Hello dear ones,
For Lent I gave up lying. I had become aware of myself telling lies over the past few months. While it would be easy to brush them aside as simply little white lies, lying gave me that undeniable internal hiss of being out of alignment with myself.
You know that feeling when you step out of your integrity, or when you momentarily waver off course? I had been noticing it more often, which thankfully, I can attribute to an increased awareness more than an increase in untruthfulness.
The Yoga Sutras say that when you become aligned with truthfulness, everything you say comes true.
I noticed three main reasons why I lie, the first of which is for expediency, which I addressed last week. The second trend I noticed in my untruthful habits was resorting to lying when I feel embarrassed.
This one is pretty straightforward: I lie when I am ashamed of what the truth is. In order to protect myself from feeling ashamed in the presence of someone else, I hide the truth so that I only have to feel ashamed in front of me. This is not a very effective tactic, because turns out, shame feels pretty crappy even for an audience of one, and shame has a tendency to show up for the even smallest offenses.
For example, I apparently have some shame about my sleeping habits. I’m a night owl, often staying up til 2 am and sleeping until 10am. (Or up til 3 and sleeping til 11, if I was being really honest. I just made myself type that because I found myself lying again. Like, oh god, will everyone judge me if they know I stay up until 3 am? I’m a work-in-progress.)
I am ashamed of this fact on some level, because I often lie to my partner about what time I went to sleep or woke up. He’s the only person who ever really asks about it, and there is truly no reason why he would judge me about it.
And yet, when he says, “How’d you sleep? What time did you get up?” I often feel impelled to say, “Oh I went to bed at midnight and got up at 8.” I also noticed that I would sometimes even lie just a tiny bit, “I went to bed at 2 and got up at 10,” I would say, when the truth was I went to bed at 2:30 and slept til 10:45.
The antidote to shame is vulnerability. (Props to Brene Brown.) Over the course of the last 40 days, I had many opportunities to face the truth, to say honestly, “I went to sleep at 3:15 and I slept until 11,” and to face, not my lover’s scorn (which of course does not exist) but my own derision. There is vulnerability, and with it, the opportunity to meet myself with acceptance and compassion.
Look around this week for the ways that you are lying because of shame. Can you choose instead to step vulnerably towards the truth?
P.S. If you like what I write, sign up for weekly blog posts direct to your inbox by clicking here or filling in the form below!