Everyone tells the complete and honest truth all the time and everything a person says is taken at face value. This premise is humorous because it’s so contrary to the world we live in. A lie is a false statement that is told as fact. Imagine this: telling someone you were breaking up with he/she because of their looks, admitting to your boss that you’ve read his private emails or confessing to the days that you’re so depressed you stay in bed crying. Crazy concept right?
Realistically (which is unfortunate), we do not live in a polite and honest society. If we do end a relationship, we tend to think of a courteous reason. Why are we so deceitful when we claim that we value honesty in our interpersonal relationships? If someone asks how we’re doing, we respond that we’re fine, when in actuality; we may be hurting inside due to a fight with a family member. In other words, we ALL lie. But why? It amazed me to witness my son lie for the first time. Just after his second birthday, I remember asking him if he had just kicked the cat (seeing the incident as I left the room).
His simple and effortless response, ‘No’. Is it engrained in us to not tell the truth because we are simply afraid of the consequences? Lying commences so young and we continue to lie throughout life until we die. Somewhere along the road of life, I presume a child’s imagination turns into telling stories which turns into lying for our own benefit.
Considerably, we are capable of being proud of our lies. Lying is considered a sign of intelligence and is measured as a cognitive skill because it takes some aptitude to recognize the way things are and then create and present an alternative to that reality. Unfortunately it’s a skill that we implement frequently. The ability to lie and not realize it, is a gift unique to humans. Not only do we deceive others, we can trick ourselves into believing something that’s not true. The reasoning is motivation for lying is usually tied up in self-esteem and self-preservation. We lie in an effort to create the best possible version of ourselves and we lie so that we don’t have to face the consequences that our other, less-perfect self incurs. That means we may lie about our accomplishments or skills so that others respect us more, or to cover up mistakes so that we don’t lose that respect. We’ll also lie about mistakes and misdeeds to avoid punishment. Sometimes we do it to avoid hurting someone else’s feelings…which has the additional benefit of ensuring that the other person maintains their respectable opinion of us.
People lie because it works and because it has benefits. Children avoid punishment by lying about who scribbled on the walls with permanent marker, coworkers get higher raises by taking credit for work tasks they didn’t complete and partners get love by assuring a potential mate that he/she doesn’t look fat in those jeans. When lying ceases to work or when the lie is discovered only then do some people tell the truth. The truth reveals itself in time and if one continues to hold onto a lie…guilt will be revealed in many aspects in your life. Set an example to those around you and tell the truth. Start small by approaching the subject gently and honestly. Trust me…people will start respecting you more due to leading by example, trusting your input and admiring your strength.