STOP LYING IT IS REFRESHINGLY LIBERATING
Black lies, grey lies, white lies, those who exaggerate, manipulate, deceive, and of course, pathological liars and compulsive liars…Nothing damages relationships more. Lying destroys the trust on which healthy relationships are build.
Many people state that everyone lies. They stress that lying to a certain extent is needed as the truth would be too brutal. Then there are those who start a whole essay about “truth” when we use that word….and all appears too complicated.
But, some things are simple. I always state that everything is more complex when we look deeper into the issue…and yes, this is true for lying as well, but in the end…it is not that complex, as many rebuttals are useless and often provided to justify lying and believe me I have heard them all.
Lying when protecting someone, for instance. We observe that in the heroes in the movies we watch…those who protect the innocents while being tortured by the baddies…
Most people who lie, however, are no heroes. They do so because they gain from the lies or they lie because they have stuff to hide. Many lie to gain attention, money, sympathy, admiration, respect. There are many lies on resumes. People lie about their level of education, the years of experience and the number of projects they have been involved in. They lie about past relationships, about running marathons, the adventures they were part of, mischief they engaged in and the score on their golf scorecard.
They lie about…well…everything…for reasons that boil down to making themselves look better or more interesting. They lie to hide unethical, bad or corrupt behaviour, but obviously a lot comes out…sooner or later and to a high cost: The loss of trust and respect.
People who lie a lot and to the extent that their lies go far beyond mere exaggerations know however, that as soon as their lies come to light, it damages relationships. They have a choice; either come clean or cover up the lies with yet…more of the same. Living a life with lies means to have different scenarios prepared for different people and different places. Lies cover other lies, and so on. Life becomes very complicated.
The only way out is to come clean to themselves and to all the people they have harmed with their lies. What many do however, is not coming clean, but to declare themselves sick, burnt-out, addicted, suffering from past abuse…and, of course, they are victims of bad people. Becoming honest to oneself and others can be tough…and maybe you need some guidance in identifying how come you feel you need to be dishonest and to what extent lying is an issue for you.
- Think about your values who you aspired to be or to become when you were a kid. List these values and use these as a guideline. Who do you trust and respect? What do you admire about these people?
- How do you want to be remembered: As someone who is respected by others….or as someone who has thousands of “likes” on social media? (imagine your obituary).
- Use introspection and be brutally honest to yourself. Do you use deception, do you manipulate by omitting information, use semantics to derail others? In short are you open and honest?
- Certain things you do not have to disclose. What you disclose and how much depends on the relationship you have with the person you are communicating with. This will be the topic of another Blog post.
- What are the consequences of lying…even the so-called white lies? Are you sure, you could not have answered a question differently without lying? If you really look “fatter” or “shorter” in your white pants versus your blue one, wouldn’t you want to know ;)?
- For more information and strategies to implement that decrease rationalizations, see Dan Ariely: The Honest Truth about Dishonesty