We often justify or defend telling a little fib with the ‘excuse or reason’ that you didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, or that your intentions were good.
DO YOU REMEMBER?
Can you remember when you told your first little white lie? How old were you? Why did you tell it? How did you justify it? And how did you feel afterwards?
Well, I remember. I was six years old, drawing with Diana, my childhood best friend. I drew well and often back then, and everybody knew how good I was. That day, Diana had a new coloring book she brought out to show me. In it was a girl in a bathing suit that I loved and thought I could use the picture as a model for some of my future drawings. I wanted a perfect copy of the picture, so I began tracing it to have an exact copy to take home with me.
Diana’s mom walked into the room and picked up the picture I had traced, knowing I drew well, she asked. “Veronica, this is beautiful, did you draw it yourself?”. “Yes,” I heard myself saying without making an effort to correct her.
The thing is, I could draw, but in that moment, I felt if I admitted to tracing the picture from Diana’s coloring book, her mom might start to think every other good picture I’d drawn was probably traced too, and I didn’t want to look bad. I didn’t want to look like a copycat.
And so there it was, my first untruth. I felt awful, I knew it was wrong. I didn’t know what this was called at the time, but I’d later hear adults in my life refer to this as a ‘little white lie’.
WHAT IS A WHITE LIE?
A little white lie is a minor, insignificant and sometimes unimportant lie usually told under the disguise of an excuse to keep us from looking or sounding bad. They’re often used in the interest of being thoughtful or polite.
We assume these unimportant lies aren’t ‘hurting anyone’, ‘no one’s going to find out anyway’. Careful. I’d argue that the most important person will know about it – YOU.
HOW DO THESE LIES SHOW UP IN YOUR DAILY LIFE?
While some white lies are properly planned before they’re told, others just seem to be easier to tell, to let us off the hook for our poor or thoughtless behavior. To avoid looking or sounding bad, like what I did when I was a 6-year old.
Here are a few ways these little white lies may show up in your daily life:
- “Sorry I didn’t call you back, I got stuck in a really long meeting”. When actually, the truth is, you completely forgot to call back.
- “Sorry I can’t make it to dinner, I won’t be in town that night.” When the truth is, you don’t want to go out, but don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or look bad for not attending.
- “So sorry for being late, traffic was awful”, Meanwhile, you left much later than you should have for whatever reason, knowing you could blame the traffic for your tardiness (and thoughtlessness) when you could have simply been there on time.
In a more personal setting, these tiny lies could harmlessly show themselves in something a little closer to you, like your driver’s license. Yes. You could actually include a small fib in that small plastic card that contains some of the most personal and sensitive information about yourself like your age, height and dare I say it, yes, even your weight.
I don’t know of any Department of Motor Vehicles that has a scale or a height bar to ensure you didn’t scrape off some pounds on the form or add a few harmless inches to your height. So easy to ‘fib’, who’d know anyway, it’s not hurting anyone, right?.
TAKING A CLOSER LOOK
Examining the WHY do we behave this way, how does it make us feel about ourselves and about the way we’re showing up, this is where the work to strengthen our self integrity can start to make a difference.
Hiding things about yourself even the smallest of things and keeping secrets about yourself is the best way to LIE about who you truly are. Do you see what a slippery slope it can be to go from those little UNTRUTHS to a full blown lie?
It’s so easy to graduate from those little white lies to the bigger ones, the ones that have bigger consequences and begin to compromise your integrity, and keep you from being the best version of yourself.
The way we reason or justify lying is because we think “it’s not hurting anyone, who’s gonna know anyway?” Well, I would argue that it’s hurting YOU, your relationship with yourself, and the way you’re showing up in your life.
“INTEGRITY IS DOING THE RIGHT THING EVEN WHEN NO ONE IS WATCHING”
~ C.S. LEWIS
So now I have ONE question for you.
HOW WILL YOU SHOW UP WHEN NO ONE’S WATCHING?
As an Entrepreneur with an Online Business, I use social media to share my message and connect with my audience. It’s important for me to show up as my true self…which is far from a perfectly curated Instagram Feed.
You ARE what you do, NOT what you say you’ll do
The good news is that Self Integrity is like a muscle. We can exercise it to develop and strengthen with some very easy exercises. I’ve designed a workbook where I guide you through 3 exercises to strengthen your self integrity and have it show up in your daily life.
I’ve also included over 25 Self Integrity Phrases to keep you on track. GRAB your printable or fillable workbook here: http://bit.ly/SIWorkbook.
Your actions speak volumes about who you are, about your character, about the self respect you have for the commitments you make.
And sure, no one has to know what promises you’ve made to yourself, especially if you don’t share them…but YOU’LL know, you’ll know each time you cancel, reschedule, waffle on a commitment or promise you’ve made to yourself. This behaviour will impact your character, your integrity and how you show up in your business and in your life.
I believe very strongly in being in integrity both to others as well as to ourselves!
With practice, I’ve learned that if I make a ‘promise’ to me, then to stay in alignment with who I need to be and how I need to show up, I need to hold myself accountable.
I’ve learned that the promises & commitments I make to myself are just as, if not more important than the promises & commitments I make to others.
I’m a work in progress. GRAB your workbook HERE and let’s continue working on strengthening our self integrity to show up as our true selves.