Cowardly Lyin’

Today is Yom Kippur. The Day of Atonement is the holiest day of the year for Jews. I am not of the Jewish faith, and I do not pretend to fully comprehend all that this day means for people of the faith. But I do understand what it means to repent and atone for my sins.

Cowardly Lyin' eroded driftwood log looks like lion head

My Driftwood Lion I found on Hell’s Half Acre Island, Maine. Photo by Brad W. Smith

Repentance begins with acknowledging that I’ve done something wrong.  It requires being open, first with myself and my thinking, and then with others in the way I talk to them. It also takes courage to face up to even plain vanilla transgressions. You know, like the full out shouting match, the missed deadline, or the un-met commitment.

What intrigues me most is the transgression that may be the easiest of all – the lie I tell myself about these things. I couldn’t help myself. The deadline wasn’t important. I didn’t really make the commitment. The funny thing is, while these lies are the easiest, they are the most harmful because they eat away at my self-esteem.

Lyin’ Ends When Acknowledgement Begins

Atonement requires that we not only acknowledge the transgression but that we apologize and seek forgiveness. It also requires that we act in a way opposite to that of the sin. So, when I recognize that I’ve been lying to myself about something, I take action to correct it, and then forgive myself for it. There’s no doubt that when I have completed this process, I feel better about myself.

And like the Cowardly Lion in “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,when I take these steps, I realize that in fact, I had the courage I needed all along.

PS: Last week, Steven Berglas, a Forbes contributor, offered “The Top 10 Reasons Lying Will Corrode Your Self-Esteem,” You can read it here.

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Filed under Courage, Honesty, Trust

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