Tell Me Lies

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Chapter 1:
Since the New Year started, I’ve been listening a lot more to my favorite band, Fleetwood Mac. I grew up in a household with a record player and my parents had a lot of great records: Steve Miller, the Doobie Brothers, Hall and Oats, and of course Fleetwood Mac.

Chapter 2:
My biological father was not really a super great guy. While his intentions might have been good, he treated the people around him (especially those who loved him most) quite horribly. He threatened my mom and when I was older I discovered tapes of phone calls (yes, they were actual tapes) my mom had recorded as evidence in case anything ever happened.

Chapter 3:
When I was older (I think around 5 or 6) I was fortunate enough to have my step-dad adopt me from my biological father and that is who I refer to as my dad.

Chapter 4:
When I would sit and listen to Fleetwood Mac as a pre-teen on the record player, the song “Tell Me Lies,” always made me think of my biological father. I strongly believe that because of this experience, I have this odd and relatively annoying ability to sniff out people with selfish intentions, toxicity and narcissism. It’s also not great because combined with my other odd and relatively annoying skill of being a truth-teller, it’s not uncommon for me to be disliked by people who fall into this category.

Chapter 5:
What I’ve always been fascinated by, since this experience at a young age, is how everyone has different ranges of what a lie is. On the surface, it seems obvious – a lie is something that isn’t true. But as we know, everyone’s perspective determines what their truth is.

Chapter 6:
I’ve referenced this book before and it’s available in the Streamline library. The Four Agreements has a very specific definition of honesty. Brian (my husband) read this book recently and actually adapted this portion of the book as one of his New Year’s resolutions. The Four Agreements include one agreement, called:

Be Impeccable with Your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.

From my perspective, the most important part – and one of the most difficult parts when we’re challenged by those who don’t – is to Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.

I truly believe if every person made the promise to use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love, we would live in a much more harmonious and positive world. If you read the book, you’ll also know that the 4th agreement is to always do your best. The point is that we don’t have to be perfect at being impeccable with our word, but if we’re constantly trying our best to be impeccable with our word, we are succeeding.

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Giving Gifts

Brian and I were spending way too much time (as usual) walking through Homegoods last weekend when I saw a canvas with a quote that caught my eye:

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The quote really resonated with me and got my mind going down several different paths. Obviously with the Holidays upon us, gifting is abundant. Personally, I’ve always been big into giving gifts. I am not naturally good at verbally communicating my appreciation for people, so I tend to do so via writing and gifting. I’ve always believed that the definition of a gift is accurate in that there should be no expectation of compensation or reciprocity. I have seen this in so many people all over the world. People dedicate their time to helping those less fortunate, even those they may not really like or love, simply because it’s the right thing to do.

Obviously giving something to other people makes us feel good too, but there have been some challenges to gifting that extend beyond the self-gratitifcation rationale. Some sociologists have argued that there is an inherent expectation of reciprocity when people give gifts (example here). I’ve read though some of these concepts, and while they may be valid for a certain sub-set of people, I don’t believe they are the norm. I have seen way too often people step up to help people without expectation.
Like the woman who held a stranger in her arms for hours after he was shot in Las Vegas. 
Like the homeless man who turned over a backpack with $42k in it to the police. 
Like the single mom who paid the bill for some government employees who weren’t getting paid because of the shutdown.
I’d prefer to focus on the many people in the world doing things for others or giving gifts to others without expectation and use that as my inspiration. We may not all have the artistic talents of Pablo Picasso, but we can all use our blessings and gifts and share them with others. I hope you all enjoy your time with family and friends and enjoy the experience of giving and receiving gifts as gestures of love and appreciation.