Last year, my “thing” was to read 52 books in 52 weeks.  This year, inspired by a book I read last year, I decided to do my own Happiness Project.  You can read about The Happiness Project here and my own thoughts about it here.

For January, I am speaking only the truth. I don’t tell BIG LIES, but like most people, I am guilty of the occasional white lie. I think they are harmless, told to spare feelings, not necessarily to make myself look better in a situation. But I wondered what would happen if I spoke only the truth.

Talking about it over dinner the other night, my friend Lisa laughed when I told her. She said, “I lie a thousand times a day. ‘Mommy, do we have any cookies?’ ‘No.'” And that I totally get. Those are the easy things to stop doing or to justify. But what about those times when it is certainly easier to say what the other person wants to hear, but it isn’t the truth?

Before I speak, I now think about what I really feel is the truth of a statement. I weigh saying nothing at all. And I weigh the white lie. I track my progress every day, and the first few days of January were a piece of cake. Then, inevitably, I had my first big challenge. A friend confided that she is having an affair and wanted to know my thoughts on the situation.

I paused for a few moments, collected my thoughts, stuck to my commitment and told her the truth. Thankfully, my truth was something that she absorbed without ill feelings (that I’m aware of) towards me for being honest with her. The easiest thing, by far, would have been to say what I thought she wanted to hear. But I didn’t. And while it was hard, I am glad I did it.

Similarly, I was glad when I didn’t make excuses and told a friend that I preferred to stay on my side of town the day the big snowstorm was to hit here last week. He had invited me to his place for a chili cook-off. And I wanted to go. But if the weather came earlier than predicted, I didn’t want to be away from home in a city that is rarely prepared for winter weather. I could have made a million excuses why I couldn’t be there. It ended up being easier to just be honest. He understood completely.

So far, this has been an interesting undertaking. It gives me pause when I’m speaking, because speaking truthfully does not mean speaking without tact. And I still think there are situations where no good comes from the truth and feelings are spared by a white lie. But this is an interesting undertaking, nonetheless.