I was listening to a great book this week and I was asked if I was a truthful person or an honest person. Until the author clarified the difference, I thought I had always been both. As it turned out, I had not been an honest person for most of my adult life.
Was I truthful? Did I tell lies or was I deceitful? No - well most of the time, as there is always a little white lie occasionally. I definitely feel I am a truthful person. I feel that I have integrity and hold the best interests of myself and those around me to the highest level. Do make mistakes and am I not always 100% to the best of my ideology? Definitely! But I definitely try my best to ensure I am the best version of me.
But have I been an honest person for most of my adult life? No. Far from it in fact. The difference is that people never saw the real me. I only let them see the person I wanted them to see. And that is being a dishonest person.
When I look back and realize that I had been a dishonest person all that time, was it a hard pill to swallow? No. I know why did it. It was because I didn’t want people to see how I perceive myself. I didn’t want them to see the failure that I saw. I didn’t want them to see the child who was still inside me. I didn’t want them to see my shame. I didn’t want them to see my embarrassment. I didn’t mean to see my vulnerability. If they’d seen all that at the time, that would have been a hard pill to swallow.
I’ve written before about wearing a mask, and we all do it at different times. I still wear a mask at times, but only when required (for example, if I am in a bit of a bad mood when i arrive at work, my staff and patients never have to see it - apart from last Friday when my staff did). But I choose to wear it when it is required, but I also choose to remove it when I want. I now control the mask, it doesn’t control me.
It allows me to show people that I am vulnerable, that I have had a past, that I have had trauma. But also allows me to show them that I have strength, character, courage, wisdom, fortitude and have love in my heart. When I started doing this I did so with much trepidation. I did not know how people would react to me or how I would respond to their reaction.
But I did believe that being open and honest would help others. And the reactions I received were nothing but positive, encouraging, gratitude and love. I received nothing but support from friends, family, patients and at times, complete strangers (when I do some public speaking).
By being an honest person, exposing the real me with all my flaws, it is opened more doors, more hearts, more opportunities and it has enabled me to help others not feel alone, feel they are understood and take steps to move forward with their lives.
That is an amazing reward, making such an impact on other...just for being an honest person. As a bonus I am not wasting any energy trying to hide the real me.
I encourage all of you to be a truly honest person, and reintroduce yourself to the world, warts and all. Because you will also change and impact lives, and we will love you all the more for it.
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