April 26, 2010
I can still picture from long ago, one of our kids, sitting next to the big drawings on the wall near the staircase, crayon in hand, adamantly saying it wasn’t her fault…and squirting huge crocodile tears that were meant to convince us that someone else had done the misdeed! We, of course, didn’t buy it, and made sure the message “all lies will be found out” got through. What seemed like a big deal a couple of decades ago, cracks me up today.
But first lies are important milestones. A first lie crosses a line, because you realize you now have a capacity you didn’t know you had before. For the extremely honest, it may result in a decision that this will never happen again, but for the sneaky ones this can be the realization of a whole new way of life, because a good liar can change reality! If we get caught we probably will side with door number one, but if we get away with lying enough times we may decide it’s no big deal. And if a person gets a thrill out of lying, it becomes easier to cross that line again, and again. Once we’ve blown it once or twice….we may tell ourselves “what the heck? I’ve already made the mistake; so what’s the point of trying to be “honest” Abe?
Many times adults will beat themselves up over past mistakes, over and over again and use them to explain why life sucks today. But with transgressions, and all other first experiences, we need to remember that one action does not define you. We can learn from our mistakes and choose a different path. AA has learned not to declare addicts who fall off the wagon “hopelessly relapsed .” Instead they say …’looks like you had a slip!” And when you slip what do you do? You stand up, dust yourself off and get back on the path being your best self; again.