Why Your Mom Always Told You to Tell the Truth

If you’re like most people, you had parents that told you to—no matter what—tell the truth. When I was a kid, I used to think this was because my parents wanted me to be an obedient, good little girl—but now, as an adult, I can see that it’s about so much more than that.

Don’t get me wrong. There are still days when I roll my eyes at the idea that the absolute truth is something we owe ourselves and the people we love. There are still days when I think, You’ve gotta be kidding! This is what I signed up for? Because, as I’m sure you’ve experienced, dancing with the truth can be exhausting. And freaking tricky. Especially as far as other people are concerned.

But when I ask myself this question of why it’s so important to tell the truth, I always come back to my ultimate answer: It’s about making sure that my insides and outsides match…that the words I speak and the actions I take are a reflection of who I really am.

But every time I ask myself the question of why it’s so important to tell the truth, I always come back to my ultimate answer: It’s about making sure that my insides and outsides match…that the words I speak and the actions I take are a reflection of who I really am.

Let’s take it a little deeper, though: What does it really mean to tell the truth, and why is it valuable? Here are some of my main reasons:

1. It teaches you to be honest with yourself. It can be really easy to get swept up in our idealized images of what life is supposed to look like, or to convince ourselves that we’re okay even though that voice in our head keeps screaming that we’re not. Self-honesty lets you know exactly who you are and what you stand for—and helps you move in the direction of people and situations that support that. And, trust me, it becomes easier with practice.

2. Telling the truth creates authentic relationships. Relationships based on truthfulness aren’t always easy, but they are real, which means that they are ultimately kind. Instead of wasting time people-pleasing or making promises we have no intention of keeping, we can bring all of ourselves to the table. This is how we discover that we are capable of the rarest kind of generosity: the kind that makes no assumptions or impositions, and that allows others to be similarly and wildly themselves.

3. It saves you so much time and effort. When it comes down to it, lying takes a ton of energy. Authenticity might suck at certain points, but at least it means we aren’t creating a tangled web that someday we might have to wrestle our way out of.

The truth is so important to me that I’ve built my personal and professional life around it. I’m committed to being a truthteller and to helping other women do the same.

Now, I know you’ve heard me say “truthteller” over and over, but what does that word really mean?

Truthtelling is about sharing unapologetically from your heart, with courageous vulnerability, honesty, and realness. It’s about no bullshit. It’s about how you engage with truth, in both your life and the world around you.

Ever wonder what kind of truthteller you are? Take our quiz to find out!

Share it with your friends, and use it to inform you about how you want to move forward in your life!

And, if you’re ready to step into the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, take my signature online program Truthteller: A Course for Boldly Claiming Your Story. This course will give you all the tools, strategies, and skills you need to step into the next chapter of your life with confidence and the kick-ass empowerment of a bona-fide truthteller!

Kelly McNelis

About the Author | Kelly McNelis

Kelly McNelis is the founder of Women for One, a place where women from 50 countries share their powerful stories with the world. Over 500 Truthtellers, as Kelly calls them, have answered her call to action: Make life happen by sharing your messy brilliance. Their stories range from the devastating to the delightful, and everything in between.

Kelly is a mom, wife, friend, mentor, businesswoman, Reiki master, minister, healer, incest survivor, and firm believer that there’s no such thing as “TMI.”

Formerly a nonprofit- and small-business consultant, Kelly now travels the world as a speaker, teacher, and workshop facilitator, empowering women to find their voice and discover their true power. She has interviewed global changemakers including the late Dr. Maya Angelou, Arianna Huffington, Regena “Mama Gena” Thomashauer, and Byron Katie, on the importance of cultivating our own inner wisdom and truthtelling voices.

Kelly’s first book, Your Messy Brilliance: 7 Tools for the Perfectly Imperfect Woman, will be published by Enrealment Press in Fall 2017. Pre-order the book today!

Kelly’s work, husband, kids, and brilliantly messy life are based outside Seattle.

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