Remember that time when you answered someone’s question with an answer taken from an entirely separate experience? And then you justify that answer and classify it as ‘truth’ because, in the past it was true, this is the answer they want to hear, they have an agenda and you need to help them with it. If you have, it is more than likely that you just justified a lie. Allow me to share an experience with you as an example.
November 17, 2017. I am at a Freedom Extreme and, due to many things, I have just been called on to share one or more of my intentions for this event. I speak, it goes something like this: “One of my intentions is to stay in my growth mindset.” (I start to automatically give an explanation.) “I recently read a book about growth mindsets and fixed mindsets and I want to stay in my growth mindset.” The first words spoken after I say this come from Daniel, one of the counsellors. “Wow. That is way more adult than me.”
Immediately Heather steps in and places Daniel in the spotlight. She points out that what he just did was step into shame. Kami then goes over his body language, the words he spoke, and the feeling that generates. She asks him how shame makes him feel, he answers. She talks about how his physically stepping backwards and stepping into shame was a rejection of my intention. She then turns the spotlight on me and asks me how I felt when Daniel rejected my intention. Honestly, I don’t even remember if I looked up from the floor to answer her. My answer was brief. “It felt bad.” And she took it from there. She talked more about it with the group and then she had me again share my intention with the group. She invited Daniel to stay out of shame, and I felt an unspoken invitation to the both of us to make eye contact. We continued with the event from there, other people sharing their intentions, and turning to other points for discussion.
Now, perhaps you are thinking that this situation is no surprise and you don’t see anything amiss. Let’s go over it again and I will do my best to help you envision it and understand how my ‘truth’ was a lie.
To start let me give you a picture of what the group looked like, especially Kami, Daniel and I. Daniel was standing near the couch on which he had previously been sitting. He stood with his arms wrapped around a pillow. (Honestly, if I had been on or near the couch I would have done the same.) This body language shows that Daniel was using the pillow as a shield. He was literally hiding himself, all of himself, behind that pillow. Me? I was sitting on the floor and I was hiding as well. I had my notebook in my lap and my eyes on the ground. I was closed. The mask that I wore attempted to hide the truth that I was closed. Did it work? Feel free to ask one of the counselors. In fact, I had my walls up and a mask on since the moment I stepped out of the car to come to this event.
So, when I shared my intention, I let my walls down just enough to let it out, and allowed people to see for just a moment into all that I was hiding. But as soon as the words of my intention left my lips my walls went back up, my eyes were fixed on the carpet in front of me, and I numbed myself to whatever anyone would do in reaction to what I said.
This means that when Daniel said, “Wow. That is way more adult than me.” I didn’t feel bad. I didn’t allow myself to feel rejected. I didn’t allow myself to feel his words. I didn’t look up to read him with my eyes. I didn’t read his body language. I had done everything to keep myself from feeling anything. Therefore, when Kami asked me how I felt, I answered her with an answer from a past experience. The answer I gave her was true in the past experience when I had chosen to feel, but in this experience, when I had chosen not to feel, it became a lie.
Why did I lie? Because I was afraid. Because I felt like Kami had an agenda and I gave the answer I ‘thought’ she wanted. Because I didn’t want to be truly vulnerable and let these people I didn’t know see how numb I could be, how numb I often was. I was so afraid and that I kept my walls up, I put on masks, and I lied.
The following day I had decided on a few new intentions. One was that I wanted to tell the truth. I didn’t want to lie to these people any more.
In pondering this experience I have come to truly regret that I lied. Many other times when I had lied resurfaced in my thoughts. I thought of what wonderful things could have happened at this freedom extreme if I hadn’t told that lie.
I have a new resolve to be more truthful. I have a new ‘why’. I have a new desire to not lie. Lying brings pain. Lying brings regret. Lying prevents growth and shuts down the positive change and positive experiences that could come from telling the truth.
I hope that my experience helps you to reflect on similar experiences you may have had, and to have the courage to acknowledge your fear, and then stand in your power. Truth has power, more power and more potential that any and all lies. My higher power taught, “the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32. KJV.) I know that the Truth makes us free and lies bind us. I have allowed myself to be bound spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and I don’t want to be bound anymore. I choose the Truth. I choose to be free.
~ Genevieve R. Purdy