The Twisted Path of Honesty
Honesty is a word you see tossed around a lot these days. It’s being used to justify all sorts of inhumane, unconscionable behavior. Like sarcasm when it’s misused, honesty can cut and wound more deeply than a surgeon’s scalpel, and with more lasting and debilitating results.
Think about the parent who continually berates their child for failing to measure up to their expectations. Maybe the child is falling short of some imaginary mark the parent sets. Perhaps that mark is well beyond the child’s current capabilities. Either way, it’s honest to say the child failed, but at what cost? Will the child keep trying to please the parent and reach every higher, or will they become discouraged by the lack of acknowledgement for their efforts and stop trying? How many of you were that child, and grew up believing it wasn’t worth trying because you’d never be good enough?
I, for one wasted a lot of productive years because a toxic cocktail of sarcasm and honesty without compassion taught me to believe I’d never reach my goals if I couldn’t even reach the ones my parents had set for me. Pardon my language, but what a crock of shit!
Children Are Taught to Fail or Succeed
As children, you might see your parents as almighty gods who set expectations for you; when to potty train, when to feed yourself, when to crawl, when to walk, when to contribute to the household by doing chores…the list is endless. At what point do your expectations become your own instead of someone else’s? For some, the answer is “never”, while others take control over their lives much sooner. I’m one of the lucky ones who finally figured it out, though releasing the shackles of my upbringing took a lot of effort, and no small amount of pain.
It’s painful to learn the people tasked to love, guide, and encourage you left out some serious components. While they guided you to the best of their abilities, tacking their own expectations to your psyche with the subtlety of a staple gun, they did so without concern for your growth and ability to ultimately be your own guide—set your own expectations. And they failed to encourage you when you didn’t hit the mark on the first or second try. You never learned it was OK to fail a few times, but to recognize with each try you were going a little further; reaching a little higher.
While it was true you’d missed, and they weren’t wrong in saying you had failed, the constant failures and resulting honesty (or sometimes sarcasm) caused so much pain it was easier to give up entirely than suffer each time you tried and missed. Unfortunately, even when you left their direct influence, those failures and the pain stayed with you, holding you back from exposing yourself to cruel remarks and sneers if you tried and failed again.
A Society of Blamers
Granted, not all children grow up in an environment that stifles their willingness to continue to try, and come back fighting after each failure. But our society has evolved to mimic the kind of parents who see all the failures, and ignore the efforts. It highlights, and even mocks the times you fall down, and never once recognizes or applauds the times you get back up, much less when you do succeed. Instead, it raises the bar just before you reach it, and mocks you for another failure.
No wonder so many are angry; so quick to accept a suggestion that blames someone else for their failures. You have to win once in awhile to be willing to keep playing the game—unless of course you’re a masochist! You need to hear a word of praise every so often so you’ll see your efforts are worth the struggle and the pain. Else, why bother?
But is blaming someone else really being honest with them? With yourself? How can anyone else be responsible for your failure to reach your goals, or worse, the goals that someone else assigned to you, and you didn’t have the guts or the strength to challenge? Parents might affect your first experience with conditioning and goal setting, but there comes a time when you’re in charge of your own life. Whether or not you accept that responsibility makes it no less true. Allowing your parents, or some other authority figure to continue to set your expectations makes you no less responsible for your own future. Perhaps that’s why many relinquish that responsibility to a controlling mate.
Are You Letting Yourself be Controlled?
I suspect some find it easier to both relinquish control and assign blame as it takes the responsibility off themselves—or so they believe. In truth, they still have the responsibility, but choose to deny it so they can blame someone else when they ultimately fail. What they’re really doing is making little to no effort because the goals they’re reaching for aren’t what they want. In a sense, they’re predisposed to failure, and may even like it that way. At the end of the day, they can hide behind an assertion that “it’s not my fault”, and blame someone else who had the audacity to take responsibility for themselves, and overcame the same basic odds.
They can feel justified, and even self-righteous in claiming others took away their opportunities when in reality, they took them away all by themselves by giving up long before success was even on the horizon. It’s a lot harder to admit you’ve stood in your own way than it is to blame your stagnation on blacks, or homosexuals, or Muslims, or Jews, or Women, or whoever your scapegoat du jour might be, than to admit you failed yourself.
History is full of people who raped, pillaged, stole, and otherwise grabbed what they believed they deserved from those they’d decided didn’t deserve the fruits of their own labor. Our society is rife with those who still believe the dangerous lies they not only tell themselves, but which are being substantiated, not by those who wish them well, but by people who’ve learned how to press a few hot buttons to manipulate the herd mentality into doing their bidding.
Buying Into Rhetoric While Relinquishing Responsibility
That’s what happens when you have a large portion of society who believes they’re not responsible. They’re easily led because they want someone to tell them what to do; how to believe; and worse, who to blame. And you end up with lemmings who are willing to turn a blind eye and accept rhetoric like this:
You see Trump’s arrogance, I see Trump’s confidence. You see Trump’s nationalism, I see Trump’s patriotism. You hear Trump’s unsophisticated words, I hear Trump’s honesty. You see Trump’s racism, I see Trump’s words being misconstrued and twisted by the media daily to fit their narrative. You see Trump as a Republican, I see Trump as a Patriot. You see Trump as a dictator, I see Trump as a leader. You see Trump as an Authoritarian, I see Trump as the only one willing to fight for our freedoms. You see Trump as childish, I see Trump as a fighter, unwilling to cave in to the lies. You see Trump as an unpolished politician, I see Trump as a breath of fresh air. You think Trump hates immigrants, I know Trump is married to an immigrant. You see Trump putting an end to immigration in America, I see Trump welcoming immigrants to America LEGALLY. You see Trump’s cages at the border, I see Obama’s cages at the border. You see Trump with a struggling economy, I see Trump with an amazing economy until the Democrats shut it down. You see the violence in the streets and call it “Trump’s America”, I see the violence in the streets of Democratic run cities who are refusing Trump’s help and call it “Liberal America.” You want someone more Presidential, I’m happy we have someone who finally doesn’t just talk the talk but actually walks the walk. You and I? We see things very differently.
Do we really see things differently, or are these the words of someone who wants justification for abdicating responsibility for their own future, and a reason to be hateful, cruel, and unkind without remorse or consequences? You decide. But before you do, I suggest you do a little research into the dialogues in Germany as Hitler rose to power. If you’re not shaking in your boots afterwards, you might be allowing someone else to take the lead.
Every Grateful I’m Responsible for My Own Destiny
My gratitudes today are:
- I’m grateful for opposing viewpoints, as long as we can communicate with kindness and compassion.
- I’m grateful for my quiet place where I can go to refresh and recharge, even if I know it’s at risk right now.
- I’m grateful for my ability to express, even when my opinions aren’t popular or even well-received.
- I’m grateful for being able to move my body when my brain is spinning out of control.
- I’m grateful for abundance; love, communication, compassion, friendship, balance, peace, harmony, joy, health, acceptance, philanthropy, and prosperity.
Love and Light
About the Author
Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income.
If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward