Reality Reflection: Truth Perspectives

As we begin this new month, during which we’ll talk about love of course, I wanted to start by talking about a tough topic: telling the truth. It seems easier to lie when faced with a scary situation, one that intimidates you or one that you know people will be hurt based on what you have to say (even if it’s not you telling them you screwed up). This week I’ve really been challenged with this topic, I always try to tell the truth, and have done a lot of work to learn how to not just blurt out the truth but rather say it in a more sensitive way that people won’t be completely offended by it, even if it’s true. While the good of telling the truth definitely has won out this week, there were 2 situations that weren’t so successful in truth telling. Here’s what I learned.

1-some people just aren’t ready for the truth, no matter how accurate it is or that they’re even admitting they recognize it as truth. They just can’t accept that they may have to do some changing, that things have changed or that the perspective they have isn’t the only one there is.

2-even when you try your hardest to say it in a polite way, you can still deliver it poorly. No one is perfect, we all make mistakes, even after years of practice. Think about things you’ve done since you were a kid, like reading or drinking from a cup. Sometimes you’ll misread something and overreact, or you’ll try to drink and it will end up down your shirt.

3-simpler is sometimes best. I tried to do the nice thing and give a complete answer to one individual, boy were they annoyed that I did! For them, a simple yes or no would have been sufficient. Being honest isn’t always about sharing details but just about owning up to it.

Most of all though I’ve been reminded by these 3 lessons this week not to give up or stop telling the truth because some people will react poorly or get pissed at you. You can’t account for their bad days or misreading or predisposition to dislike you or what you have to say. All you can do is do what’s right for you and your life; I think that’s telling the truth.

The Power of Truth

Supposedly winter is doing its thing and sending snow to many parts of the US this week and weekend. I’m not a huge fan of snow, other than watching it fall, so I’m waiting to see how things go. One of the things that mystifies many people is the way weather people can deliver the weather and it’s OK to not be quite accurate. I know it’s not an exact science, mother nature can do whatever she wants with the weather and have things turn out in ways we never expected or wished for. Which is the only reason that they can’t fully predict exactly what is going to happen. We should be thankful for as accurate as they are.

But it got me thinking about the topic of truth, because ultimately the weather people are not being truthful, but not because they’re trying to lie, but because they don’t have the full picture and can’t have the full picture. They’re dealing with a set of data that’s constantly changing, and while it is predictable, there can be deviations from the expectation. I don’t want to be them but do appreciate that we at least typically have some type of heads up when it’s possible or likely that strong weather or significant changes are on the way.

But back to the topic of truth, sometimes we tell the truth because there’s no reason to lie, sometimes we tell the truth because it’s the right thing to do, and sometimes we tell the truth even if it’s hurtful to us. But other times we choose to lie for a variety of reasons, or we don’t tell the truth because we don’t know the truth or the full truth hasn’t been passed on to us. You may remember playing a game called ‘telephone’ as a kid where everyone sat in a circle and the first person whispered something to the next and it was passed around the circle and by the end it didn’t sound like what the first person said anymore. Sometimes that’s because someone intentionally changed it, but often it was because the truth wasn’t clearly stated (they were whispering after all) or because what they heard wasn’t the truth.

Truth is a valuable quality, something we should all work harder to live up to. That doesn’t mean we’ll be perfect or that we’re trying to be perfect, just that we’re doing our best to be truthful and honest to everyone and in all situations. If you’re not sure what you’re about to share is the truth you can choose not to share it or make a clarifying statement like “While I could be wrong, the way I heard it was…”. How will you let truth empower you today?

Reality Reflection: Honesty

I’m always amazed when I run across someone or something that’s not real.  I guess I’ve got a bit of a glass-half-full belief when it comes to life that I still hold out hope that people, things and companies are what they say they are.  I know no one is perfect, but I’m still amazed and surprised by those who are as dishonest as some are.

I know that for everyone the ultimate results or experiences are different, because we’re all different, so there will always be some (minor) differences for each of us.  I’m also aware of all our different preferences, which means that what I think is great you may not like at all.   Maybe you would like it some other day but that day you’re just not in the mood or something is not ‘normal.’

Since I’m not expecting perfection, I guess I’m OK with people and things being honest about the reality of a situation.   For example, there are lots of different ways that jewelry can be made, with varying costs.  But with the international developments and the ease of buying through the internet cost/expense/appearance isn’t always the best predictor of how real something or someone is.

So it’s up to each of us to own our reality.  Admit that you’re an average house cleaner, hate to make your bed, know everything about the Lord of the Rings, love golf but can’t play it, think everyone should have a dog, love to teach 7th grade (except for science), and have a beer every night while watching the news, or whatever is the truth for you.  There’s no reason to be anything except who you are, or say that you’re anything except who you are.  If we all do and say what is true we’ll all do just fine, there’s no reason to lie and make yourself bigger or different than you are.

30 Days of Thanksgiving: tough honesty

This week the news came out as to what the Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year was. It’s a word that’s supposed to reflect on people, happenings and culture of the past year. It was surprising to many people, and disappointing as well. The word? Toxic.

It’s a hard word to hear, isn’t it? I hate that the year can be summed up that way. But, as I said, it’s supposed to be a reflection of what’s going on in the world around us, and I think it is to an extent. You can read the whole story here, but Oxford Dictionary explains that it’s a reflection of cultural, environmental, and relational happenings over the past year, and I agree that it unfortunately does reflect a lot of what has happened and is happening.

The year has been one of great change, great revelation and exposure, more honesty, and more knowledge than we’ve had before. We’ve seen huge strides in the treatment of women with the #metoo movement, we’ve had cases in court over chemicals and their harm to health that have been victories for the victims, we’ve seen more examples than ever before of the changing and strengthening natural environment with record storms.

In some ways I’m thankful and proud of Oxford dictionary stepping up and owning that too much of our world is toxic. Often you have to rip the band-aid off before you can get to healing. I have hopes that 2019 can be a year of healing and peace for our world, one that can help us make even greater strides into being a world of people who work together and support each other for the good of the world we all share together.

Rebuilding or Repairing?

Today’s inspiration comes from a quote I read earlier this week from Richard Whately: “…that it is the neglect of timely repair that makes rebuilding necessary.”

In my life I’ve done a lot of rebuilding-sometimes because I didn’t make the right decision, and sometimes because I made the right decision, but it was just the more difficult road. If you think about the number of marriages that end in divorce, those couples have gotten past the point of timely repair, to where they can’t even rebuild their lives, or they choose not to.

What can we each do that will help us spend more time enjoying life and less time rebuilding? Let’s start with families and significant others. The most important thing to do is communicate. Don’t worry so much how they will react to your honesty, just be honest. Second, make the effort to spend time together as a family, and have date night-just you and your partner- at least once a month.

In our jobs and careers there are things we can do as well. Start with admitting to yourself if you’ve outstayed your capabilities or passion. If you can’t do your job well anymore, it’s beyond time for a change. Maybe it’s a change within the company or in what you do, but still a change.

Personally there’s some daily work to be done as well. If you can’t remember the last time you ate something truly delicious, took a walk in nature, did or read something spiritual and wholesome, did something that only you like doing (a hobby perhaps), or went to bed early because you wanted to, you’ve got to quickly make some repairs-you’re heading for burnout.

This week I encourage you to look at your life. Are you heading down a steep hill towards rebuilding, or are there some repairs you can do starting today to put the brakes on your fall?

The Revelations of Christmas: Sharing

I love just about everything about Christmas, I’m even somewhat OK with a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day snowstorm because they come with a special magic. For some reason I’m thinking about the quiet side of Christmas today, those little moments that we have by ourselves as we look at our tree or sit in Church or read Christmas related scripture or watch the snow falling past our windows. One of my favorite Christmas stories, A Christmas Carol, has some of these moments as well. The story also takes time to share a very serious side of Christmas with us, one of what can happen if we don’t take time to consider others and spread Christmas Cheer.

In thinking about A Christmas Carol as well as The First Christmas as told in the Bible, I began to reflect on the serious side of Christmas, and something that Mary, Joseph, Scrooge and even Santa have in common: honesty. Scrooge had to face the truth about his life, and then was honest with those in his life about that truth. Mary and Joseph had to deal with the realities of being parents in an unconventional way, not to mention parents to the Christ Child, as well as work through what it meant for them and their relationship plans. And Santa hands out treats to those who are good and coal to those who are bad.

This Christmas I would encourage you to try a little honesty. I’m not talking about ripping the rug out from under people and telling them what you think about them. I’m suggesting that you get honest with yourself and make time to be honest with others. Take time in those quiet moments to share the truth with them, share your heart with them and if necessary begin mending your relationship or your life. What will you share this Christmas?

Thinking Through Success

As you may know we’ve entered a new month, and with that month comes a new topic for us to discuss in some of the posts here (and in my newsletters and on social media). I do make a plan at the beginning of the year for my overall strategy and some specifics, but I don’t review them or reference them really until we get to that point. So in thinking that November includes Thanksgiving, I was thinking that maybe this year I went with a ‘thankful’ theme for the month because I haven’t in the past couple of years, and I was feeling excited to think thankful thoughts and talk thankful topics. So I was a little surprised and a little unsure when I discovered that this month I planned to primarily talk about success.

So as I’ve been sitting with the revealed/reviewed topic for the past few days in preparation for this month and in thinking about this blog post, it got me thinking about what success is, and how it works and what it means to each of us. Sometimes, success is about being honest with ourselves and others. Yes, success can be attained through less-than-honest means but if you really want enduring success, there needs to be a core or foundation of honesty involved. Sometimes success means knowing what you don’t know and admitting it so that you can learn what you don’t know or get the help you need to get to the next step in your success journey.

But today I want to start off with something simple. I encourage to take a minute and really sit with the following question: do you want to be successful? Yes, you should have an instant response (like yes or no), but there may be another response, a more complicated one, a more detailed one, a scarier one, a more empowering one, or even a controversial one that follows.  I encourage you to sit and let that second response come before you move on, because that answer could reveal more about your desire for success or what success means to you or how you could achieve success, and will help you get even more honest with yourself about the place of success in your life.

If I stayed with my initial feeling about being disappointed with the topic of success and tried to push through the month with it as the topic anyway, my posts might not be that great and I might not be that invested in it as a topic. Also, if I went with my other thought of talking about just being thankful, the month might not end up where I hope it will, or want it to. But because I was honest with myself about how I felt and worked through those feelings and went back and reviewed the initial plan and purpose behind it, I’m feeling much better about it, and even looking forward to working through the topic of success this month with you. And on the other hand, because I sat with my feelings of disappointment about not focusing on being thankful, I realized that it was important to make extra room in the schedule for it, so it will be the Friday post topic for the month.

What will you discover when you take time to really think through what’s important to you?