal to a friend. Boundaries are quite difficult.
Anyway, that’s my truth.
I hear you on the loyalty thing. I’m loyal too – and there are those who want to take advantage of our loyalty. However learning to draw good boundaries makes all the difference (in fact it’s so important that it’s baked into all my coursework). Drawing strong boundaries is tough as you suggest because they bump up against a lot of our old conditioning that says we need to “be nice”. 😜
Thank you Becca! Great advice and video.