|Michael Angier is the founder and CIO (Chief Inspiration Officer) of
SuccessNet based in
South Burlington, Vermont USA. He’s a father, husband, writer, speaker,
entrepreneur, coach and student. He's also the creator of The World Class
ONE OF MY CHILDREN was caught in a lie. As part of his punishment
for breaking our family rule of honesty, he was asked to write a
report on why lying didn't support who he was and who he wanted to
My son wrote a good report outlining
the importance of telling the truth. As an example, he used the
trouble Bill Clinton had gotten himself and the nation into by his
admitted deceptions. He wrote about how lying destroyed the trust
that's so critical in any important relationship.
After reading it, however, it seemed
to me that there was too much focus on the consequences of getting
caught rather than the virtue of being honest. Later, when we
discussed the report, I talked about those times when we lie and no
one knows about it. It was evident that he hadn't really thought
When we lie--when we operate outside
our value systems, even when we're the only one who knows we did--we
have to bury that feeling inside ourselves. I call it
"Yuck." Any negative secret feeling has to be stuffed. We
deny it to ourselves because to face it would illuminate our lack of
integrity. We either have to deal with it or stuff it. And most of
us stuff it.
When we do that, we create not only
yuck, but we have to cover the yuck over in order to protect
ourselves from its ugly truth. In doing this, we insulate ourselves
FROM ourselves. We create a barrier to our best selves. Yuck keeps
us from being clear, present and authentic. And there is no escape.
These feelings will eventually have to be reconciled.
As I shared this with my son, I
didn't really expect to have my concept quickly understood or even
accepted, but I was happily mistaken. His eyes were wide open and he
wore that seldom-seen (at least in a teenager's face)
"Aha!" expression. He asked me if I had ever written about
this concept and when I replied that I hadn't, he encouraged me to
It's helpful to question ourselves
from time to time. Where am I out of integrity? What have I done
that I need to come clean about? How can I make amends? What am I
doing that is creating yuck that must eventually be uncovered and
eliminated? Good questions all.