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"Clean Out the Yuck in Your Life" featured as part of SpiritSite.com's "Coaching Corner" column, is Copyright 2001 by Michael Angier. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"We either have to deal with it or stuff it. And most of us stuff it."


  Michael Angier, 
Clean Out the Yuck

Recently, one of my children was caught in a lie. As part of his punishment for breaking our family rule of honesty, he was asked to write a report on why lying didn't support who he was and who he wanted to be.

My son wrote a good report outlining the importance of telling the truth. As an example, he used the trouble Bill Clinton had gotten himself and the nation into by his admitted deceptions. He wrote about how lying destroyed the trust that's so critical in any important relationship.

After reading it, however, it seemed to me that there was too much focus on the consequences of getting caught rather than the virtue of being honest. Later, when we discussed the report, I talked about those times when we lie and no one knows about it. It was evident that he hadn't really thought about that.

When we lie -- when we operate outside our value systems, even when we're the only one who knows we did -- we have to bury that feeling inside ourselves. I call it "Yuck." Any negative secret feeling has to be stuffed. We deny it to ourselves because to face it would illuminate our lack of integrity. We either have to deal with it or stuff it. And most of us stuff it.

When we do that, we create not only yuck, but we have to cover the yuck over in order to protect ourselves from its ugly truth. In doing this, we insulate ourselves from ourselves. We create a barrier to our best selves. Yuck keeps us from being clear, present and authentic. And there is no escape. These feelings will eventually have to be reconciled.

As I shared this with my son, I didn't really expect to have my concept quickly understood or even accepted, but I was happily mistaken. His eyes were wide open and he wore that seldom-seen (at least in a teenager's face) "Aha!" expression. He asked me if I had ever written about this concept and when I replied that I hadn't, he encouraged me to do so.

It's helpful to question ourselves from time to time. Where am I out of integrity? What have I done that I need to come clean about? How can I make amends? What am I doing that is creating yuck that must eventually be uncovered and eliminated? Good questions all.

Michael Angier is the founder and president of Success Networks. Success Net's mission is to inform, inspire and empower people to be their best -- personally and professionally. You can download their free eBooklet, KEYS TO PERSONAL EFFECTIVENESS from their website at http://www.SuccessNet.org (site will open in a new window).

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