Welcome brother! If this is your first time reading Woodshop Wisdom, this is a place where, every Monday, we answer a specific question from the men’s community. We give straight-forward answers to a variety of relationship problems and the challenges men face everyday as a provider, father and husband. And often we will challenge you to go much deeper in your understanding of the problem and how to think about it more effectively.
Let’s get started.
My side of the family is having an anniversary party for my grandparents. My wife doesn’t want to go and she told me to “tell them I’m sick.” This is the third family event she missed. I am done with the excuses and lies. What do I do here?
My answer to this was pretty short and sweet. And below is how I explained to him WHY I answered it this way.
Hey brother, this is simple. Something as short and sweet as this will do fine.
‘Hey babe, whether you go or not is up to you. Seriously, I’m good. But I won’t lie for you. How about I tell them the truth…that you’re simply not up for a social event right now…that you need some time to yourself? I’ll be honest for you…but I won’t act out of my own integrity for you.’ “
I have to be honest with you. No really, I do. One of my core operating principles (or NUTS) is Honesty even when no one is watching.
I didn’t have this clearly spelled out at one time. I used to go with the flow and aim to please no matter how it affected my internal bearings.
They were small white lies, told not to hurt people, but to “protect” them.
“I am feeling sick, stomach bug”… was a good one to get out of get-togethers I was not looking forward to.
“I sent that in the mail two days ago”… was to cover my tracks for procrastinating.
“I am on my way home right now. Traffic is crazy”… as I scramble to my car running late again.
I was letting myself down time and time again and didn’t even realize it.
I was chiseling away at my core values and wondered why I felt like crap.
Each time I did it I created another false reality I had to exist in. The little lies kept me busy making sure my tracks were covered and no one caught on.
I got away with them for a while. At least I did until all the little worlds around me came crashing down under the weight of living a life confined by what I thought other people want to see in me.
I was really asking for people to fall in love with the mask I was wearing.
I struggled for years wanting to feel loved and respected. I craved to feel seen and heard.
Freedom for me was on the other side of owning my truth.
I unburdened myself by speaking my truth in every situation.
You would think it hurts at first.
What will people think of me?
How could anyone love me if they knew the truth?
I can confirm people will fall deeper in love with you when they get to truly know you.
Your true depth is the most lovable aspect of you. You are love from your core being, anything else is a lie covering up that fact.
Honor yourself and honor those around you by being truthful in all circumstances.
It is the only way to find the freedom, love, and compassion you seek.
Is one of your core operating principles honesty? Mine is clearly defined now.
Model for your family what honesty looks like. They will follow your lead.
If they don’t, it can be you are misaligned in you core values. The symptoms are the small white lies, the problem is deeper than that.
Thoughts From The Woodshop
“Um, no, your material didn’t come in yesterday…Yes, I will find out when it does and call you.” I hung up the phone and scrambled back into the shop almost tripping over the pile of oak that had come in yesterday morning. The oak that the customer just asked me about.
It was such a quick lie that I almost didn’t catch it. Far easier to shift the blame to someone else and not take the heat. Far easier than owning the behavior that got me into this mess.
Except it wasn’t.
This shell game was messing with my life. It was chopping away at my integrity, and I was feeling worn out and tired.
I could not fix the problem if the problem was hidden under misconceptions and untruths.
The truth will set you free. I was about to test that.
Ever since I personally took a hard look at my core operating principles and applied them to all aspects of life my world turned around.
When I honored myself and my integrity, I was then able to honor those around me with the truth.
What I found after that first step was understanding, forgiveness, and acceptance. Isn’t that what we are all after?
I had customers who understood and waited. I had contractors accept where things were at and re-planned accordingly. I found forgiveness when I was honest and truthful.
Now, when you call me, you will get a straight, no bull-shit answer. We can only move forward in our relationship together if the truth is crystal clear between us.
Where to go from here?
I see you man. I see that you are ready to engage, you are ready to create something new. I see that you are ready to pick up the tools we have available and get back to building something in your life that is beautiful, impactful, and meaningful. I look forward to seeing it.
It all starts with a question – what do you want to build?
Most of us men spend a lot of time in our heads. We have conversations with ourselves but never show that thinking and feeling side to anyone else. The question and answer example above is exactly like the wise conversations we have every day ALL day in the Mentoring Men Community. This is the smartest, strongest, most caring and courageous group of men I’ve ever known.
We meet weekly for group coaching calls and have deep conversations with men around the world 24/7. This online men’s group is like none other out there. This is what we hear.
“Thank you, Thank You, Thank You for reminding me of who I really am and helping me kill that annoying hummingbird. My wife has seen an immediate change in my attitude and outlook while she has struggled to make progress of her own. She has even made the statement that “I want to be where you are and want to find something that I can connect with and that will make me a better person.”
Join us and start changing your life faster than you ever thought possible.