We often refer to people as being sick or being well. The truth is that there is a large spectrum between those two qualifiers. Doctors often define sickness and health by the results of a physical exam and bloodwork. They often minimize the role of diet and exercise. What about all of the other factors that contribute to whether someone is sick or well? Liking what you do for a living, the quality of your relationships, your sense of purpose, how you treat others, how you treat yourself, and your level of appreciation, integrity, and honesty are a very big part of it all.
I’ve been thinking about honesty recently, as politicians, athletes, and other people in position of influence crash down because of lies. As I gave it more thought I realized what a huge role honesty plays in being optimally well. Bad things happen when we lie to others or ourselves.
While someone may ride a wave of success, admiration, and appreciation for great achievements, the truth will either sustain or destroy those achievements. Most of the big stories that involve the crash of great people, products, or ideas start with lies. If any achievement is made on a foundation of lies, it is destined to collapse.
I was recently was thinking about Lance Armstrong’s epic rise to that of a hero and his steep decent into disgrace. Then many others popped into my head; the athletes, politicians, business leaders, and even pastors. We hear story after story about pharmaceutical companies lying to doctors about their drugs. They have repeatedly paid large fines (some as high as $3 billion) for lying about the drugs they sell.
Studies published in journals can be retracted if there is a problem with the information. Most people think these retractions are due to errors, but “the most common reason, in over 67 percent of cases, was misconduct, including fraud or suspected fraud (43.4%), duplicate publication (14.2%), and plagiarism (9.8%).” Another example of dishonesty, misleading people, and detrimental outcomes.
Just listen to the ads on television or look at the ads in magazines for weight loss, anti-aging, or improved energy. They make big claims, but provide little results. Why? Because they are not honest.
Now what about you? How honest are you? Not with others, but yourself? We tell ourselves we are going to make change, or work harder, or get in shape, but we don’t. We lie to ourselves by saying we’ll start tomorrow. We tell ourselves things are not that bad. We continually tell ourselves lies, the lies that have gotten most of us into the health mess we are in. We have heard since we were children that “honesty is the best policy.” Well it is!
Being honest with yourself is not always easy. The truth may even hurt. But it’s the truth that gets you on the right track in any area of your life. Whether it’s your relationships, career, finances, or health, taking a good hard look will help.
Getting back to Armstrong, he is where he is at today because of lies. He misled a lot of people. And even if you think back to when he was at his peak, most successful, and most respected, he was lying.
Start asking yourself the difficult questions. It is an essential step in getting back on the right track. The wellness lifestyle is one that is based on truth and integrity. This means being honest with others and with yourself.