Honesty

¡Hola! Everybody,
The heat wave has finally broken (a little bit). It will be in the high 80s today. Great beach weather for us to cavort in! LOL

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Honesty

“Honesty is not just a moral principle. When you lie to me, you’ve also created a wall between you and yourself.”

In the movie Memento, the lead character (played by Guy Pierce) suffers from a rare form of short-term memory loss. In one scene, a waitress (played by Carrie-Ann Moss) spits into the character’s beer right in front of him. I mean she serves him a beer and hacks a Louie right into his beer. Several minutes later, because he has no short-term memory, he’s drinking the beer as if it were nothing.

Aside from being disgusting, the scene is powerful because it speaks to the many ways we lie to others and ourselves. The character is reduced to taking Polaroid pictures and writing notes to himself (“mementos”) in order to keep his memory intact.

How many times have we entered into a partnership and continually relive vicious or dysfunctional relationship patterns? Aren’t we, when we consent to these sick relationship agreements, behaving like our pathetic character from Memento?

She calls me and immediately I note something wrong in her voice. “Sweetie? You OK?” I ask, alarmed. She then proceeds to tell me how Morris has managed to turn her Africa blog into something to ridicule. She’s crying – sobbing actually. She’s going on about how Morris is so bad and how she should’ve known better than to post something serious on 360. How Mo is a misogynist and treats women horribly. She had to know I would come to her defense. She also had to know the blog she wrote was a fraud…

I am seriously flawed individual. I have so many character defects; I have to have a program in place to keep me halfway sane. I am impulsive, quick to anger, obsessive, clingy and cold at the same time. I say and do things I later regret and half the time, I’m loonier than a busload of kids.

Not a very attractive package, huh? LOL

But the one thing I do have, the one thing I bring to the table is honesty. And by honesty, I don’t mean looking at your shit and pointing it out to you. That’s not honesty, that’s a thinly veiled form of abuse. What I mean by honesty is the ability to look at myself in a truthful way and working on all these defects of character. By honesty I mean working to earn your implicit trust. Say what you will about me, you can never say I willfully misled or lied to you. And for me, trust is the basic building block, the basic currency, of relating. Lie and you squander the worth of a relationship as well as your own self-worth.

Like the proverbial unraveling thread, more inconsistencies arise. The more I pull on the thread, the more the cloth comes apart. There is always a defense, an excuse. Everyone else is wrong. When I ask why, she has no answer. When I ask how she would set me up like that, she has no answer…

From an ego-centered perspective, honesty can be a threat. Some may try to be honest to protect an image of moral superiority; to prevent someone else from leaving us; to avoid guilt, fear of punishment, or to conform to a learned moral code.

We may also avoid being truthful in order to look good, or to protect another’s feelings. I mean, c’mon guys, we all know the correct answer to our lover’s question “Does my ass look too fat in these jeans?”

::blank stare::

The most powerful and loving gift we can bring to our relationships is the practice of honesty. But practicing honesty is not merely a character trait; it involves cultivating a specific set of skills, which are often at odds to our conditioned habits. There’s a character in one of my stories who’s told not to think because every time she thinks, she lies. LOL She’s based on several women I have known.

In many ways, honesty is really about paying attention. Too many people use honesty as a club – a weapon. That’s not honesty. True honesty – or at least the honesty I’m referring to, is learning to tell the truth about what is real in this moment, free of explanation, history, and blame. It’s also about creating the capacity to be still and listen, free of defense, free of giving advice, or passing judgment. I would go so far as to say that the capacity to listen is the single most important element in keeping a relationship true and as enduring expression of love.

The argument dissolves when you don’t defend; I’m listening to you, honey. If you can understand this, you can have a healthy and loving relationship based on respect and trust. Some people here laughed when I posted that I can accept self-centeredness, selfishness, and some other negative character traits. I can accept almost anything in my lover, as long as willingness is also part of the package. I can even accept not being entirely honest. If we’re honest enough, we can all cop to the fact that we’re not always entirely honest.

I think all relationships provide opportunities to feel and then call back judgment. This doesn’t mean that one doesn’t provide constructive criticism or feedback. It means that blame and finger pointing never gets us anywhere. When we blame, we’re really pointing out aspect of our selves. What’s the cliché about when you point one finger three are pointing aback at you?

She hasn’t logged into her account (so she says) and the lie sits there like a wart on her now closed page. And almost like a reflection of her page, she remains closed. Our conversations aren’t the same – there’s a gulf. She’s never posted a retraction. Has never owned up to her own lie and this is what concerns me the most. I know that I would not be comfortable allowing that lie to hang there like that. If she can’t own up to that lie, how willing is she? It saddens me, because the lie slowly erodes whatever it is I feel for her and eventually it all will dissipate like a fog until there is nothing there.

In the end, a relationship will be successful only if both people are willing to learn.

Love,

Eddie

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