Honesty. It’s something we all want, something we often don’t give, and frequently don’t receive. I don’t consider myself to be a dishonest person, but there are many times that the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is shared. It’s usually unintentional, but the end result is the same; someone has been misled. Then there are the little white lies. Telling someone you already have plans when the reality is you really just don’t want to do what they’re offering. (Sorry, I have to wash my hair). I was late because I had car trouble. (The trouble was I didn’t want to get in my car and drive). Then there are the lies of omission, or partial truths. It MIGHT be true that you have other plans, but you made those plans after you received the invitation because you still didn’t want to go. Or telling someone that your wife had died… But neglecting to mention that she had been your ex-wife for years before her passing, implying that you are a widower instead of divorced. Sometimes we lie to protect the feelings of others. When you tell someone that their haircut looks great, when in reality it looks like they’ve been attacked by a weed eater. Those jeans might really make her Butt look big, but you’re not going to tell her that. (Maybe that’s self protection as opposed to protecting her). Then there are the lies of perception. You might tell the truth as you know it, but it’s perceived as something totally different, or your own truth was based on a misconception.
One of the reasons my last marriage failed is because my wife felt that I had lied to her about being bipolar. And from her perspective, she was right. I am bipolar, and I didn’t tell her. But my truth is, I had no idea. I did tell her that I had issues in the past, even to the point of hospitalization. But I was in such denial about my illness, believing that I didn’t have an illness, telling her that was true to me at the time. Oddly enough, she said she was upset at my lies, yet later asked me to adjust our date of separation so we could get divorced sooner. She didn’t want to be lied to, but has no trouble lying. Ironic, isn’t it? Honesty is relative I guess.
The most harmful of lies can be the ones we tell ourselves. Not only can self deception create situations that can be harmful, but it can lead to deception to others. I knew for decades that I had emotional problems. And from the very beginning I had Doctors and Therapists telling me I was bipolar. But I refused to believe. And it was that I truly didn’t believe. In spite of being told by all those health care providers, and in spite of the evidence of my own behavior, I always had a reason to explain it all. I deceived myself. And the result of this deception was I prevented treating what the real reason was for years and years, which not only affected my day to day living, but allowed the illness to progress and making it harder to control today. And because I refused to believe, I misrepresented my whole self.
But I am committed to the truth. I am determined to be honest with my friends, my coworkers, and my family. I have learned that truth in relationships is critical to success. It can be easy to ignore the fact that I have had four wives, especially with the way it’s often perceived. So I have a tattoo… a heart with four pieces broken off… that will tell the truth with explaining the reason and meaning to others. I will learn to tell the truth in such a way as to avoid hurt feelings, but remaining true. And most of all, I WILL be true to myself. Honestly accepting my feelings, acknowledging my shortcomings, and most of all, believing in my illness. For there is nothing real to be gained by deception and lies; what goes around always comes around. Every time.
The Billy Joel song says it well.
“Honesty is such a lonely word.
Everyone is so untrue.
Honesty is hardly ever heard.
And mostly what I need from you”.
I only have one caveat.
It’s mostly what I need from me.