It’s midnight and you just remembered you signed up to make brownies for your kid’s bake sale tomorrow. With one eye half open you pull all the ingredients out of the pantry (aka the box of brownie mix) and then reach for the butter and eggs out of the refrigerator to mix with the powder. Only problem is your out of 100% real butter and are left with only margarine. You figure you’ll give it a go with the fake stuff since it’s late and you’re way too tired to go to the store.

Twelve to 15 minus later the timer goes off, you pull the baked chocolate goodness out of the oven, and instantly you discover you’ve got more of a cake-like substance than the gooey brownies you expected. You do a quick ingredient check to make sure you put in all the right parts and pieces, when finally the a-ha moment hits you: the margarine.

Even if you’ve never experienced this sort of situation while baking brownies, using a butter substitute is no different than using a substitute for truth in every aspect of your life. While it’s easy in today’s society to feel pressured into telling “little white lies,” the end result of the process will never be as authentic and delicious as it was originally intended without using the purest ingredients. If you find yourself struggling lately to trust that honesty truly is the best policy, try these four key ingredients in your next recipe and see if you can’t tell the difference in the finished product.

  1. Speak your truth with love and respect. Mark Twain once said, “Always speak your truth — you’ll never have to remember what you’ve said.” If nothing else, that should take a huge load off your mind! Who’s got time to remember everything you’ve said and done, let alone try to cover your tracks following that “little white lie”? And when you’re sharing your truth and your perspective with someone, how can they really ever argue with what is YOUR reality? They might come back with, “Well, the way I see it…” and all of a sudden you’re in the middle of a healthy conversation. And there’s definitely nothing wrong with that!
  2. Give what you hope to get. “What goes around comes around,” is another cliche to keep chewing on, so to speak. If you’re wanting to get honesty, you’ve got to be willing to give it. At first being authentic may seem somewhat foreign considering you might be the only one practicing it; but soon enough, people will begin to either follow your lead or fall off your radar depending on their own level of commitment to enjoying a delectable life of their own. Regardless, your relationships will much richer and full of quality conversations and interactions.
  3. Practice makes permanent. “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.” Remember when you were first learning how bake — from scratch? You could read the recipe but until you practiced putting all the ingredients together a few times…and tested how long to leave the batter in the oven…you didn’t know exactly what outcome you would gt. After about a dozen or so times, however, you found yourself free from even having to pull out the recipe and always got the same tasty end result. Honesty and integrity offer you that same freedom but also take practice to perfect if you haven’t used them in a while. There will be times when a shortcut or substitute for the real truth will seem easier and less painful for everyone, but keep in mind what you’re baking — a cake or brownies. Do you really want to have to go back and start all over when you could have had brownies after the first try?
  4. Own it. “Life is happening FOR you…embrace it.” You deserve to have your dreams fulfilled. You’ve worked so hard for so long, and it’s time you realize you can and should have the life you’ve always longed to live. Truth, trust and authenticity only speed up the manifestation process of your desires. The more you’re able to step into your destiny with integrity, the more you’ll be able to handle the purpose you were put here to fulfill. If you do happen to hit a snag along the way, just remember it was only there to get your attention, teach you what thoughts and habits do and don’t benefit you and get you back on your path to success.

Life — like baking brownies — really is simple: When you use authentic ingredients and mix everything with love, you’ll be able to enjoy the delicious finished product in its purest form…and with a little extra frosting to top it all off.