Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Honesty Challenge

Recently I came across this great article written by Jami at Phillyfit magazine. It's something I think deserves to be passed along. It's a good read and something to think about.

Honesty really is such lonely word. In my opinion, "honesty" is the new little black dress,
Which leaves no room for little white lies. It's time to hold up a moral magnifying glass to your conscience. Are you being true to yourself? To others? Could your candor ultimately actually affect your health and happiness? Billy Joel was right - honesty is lonely because hardly anyone gravitates towards it. Has it become the big white elephant in a room of hyperbole and near-truths?

My gripe manifests itself on a few different levels, but basically all of these levels narrow down to one sassy problem. I promise not to bore you with why I think it is important to be honest.
We've all grown up with the "golden rule of conduct" force-fed to us by parents and other authority figures. What I am talking about is this: Perhaps it's time you evaluate how much you really do bring to the table. Or for a lot of us, it might be more a question of how much you choose not to bring.

Let me clarify. I know that deep down inside, you know what I mean. No one wants to leave his or her social comfort zone. Maybe I can push you a bit; and I promise you, if you set your
boundaries in the right place, it really does matter in the big scheme of things. It all matters, but how do you make it all matter to you?

What if you were to go away for a week to attend a magical seminar that taught you how to be 100% true blue; no more shortcomings, no more empty promises to those near and dear?
What if there was a magic pill you could give your partner that made him/her STOP lying, and also sucked the Pinocchio out of you? Jim Carey's "Liar Liar" graciously showed us just what a
nightmare it could be. Right? Well, I kind of like the nightmare. In fact, everyday I make it a practice to challenge myself to make it through a full day of total honesty. I'm not kidding. I know you are probably doubting the truth to that…but don't. Any that know me know it's true. This forces me to start saying what I really think, and not necessarily what one might want to hear. I have made a conscious decision to keep it real. Gosh, do I hone in on that almost every pub page or what? I just realized that!

Now, let's get one thing straight. I'm not talking about blatant rudeness. I'm not an advocate for "mean girls" (or guys) everywhere. We all know that there's a delicate balance that has to be
learned, or acquired. At some point though I say enough with, "Wow, I love that outfit on you!" (when you know darned well it makes your BFF'S butt look like J-Lo's butt on steroids), or "I'll be home in fifteen minutes, honey," (when you know even an hour's time would be a stretch). Now, how about really spending forty-five minutes on the treadmill (rather than twenty!) Stop lying to yourself! What happened to those other twenty-five minutes? Come on! We both know that in most instances, sex isn't a (good enough) workout, especially if bedroom cardio only lasts 120 seconds. (Sorry guys!) It takes a commitment to getting fit.

I challenge all of you to do a "Three-Day Liar's Abstinence." Send those little naughty lies you tell everyone (and tell yourself) packin'. On the fourth day you'll see just how it feels to like yourself for being true. My hunch is, you'll find yourself in the driver's seat of life again (rather than grabbing "shot-gun" and pretending like it's good enough). Find that water hose within yourself to tame those pants-of-fire. You may not even have to reach deep to find it. Our culture has trained us to be good liars. We apologize, we fib, we joke, we gossip, because everyone else
does. Or, does it even make us feel better about ourselves somehow? Are we a society obsessed with liars?

The Fox Network thinks so. That's why they've recently launched "THE MOMENT OF TRUTH," a horrid game show where participants answer twenty-one increasingly personal questions honestly, as determined by a polygraph, to win half-a-million dollars. As the prize amount increases, contestants are challenged to 'fess up to matters they might normally lie about! The touchier questions are especially hard to watch because these everyday people reveal their answers in front of their spouses,relatives and friends, hanging on every word. Jeez, did Satan himself pitch this idea to network execs? Didn't we all get our lie detector ya-ya's out when we met the Fockers? I hate to sound nerdy; but, I think I like to be honest because honestly, it makes

"Challenge Doesn't Build Character, It Reveals It" Honestly, I don't know who quoted this first, but when I first heard it, I scribbled it on a piece of paper and posted it to my 'fridge, then I posted another to my bulletin board and on the mirror,there's even one in the glove department of my car. Genius it is!

If a librarian is really rude to you for returning a very overdue book, are you rude back to her? Or, instead, would you kill her with kindness and tell her how much you enjoyed the book? I bet
you, with your honesty, you end up with a librarian showing you to the next rack of books before it's all said and done. Or how about this: a co-worker is obnoxious, and inappropriate to you in
front of others. Do you start horrible rumors about this individual? Or, do you become proactive instead of reactive and maybe take them out for a cup of coffee to talk things through, try to
discuss what is really at the heart of the personal attacks? It might not work to fix your problems right away...but watch! Go home feeling good that at least you gave it an honest try. I bet you end up with a new friend before month's end. If not, honestly, she wasn't worth it then anyway.

Now I know that all of you have to deal with quirky people and their strange, eccentric ways. It's just now that I'm beginning to realize that it's how you handle each situation that makes or
breaks life! It's the split-second choice that you make to be the bigger person. I talked about this in last month's Pub Page…being the bigger person, I hope you "so get it" when I say
that. I'm not talking about being phony or a push over, trust me. I'm talking about reaching inside yourself to find your core. In a sense- working out your core! How fit is your self-confidence and belief system? A very smart Eleanor Roosevelt said it best: "Women are like teabags. You never know their strength until they're in hot water."

There have been a few times in my life where I have sat down and honestly said to myself, "I just can't believe that person really did that, or said that." I often wonder, does the initiator of these lies ever stop to think how much potential harm they are eventually going to bring? Or, do they even care about their own self pride and respect?

I recall a past romantic relationship where I just knew there was something odd about perpetual cell phone etiquette/behavior. I finally got the courage to call back one of the numbers, only to
hear a woman's voice who was as confused as I was. Helloooo! That was the last *69 he ever got! Later Dude!

Another skeleton in my romantic closet, (the one with the padlock), once told me that he had quit "dipping" (chewing tobacco); I was so worried that he might die young and I was so happy to hear him say those words. So, I became hell bent on trying to get him not only to quit, but to be as healthy as possible. I soon came to realize that I was pushing something that he simply wasn't ready for, and perhaps it wasn't even my business anyway, it was his personal challenge I just needed to support. He had lied to me about it, probably to impress me as he knew it bothered a healthnut like me. Quitting wasn't a desire, nor an option for him. He resulted in lying to me for a year about it. He would sneak in the bathroom and then I'd find the evidence all over the sink. Had no clue what it was at first, I confronted him and it wasn't pretty. I
would have rather he said, "Help me I'm weak." I would have had more respect for him. Total respect actually, for being honest. Lies are band-aids that always fall off over time. The scars are
never pretty.

Admittedly, I recall lying about a few things too (my halo is on a lease). My little white lies over time turned gray like dirty winter snow that lingers way too long. Those black ice mountains grew unsightly and tired. I couldn't look at them anymore. From that point on I really did try to make honesty my best policy. It took me years to be honest with myself, even when I thought I was being true, (with regard to what kind of man I wanted). Actually, it took five years of solitude (thank you Ben and Jerry Fudge Brownie Frozen yogurt) to really learn what I needed, and perhaps, what I deserved.

Several years back, while sitting and sweating on the recumbent bike pedaling away, I made a decision (right there, in the quietness of my own thoughts) to make the commitment to be truthful to myself and everyone else. Forever! Personally speaking, there is something about being able to sleep better at night. You won't find Ambien in my home. So take me up on my challenge, try the

"Three-Day Liar's abstinence" and email me if you're feeling weak. I swear, dieting is way harder than committing to telling the truth. Like pounds, you may lose a few friends, you may gain some too, or you may find that current relationships will intensify. It's scary, but I dare you to try it. You might like what you get out of it in the end. In fact, I recently told someone very close to me that it sort of becomes easy and natural. I'd be too badly disappointed in myself to bother to lie anymore. I don't even have time to think of a good lie, let alone execute one these days (with my little seven-month-old Nannah-pie in the picture.) As for me? Honesty really isn't such a lonely word anymore. If my personal trainer is reading this, I'm sorry, but I can't do one more crunch this week. Yep, Jami Lynn Appenzeller-Yancey flakes out from time to time. Honestly, I'm not perfect.

· Thank someone in your family for being honest.
· Take criticism from a supervisor/boss well and try not to retort or be defensive.
Maybe you do need some improvement. We all do.
· Tell your parents or a loved one about a mistake you made in the past.
· Tell the truth when you've done something wrong - don't wait too long.
· Express your real feelings without anger, without blaming others, without
exaggerating, and without hurting the feelings of someone else.
· Turn in something that is lost and encourage others to do the same.
· Admit a mistake or error in judgment you have made and apologize to anyone
it might have affected.
· Be truthful with your friends and thank them for being truthful with you.
· When you ask someone to be honest with you, don't get angry with them if
their honesty isn't what you wanted to hear.
· Look yourself in the mirror at the end of the night and ask,"Am I being honest
with myself emotionally, physically, etc?"
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