Recently I got called out for not telling the whole truth. It wasn’t that I was lying, I told myself, it was that I didn’t want to take the time and energy to explain myself fully. I thought if I just said the important parts, that would be good enough. I didn’t have to the tell whole truth. Besides, I’m not a liar.
Until someone notices you didn’t tell the whole truth. Until someone questions you and thinks you’re a liar and makes you wonder if you’re even a decent human being. Until someone calls you a liar.
My first instinct was to defend myself. Me? Of course not. No, never.
But really I am a liar. I’m kidding myself to think that not telling the whole truth is somehow not lying.
And I think a lot of us are kidding ourselves about that, too.
I sometimes don’t tell the whole truth for convenience, or to avoid hurting someone’s feelings, or to make myself seem better than I am. I think I can skip the messy parts and only mention the good, so that’s what I do.
But that’s entirely hypocritical.
I sit here and write blog post after blog post about how life is about exposing your insecurities, admitting failures, owning up to mistakes, and then I don’t tell the whole truth when someone just wants to know why I’m late.
I was late because I don’t have my life together, I should have said.
I was late because as much as I pretend that I can budget every minute of my time, I can’t.
I was late because I’m a human being and I can’t do everything perfectly.
I was late because life is stressful, and sometimes it hits you all at once, I should have said.
In my moment of panic after realizing I would be 2.5 minutes late, when I am known for being a timely person, so many thoughts went through my head:
This is it. They’ll think I’m incompetent.
I blew it. I can’t even get here on time so they’ll know I have nothing to offer.
I’m not good enough. I’m never good enough.
How sad that we give in to societal pressures that say we must be perfect. How sad that I think I’m incompetent because I’m a few minutes late. How sad that I think I’m not good enough because I made one mistake.
You are good enough.
And the beautiful thing is that the people that matter will shrug off your mistakes. They’ll forgive you. And even better, they’ll understand. They’ll understand that you’re not perfect and that you can’t be. They’ll understand because they’ve been late before, too.
It took someone calling me out for not telling the whole truth for me to realize that telling the whole truth is okay. It’s okay for me to say that I was late because I had a rough day and because I fell behind in my schedule. Because that’s the truth! And it can’t be argued with because we all have rough days, we’re all not perfect, and we’re all just doing the best we can.
I don’t have to leave out the messiness. I don’t have to justify my tardiness. I just have to admit the beautiful truth that I will never meet everyone’s expectations.
Tell the whole truth. Tell the parts you wish you didn’t have to expose. And know that the right people will know how to respond. They’ll understand because they’ve been there, too. And don’t let society tell you that because you made one little mistake that you’re somehow inferior.