“Tell the truth!”, I silently pleaded, as a few others and I awaited a relative’s response. The question was simple, “Have you eaten at this restaurant before?” She was known for habitual lying, and just like so many times in the past, she went on to fabricate a story that all of the listeners knew was untrue.
Lies can be hurtful. They make relationships unstable and inauthentic. As a result, I find it difficult, if not impossible, to maintain healthy relationships with people that lie often or effortlessly. Though I can’t honestly claim that I don’t ever lie. I can honestly say that I don’t lie often and I can certainly say that I don’t lie effortlessly. It takes less energy for me to tell the truth. However, when I do lie, it is not unusual for me to confess the truth only minutes later.
Interestingly, the only person I find it easy to lie to is myself.
Recently, as I was evaluating my relationships, this reality became even more evident. I felt there were a few relationships that needed to be tweaked and others that needed to be terminated. However, the thought of someone feeling that I’d given up on them has always been extremely uncomfortable for me. So, it was no surprise to me when my mind was flooded with excuses about why I shouldn’t end the relationships and why the other person’s actions were tolerable.
“Tell the truth”, I kept thinking. I needed to be honest with myself about how I felt. I had to acknowledge my feelings. Whether they were valid or invalid, I wasn’t going to ignore them.
The truth was, that in these relationships, I felt misused and unappreciated. I felt that their behavior was selfish and that they’d given just enough to avoid being accused of not giving anything at all. I felt the support I’d extended wasn’t reciprocated. I enjoy serving others but I know when I am being misused. With that, I knew I would not be able to continue the relationships. So, I decided on the best way to bring closure (without burning bridges) and I moved forward.
As with this situation, being honest with myself about how I feel usually gives me a sense of peace. Even in the most confusing and daunting situations, telling the truth has always brought clarity. This clarity helps me decide what’s my best next step; whether to tweak or terminate.