Originally written as a few thoughts on my Facebook Page, I’d like to delve a bit deeper into the art of lying.
Lying is seemingly the passport to success for so many; from friends to media icons to lawyers to politicians & Presidents … and it’s so easy to do. No-one will really know. It’s our little secret.
What is Lying?
In its simplest form, lying is not telling the truth or saying something false … or it can be almost, but not quite telling the truth.
We couch it up in all sorts of softly-softly, acceptable phrases: little white lie; fib; slight untruth; bending the truth.
These all mean the same thing no matter how we dress-up our terminology: we are telling someone something that is not true, is not fact, is not reality.
We learn from an early age that if we lie, we can often get away with it or get what we want. My concern is when I see adult-shaped people continuing in the practice! What annoys me more than a lot is if they are discovered, they put their hands up & say, “Sorry! I got caught!” & the rest of us say, “Well done for admitting it. That makes everything okay.”
Well I’m sorry but it doesn’t.
If a political leader or person in responsibility lies & those lies are acted upon, the consequences can be disastrous. As an example, think about the ‘Positive identification of chemical weapons in Iraq.’
On an individual level, our lies impact all of those with whom we deal; whether we lie directly to them or not.
Well at its base level, we say something that isn’t true in the hope that others will think it is. So, the follow-on is that people believe & act on what we say & these actions each have their consequences. The effects of the single lie begin to multiply & snowball. The effects are much wider than the original recipient. So when everything goes pear-shaped & the lie is revealed, the consequences are already running a course of their own.
Why Do We Lie?
Perhaps we’re feeling rubbish about ourselves & need a bit of affirmation from others through their words.
Perhaps we think that by just being associated with something or someone important, some of that importance will ‘rub off’ on us & we’ll feel happier. You know, “Oh yes! I think that!” or “I’ve done that too!” when we haven’t.
Perhaps we are so desperate to be needed that a lie gives us access to situations where we can feed off the gratitude of others.
Perhaps we’ve done or said something we regret or know was wrong & are looking for a way out.
So Where Is The Deception?
The major deception is that, apart from potentially getting others into trouble, the person who most wants or needs the help (us) loses out; people no longer believe us or trust us.
When we lie, we not only deceive others, we deceive ourselves.
Lying is based on unreality; something that didn’t happen; fiction. Once we are in the cycle, lying becomes almost addictive. We push that bit harder to see what we can get away with. Like an addiction, we get drawn in & like an addiction, our baseline shifts, in the case of lying from reality to hazy to unreality … and that is dangerous. We are no longer able to discern (sort out) in our own minds what is fact & what is fiction.
Eventually, when we no longer know what us truth & what is a lie we live in our own (unreal) world & we live our lives based on these fictional beliefs. We see things from an unreal perspective & in many cases, we lose hope.
Sadly, we see the extreme consequences of this behaviour pattern far too late, when they hit our news headlines & the results can literally be carnage.
But the effects of lying can also be emotional carnage which is equally difficult to clean up.
Many lies are not meant to create problems but to avoid them! But the aim is to avoid the problems FOR US not necessarily another party. The aim can be to shift blame, a sort of ‘smoke & mirrors approach’.
The central core of lying focuses on ‘ME’.
I may feel isolated, unloved, unneeded, unwanted etc & so I look for a quick solution to resolve that problem. Sadly, the lies I tell don’t help to remedy this at all; they make the situation worse.
Lying is a farce that will catch us, eat us up & spit us out.
Is There A Way Out Or A Solution?
Without trying to be too simplistic, I think we can begin with a change of attitude.
If you, like me, feel insecure about yourself at times it is very easy to be drawn into a ‘self-protective’ mode … & herein lies our problem. Insecurity (which is about us & our reactions to our surroundings, friends etc) & lying both stem from a focus on me. Whilst helping ourselves is really important in this, sometimes by looking outside of ourselves to the needs of others, we can see opportunities to help; NOT so that we feel good BUT because we can help SOMEONE ELSE & make them feel good. The by-product is that we feel good too, but our focus has shifted from ME to YOU (the other person).
So I shift my attitude to be ‘other person’ focussed so that THEY received the benefit, even if I don’t get thanks or praise. That’s a dangerous call & a risky step, but our perseverance will pay off.
As I have already mentioned, the issue of lying is the damage it causes us & those around us & the fact that it creates confusion where we need clarity & mistrust where we need trust. When we base our actions on truth, we use much less energy & we don’t need such a good memory! I would also argue that we feel so much more fulfilled & a greater sense of reward. In fact I would go so far as to say that many of the lies we tell would become redundant because we would be building relationships (with all of the associated benefits) as opposed to simply ‘stocking our own parlour’ to feel good.
But it was only a ‘little white lie’ so it can’t be that bad, can it?
Well actually, yes it can.
Take care until next time …