Honesty- sounds easy, but is it?

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Picture to the left is a self-portrait of my son Evan.  I told him I would share it with the world.  We think it is really funny.

My last newsletter got so much reaction- (so many of you relate to the idea of running around doing too much-not doing anything well) I just wanted to take it one step further.  Have you ever caught yourself not being totally honest?   Let me caveat that with:  I am totally honest when it comes to important issues; but, there times when I am not quite honest.  The other day my friend and I took our kids to the Mummy Exhibit at the California Science Center.  We bought a combo pack to watch the movie at the IMAX then reserved our time to walk through the Mummy Exhibit.  Lots of preparation.  Shortly after our return, another friend called me and asked, “How was it”?  “Amazing”, I gushed.  But, after I hung up, I thought about what an exhausting day it had been.  It was 100 degrees in L.A., my youngest son who struggles with eczema, spent most of our visit itching and asking me to carry him.   The movie was sort of “cheesey” trying to emulate ancient egyptian times with scantily clad women.  My boys begged for gummy treats the first 20 minutes- making me crazy (I gave in of course).   I laughed out loud, called my friend back and said, “The Mummy’s were sort of cool, but the rest of the adventure was not that enjoyable”.

I think my first answer: “amazing” was the answer that was expected.  Right?  It sounds great.  Makes me sound like an incredible mom:  alway positive and nothing too overwhelming for me to handle. Another example: when a friend asks me to help them with their kids, and I say no problem- even if it means me having to lug an extra 50lb seat from my garage into the back of my outdated Yukon just to fit their kid in.  On the way, I drop it on my toe, and cuss myself out for having said no problem to the extra kid (not always the case…but sometimes).  Once I asked a sick friend if I could grab them something at the market.  They gave me a short list (I was happy to help) then I forgot one of their items so I had to get back in the car and go get that item instead of just telling the friend I forgot it.

Why do I do this?  I can’t be sure, but let me say this: a couple of times when I was brutally honest, it back-fired.   I don’t want to open pandora’s box by giving a specific example- one of my readers might recognize the story and that is not the point here.  I WILL give a general example.  One time I said that I didn’t have time to do something someone asked.  I was just being honest- I didn’t have the patience or energy to spend my time doing this particular task when it was requested.  In the end, this person told several others that I was just being self-centered and thinking my time was more important than theirs.  But that wasn’t true at all.  You see, none of us know what others go through.  I don’t share all of my personal struggles with the world.  I would have been better off saying I had a doctors appointment (which I didn’t) or saying that one of my kids was sick (which they weren’t) in order to avoid the scrutiny of another.  Instead, I took the honest approach and I ended up feeling totally uncomfortable with my honesty.  God forbid others think I am self-centered!

In the end, what I am getting at:  the reason I take on more than I can handle, say “yes” when I wish I said “no” or say no problem even when something ends up being a big pain in the arse, is because I care what others think of me.  I am trying to work my way into a middle ground.   Less concerned what others think, and more concerned with how I feel deep down in the pit of my belly.  I believe it will lead me to a place where I can enjoy more moments and time with my family vs. running around like a mad-woman leading everyone to believe that I can do it all.

PS:  The only reason I pause before I hit publish is because I don’t want my friends and family to think that I am talking about them or  try and extrapolate this blog into something that it is not.   I like to help others, do favors when someone needs a hand and reciprocate to all of those who help me in my life.  I am just sharing this thought so that we can all reflect on our own situation and be compasaionate to another when the answer to a request is “Sorry, I can’t”.

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