You’ve read my previous entry, about how I let my insecurities about my masculinity lead me to smoking. I’ve worked very, very hard — and successfully — to overcome those insecurities, and to stop smoking, cheating, using porn, flirting, masturbating, and paying for sex. I’ve overcome alcohol and food challenges too. Please understand that I get that there’s more to it than that. I get that lying is a distinct and frightening problem, regardless of overcoming those other challenges.
Here’s how I’ve worked to stop lying. First, I recognize that lying was one of my many distinct flaws as a husband, son, and human being. I suspect I subconsciously learned at an early age that lying was “normal” and that people can say one thing while thinking or doing another. My mother did that often. She would exaggerate stories to make herself or her family look better, more deserving, more needy, more put-upon, or whatever she found it convenient to portray at the moment. In some cases, she invented lies from whole-cloth, to “save face,” avoid conflict, or manipulate people or situations. I knew that was wrong. What I didn’t know is that I was beginning to emulate my mother’s dishonesty, more and more, without even realizing how much I was doing it.
I’ve struggled with my mother’s influence all my life. I’ve struggled with the bad example of how to view the world that she taught me, her bad habits she modeled for me, the guilt and verbal abuse she used to control me, the games she played to manipulate me, and the anger with which she attacked me. Part of my work on self-healing and reconciliation has been to break free from her influence.
I now defend TL and my kids with strength in the face of my mother’s attacks. I now don’t succumb to my mother’s guilt trips or her temper tantrums. I also no longer view the world as she does. I’m leaving behind her negative view of the world. I’m happily leaving behind her sick manner of exaggerating, hiding the truth, telling half-truths, and lying. I want to be better than that. I want be happier than that.
Second, I have really embraced the journey toward being genuine. I’ve found great freedom in it. Now, when I walk around — be it at work, at scouting events with my kids, or anywhere — I can calm the voices of self-doubt in my head. Instead of wondering what people might think of me or what might happen, I relax in the knowledge that I am speaking my mind honesty, I am behaving honestly in the best interests of my marriage, my family, and myself. Other people’s opinions of me no longer matter so much anymore. “Other people” includes my mother, bosses (within reason), colleagues, strangers, and many others. It proves to me that being honest feels better — safer, easier in the long run — than lying.
Third, more than anything else, I want to be closer to TL. I want a gentle, honest, safe, kind, and loving relationship with TL. The smoking lie was my final reminder that lies achieve the opposite of that. If I ever lie again, TL will surely be gone. I want to be closer to TL. I want to be an honest man. Even if TL leaves me or dies before I do, I want to be an honest man.
Fourth, when doing anything, I ask myself, “Is this something I want to hide, from TL or anyone else?” If the answer is anything other than “no, I’m proud of my behavior,” I stop that behavior before it starts.
Yes, I failed. Yes, I lied about smoking. I will never lie again. I’ve learned that being honest about sex is not enough. I must be honest about everything. Even something as small as a broken glass in the kitchen or a beer alone in my hotel room requires complete and immediate honesty with TL.
I lied about smoking.
I am working within myself, with my counselor and with God to remain an honest man.
I don’t want to lie. I don’t need to lie. Lying hurts me and those I love. I will never again be a liar.