If you tuned in earlier, we talked about manholes. Talk Tuesday’s discussion goes to the next most logical place: Silverware. This is your chance to talk back. You up for some Truth or Dare? Oh, come on. Are you chicken?
Why is it, even as children, we are more willing to do the most insane things our friends can dare us to do than to tell the simple truth? Whether you learned the game as Truth or Dare or as Truth or Consequences, the principle is the same. We would rather be made to walk across hot coals than admit simple truth.
Are you one who always took the dare?
Who will ever know?
Sometimes, the rules specified we had to choose truth. In the split second before we answer a question about ourselves, there is the mental battle between a lie and the truth of our innermost secrets:
Can I get away with a lie? Who will ever know? It is my secret. Isn’t it?”
The thoughts are lightning quick. They spawn other questions, which are answered just as quickly.
I don’t have to tell the secret. No one knows this but I. If I lie, will they believe me? I do not lie all the time. Surely, they will give me the benefit of the doubt and believe me. Should I lie? It will be easier than the truth will be hurtful.”
Is it ever any easier? Are not the consequences far harsher than the initial sting of the truth and the threat to life and limb of the dare?
Why is it hard?
How much of our self-esteem is wrapped up in what others’ think of us? Our everyday lives are filled with judgments. We may escape some before, but judgments are everywhere from the time we go to school.
- Athletic ability
- Social circles
- Job Performance
- Religious stature
- Parenting success
When we are judged lacking, it is very simple to take that judgment to heart as absolute truth. We can take it so seriously as to let it affect how we view ourselves. We let outside forces warp the fun house mirror, and then, we gaze into it everyday. In order to afford outsiders less control over our perception, we deceive them into believing we are people we are not. As irony would have it, we become disingenuous to ourselves and become the reflection we see in the mirror.
Think about the secret you hold about yourself. The one thing you have never disclosed to Quaint or Mate. You never told BFF or Parent. Siblings have been excluded. It is the one piece of you which is unaffected by the outside world because you have never exposed it to scrutiny.
Why do you keep it? Does it define you? Does it temper your thinking? Is it the inner core of your identity? By keeping it to yourself, you are denying. You are not wholly denying it exists because you allow it to mold your actions and judgments. But you are denying your most authentic identity.
Parent: By keeping it from your parents, you leave them wondering what they did wrong as parents for you to act the way you do. When they asked you, Why did you do that?, you stood there sheepishly, watching the foot you were twisting on the floor.
BFF: When you broke up with your first puppy love, you felt a change. You did not dare share it with BFF. That measure of maturation put you on a slightly different plane than the one you and BFF had always shared. In the wake of Pup’s departure, you did not dare threaten your relationship with BFF.
Quaint: Why would you reveal your innermost self to Quaint when you never told your BFF or your Parent? Quaint may move down the road in a few years. What would Quaint do with the information? How would BFF feel if Quaint knew first? Gah, Mom and Dad would keel over. They think the parent-child bond is still as strong as the umbilical cord.
Mate: Mate loves who you represented yourself to be. You have been married for years. What would happen if Mate found out now?
The behavior is all that of lying. The covering up. The lack of eye contact. The paranoia. The shame. Why is it we insist on the lie of omission?
We were careful to project ourselves as worthy of (attention, praise, love), knowing deep inside there was one factor which makes us do and say things. It is our true identity. No one has ever told you it is bad. You have never told anyone. How could they?
Leaving out this one piece does perpetuate the enigma, the quest for discovery by (Parent, Quaint, Mate), the possession of an unknown, mysterious, only-mine-and-I-don’t-have-to-share-it trait. So, let’s try that boot on the other foot.
Parent: Could have helped you realize the secret was not a matter of shame, like your behavior was, but an explanation which would have rationalized your actions. Remember hearing: You will get in less trouble if you tell the truth?
BFF: Has loved you through six relationships, three vehicles and two dogs. Did you once consider telling your secret just may bring you closer?
Quaint: Has no ulterior motive to harm you. How can you and Quaint play with only 49 cards in the deck?
Mate: Plans on spending the rest of your lives together. Do you really want a bait and switch marriage?
The Bottom Line
It comes down to trust. In the wake of judgment, we are unwilling to expose our core characteristics to those who have passed judgment on our actions and inaction. We are not likely to share the secret with those closest to us out of fear of judgment from the ones we love and respect the most. In our lie of omission, we shatter the trust without anyone else being the wiser.
The trust must be nurtured and tended. When it is not, it becomes tarnished, bent and eroded…an unusable silver fork. With one tine bent to stab the lip, the fork finds its way to the bottom of the silver drawer, only to be used when no one is watching or when there is no other implement available. We only dare to be show the truth of our most authentic selves in the privacy of the fun house mirror reflection.
Two questions from our morning discussion fall into this one:
Why do we hold ourselves to a different standard when it comes to the truth?
- To where does looking the other way lead when someone lies?
Thinking about your answers to those questions, let’s discuss these:
- How can being more openly authentic strengthen our character?
- How do our seemingly incongruous actions change the way others judge us?
- How do we use that judgment to justify the reflection in the fun house mirror?
Here is your chance to Talk Back. Let’s get Talk Tuesday underway. The floor is yours.
As is our custom, tonight’s post went live at 1900 EDT (GMT-5), so it can be read in advance of our discussion. If you cannot stay until 2000, feel free to leave your contribution in the comments. We will be discussing this in real time from 2000 until we are finished! If you would like to cover a specific topic with the M3 Readers, feel free to use the inbox.
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