Today I learned something.
They say to learn something you must repeat it many times in order to commit it to memory or create a habit. So, perhaps, it’s better to say that I took the first step in learning something.
So what did I learn? I learned that honesty is not always the best policy. I am nothing if not honest. If you ask my opinion, I will tell you. It’s incredibly hard for me not to offer the truth. This is both my strength and my weakness.
While it’s empowering to be the one in a group who will speak her mind and stand up for her beliefs, telling the truth isn’t always the right thing to do. If someone’s done wrong, I take no pause in telling them. Granted, how gracefully that news is delivered varies. I can do it in a gentle loving way with friends, family, and customers. Or, I can be direct and brutal if I’m angry or dealing with someone for whom I lack respect. Either way I’m not good at avoiding the truth or telling untruths just to keep things smooth.
Those untruths are usually called little white lies. Practiced as I am with selling and marketing (which requires a certain spin of words) I am lousy at telling little white lies. But, today, I did it. I told a little white lie and in retrospect it felt like the right thing to do.
So basically, I was telling someone I was angry with why I could no longer work with them. The old, usual me would have just spilled the beans, laid out all of the reasons, explained all of the injustices they’d committed. Basically, diving right into a confrontation. I wouldn’t think first, I’d just speak my mind.
Today, thanks to a friend who cued me not to “burn bridges” I provided other reasons for severing our working relationship. No confrontation. No, me solving the problems created for myself and others by this person, nope. Instead I offered some very palatable and reasonable explanation as to why I needed to move on. It was a short conversation. It ended on a positive note. It taught me something.
You see, besides being honest, I also tend to analyze and reanalyze difficult conversations and social interactions. So, in the past that honest conversation (aka confrontation) could occur over and over and over in my mind. The conflict could in fact live on that way for years! Let me tell you, that’s not healthy.
So, when I hung up the phone today and felt no reason to replay the conversation, it made me think. Not only did I not disrupt that other persons day with a load of criticism but I didn’t load up my next few years with replays of the conversation. It was done. He moved on and I moved on. He’s not angry, I’m not angry. And, boy does that feel good. I am at peace.
But, I did have to tell a little white lie to get there. Tell me, is that OK?