Telling the truth in all instances in my life turned out. in that familiar phrase, to be easier said than done. It was not that I was dishonest rather my social world existed to some degree on those sundry and overlooked words in conversations that were socially correct but not strictly honest. This situation is prevalent among us and as I worked on always telling the truth, I also needed to learn to say what I meant in an honest, kindly and compassionate way.
I taught myself by thinking of ‘scripts’ that I might say that would maintain my agreement to tell the truth and that would also support the social interactions that I wished to maintain, not to say anything about what it took to please my customers who came to me to make dresses, to repair or alter other clothing.
Tell the truth: dear lady, this fabric will not make the kind of dress you are describing. You will want to find a knitted cloth to have your vision of this dress when you look in the mirror. I have plenty of time on Friday to brainstorm the pattern and take measurements.
Tell the truth: the kid is acting out while his mother and I are having an earnest conversation. He wants our attention. Hey, guy, can you notice that your mum and I are talking for a few minutes? Please will you hang out just for a few more minutes while we finish. Then we can find that ice cream that was promised.
Tell the truth: Boss, I apologize that this mail has been delayed getting to you. I found it under a pile of files where someone had stashed it and where I did not see it until today.
And please, don’t go sorry. First, it is always a knee jerk reaction on the tip of your tongue and it is also meaningless. The best of all is just tell it like it is without apology. This is always sufficient.
These transactions are tough at the beginning because we are inclined to quibble and dissemble, dance and two step around the issue generally ending with a mess in our face! Telling the truth builds or rebuilds the confidence in us because we are no longer coming from behind. We show ourselves to be more trustworthy and we increase in stature in our own eyes. We also erase that tainted feeling (also known as shame) that comes when we have not shown up completely forthright with our friends.
And besides, every time we do the right thing, it feels good. Always tell the truth.
The Second Agreement: Always do your best.
This agreement is very interesting because our best today will be different from our best yesterday or any other day. Our capacity changes with each day so the best effort today may not look at all as it did yesterday. I can report to you that this is even more apparent as I am wearing 8 decades. Some days are yuck; other days are only ok enough and then there are a few spectacular, wonderful, fabulous days when I’m brilliant.
The biggest principle in this Agreement is to be gentle on yourself, desist from any kind of condemnation which will always add to your feeling of defeat: “I’ll never get this right!” That one! Just leave it alone and, always do your best! Guess what, this approach always works!