How to Avoid Exhaustion


"The most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is being insincere" Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Have you ever met someone who was living a lie?

Maybe they were involved in a financial scam, having an affair, or selling something defective. We've all seen this behavior exposed by the press for years along with the resulting damage.  I've known a number of people who, unfortunately, were living duplicitous lives and when the truth came out, their marriages, families, and lives were shattered.

I always wondered, how did they keep up the act? Weren't they completely exhausted by the lies and deceit?

In hindsight it's easy to spot people's insincerity and to judge their character; "I would never do such things!" I think smugly.

However, I bet there was a time the biggest offenders couldn't imagine themselves lying either.  Short of being a Sociopath, most people drift into their problems by cutting corners, shaving the truth, and omitting inconvenient facts. They compromise their integrity in small, imperceptible ways.

In fact, the more imperceptible the compromises, the stronger the pull towards repeating the behavior.

Again, the trait is easy to see in others, but more challenging to see in ourselves.

However, when I look in the mirror long enough, I know the thing which threatens my integrity most is the casual drift toward insincerity. I'm not talking about putting on a "game face" or "digging deep" when the situation requires, but the more subtle pull of acting like all is well when it's not. It's the temptation to lock everyone out of my dark corners, my fears, my insecurities.

Social media takes the blame for causing the "put on a happy/selfie face" phenomenon, but it seems to me our on-line images are just extensions of what we do around the office, with our friends, family, and neighbors; we hedge, ignore, or gloss over reality.

  • We exaggerate our kids' accomplishments rather than mentioning their struggles.
  • We overstate our business dealings rather than showing we have room to grow.
  • We smooth over marriage tensions instead of reaching out to friends who could help.
  • We act as though we can afford the expensive purchase instead of admitting we need to live on a tight budget.
  • We schedule over rather than risk "missing something."

The list varies by person, but the our authenticity suffers regardless. Maintaining these facades - ANY facades - requires intellectual and emotional energy which leads to exhaustion. This fact leads me to only one conclusion...

Isn't it better to be transparent? Isn't it peaceful to just be yourself?