Coming clean about something important is hard to do. I have found his particularly hard to do in my life because I have a pretty big Ego. Or I should say had. There is nothing more detrimental to the Ego than lying and having to come clean. There is something insulting about one’s inability to get away with a lie, transgression, affair, etc.
This lie you’ve been carrying around is weighing heavy on your chest and you just want to unload its burden and forget it ever existed. But aren’t we supposed to be free to do whatever we want? Isn’t it the world’s fault for forcing us to lie in the first place? Isn’t lying the best policy sometimes? What they don’t know doesn’t hurt them, does it? Some people say telling the truth is the ultimate selfish act.
Let’s assume that you are one of those people that would never come clean unless you got caught. And let’s assume you just got caught. How do you come clean about something after you have been “caught” and still be able to preserve your Ego and dignity?
You are not a monster. You lied, you cheated, you betrayed. It happened. You are only human. You make mistakes. Realize this was just one of them. Make no excuses for it. Denying is worse than lying. It insults the other person’s intelligence. If you look at this as a mistake you can take responsibility for it. You are not IT. It doesn’t own you or define who you are as a person. Things happen.
Everybody hates you now. This can get lonely fast. People who are hurt by you lying and everyone else who feels for them will make sure to let you know how pissed they are and what an awful person they think you are. It’s not about them. People judge without thinking. People judge quickly and harshly. It takes a special person to feel compassion for you, usually only someone who has been in your shoes. Or someone who is objective like a therapist (although even they sometimes will judge). Give people time. This is about you. Just because you made a mistake does not mean you are unworthy of love and compassion.
Stop believing your own lie. Don’t perpetuate your false story any longer that is necessary. People you love, people who you may have hurt, they want the truth. All of it. And they want to find peace in you owning up to your lies fearlessly, accepting the consequences with dignity. Chances are, that story of yours held up pretty good and it may even continue to hold up to others. But you know the truth. Choose it. You don’t have to announce it to others. Choose the truth in silence and stop living your story. Once you do, you will be able to write a new story. About a new you.
You can change. Sure people think once a liar always a liar. Once a cheater always a cheater. But that’s entirely up to you. You can make a choice and live it. You can chose to repeat your mistakes or you can chose to learn from them instead and move on. Remember, if you continue to do the same thing, you will end up with the same result. If you chose to make different choices you will end up in new places with different results.
Rules apply to you. When you were lying or hiding, you thought they didn’t. It was simply an illusion. If rules don’t apply to you then how did you end up in the position you are now?
You can not control what others do with the truth. Just because you came clean does not mean people will forgive you right away. And you can’t put a time limit on their forgiveness. Remember when people are hurt sometimes the only way to feel better is for them to hurt you. We have a desperate need for 2 things: life to be fair and for us to be able to control things. When neither happens, we become angry and unfair. You don’t have to take it. Hurt is not an excuse for abuse.
Time heals. It’s cliché, I know. But it’s true.
Learn to ask for forgiveness and forgive yourself. What matters now is what you do with your today and your tomorrow. Hating oneself is unproductive energy. Guilt is a useless emotion. I know what you’re thinking. How do you live with yourself after hurting someone you love, living a lie, making a mess of your life? How do you find your way when you are lost? The truth is this is an opportunity to transform, learn, grow and move on.