Such a thought provoking question, one worthy of life altering edicts and philosophical truths that will live forever. My thoughts, however, turn to life lessons learned in childhood:
- Don’t stick your tongue on a metal fence when the temperature falls below freezing. On a dare an elementary school classmate accepted the challenge to do just that, thus confirming that it is true and does not warrant further testing, at least by me.
- Never put your fingers near the mouth of a dog you do not know. This I proved for myself—the hard way.
- Don’t cross your parents was another lesson I had to experience for myself, not just once but numerous times, earning many stinging swats.
Experience is indeed a great teacher. No matter how many times I tried to control everyone and everything, it didn’t work. Yet I persisted engaging in the same manipulative behaviors with, surprise surprise, the same disastrous results. At long last I learned that the only one I can control is myself. The only one I can change is me. Changing my behavior produced amazing results.
I was the quintessential “Wishy Washy Charlie Brown” trying to avoid conflict by fence sitting. I rarely took a stand and often deferred to the opinions of others opting instead to ask what they thought. A great yes person; I tried to be who I thought others wanted me to be. In the process I lost track of who I really was and what I really thought.
It has taken a lifetime and a life threatening illness to realize just how important it is to be myself, the real me unafraid to show the world who I am. How can anyone ever know me let alone like me when I hide behind the smoke and mirrors of a lie? Honesty is so much more than not lying, cheating, and stealing. It is showing your true colors regardless of what those around you think. It is having the courage to stand up for what you believe. What I know for sure is that only through honesty can we respect ourselves and earn the trust of others.