Published: 11/14/2014 - Updated: 02/13/2015
Author: MSc. Miriam Reyes
There are a lot of cultures and areas in which it is taught from an early age that lying is “bad”. Everyone has told a lie at some point, be it big or small. Some people say that lying is necessary and it even produces good results for them at times, while others believe that it should be avoided because it leads to nothing good.
The truth is, you could say in regards to character, there is nothing that is bad. The truth is, be it “good or bad”, there is something that pushed us to assume certain attitudes and to make certain decisions, and a lot of times, this can’t be taken so lightly. What is it that pushes us to lie?
Why do we lie?
A lie is one way of covering up what really happened. When you lie, you are in some way trying to avoid certain consequences that you don’t want to deal with, which would take place if you were to tell the truth. There could be several reasons to mask what really happened.
Some reasons for lying:
- Because you can’t face certain consequences if you were to tell the truth as it is.
- Because you fear someone will pull away from you or disapprove of you if you told them what truly happened.
- Fearing rejection or looking bad to someone.
- Children and youth especially lie because they fear rejection, judgement, punishment, or a lack of admiration from the adults around them.
- Lack of self-confidence.
- Fear of losing love, affection, help or someone’s respect.
- Fear of losing your image in others’ eyes and that they discover who you truly are, like a weakness, etc.
- Fear of not fulfilling expectations or ideals that other people place on you.
Why did we learn to lie?
If you look at it, there is a need to be approved of, accepted, loved or understood, behind the majority of fears that bring one to lying. No child lies if he/she feels themselves in a warm environment where they are not judged, but rather guided lovingly. Judgement and disapproval teach children to lie and to hide behind words or false attitudes. Disapproval and hardness prompt children to create masks and artificial personalities in order to be able to exist in an environment where they run the risk of being rejected or punished for what they truly think or feel.
A young person who lies is a child that has learned to become strategic in order to get what they want and win love or some other thing that represents value for him/her (like permission to go out with friends or a partner, for example). Young people also lie to avoid punishment or rejection from those that surround them. An adult that lies, on the other hand, is actually just a child in some way that doesn’t know or truly accept him/herself; they might disapprove or not admit certain traits in their life or personality. This creates a conflict to present themselves as they really are. So they have to lie or try to be what they aren’t in order to interact with others.
Is it “bad” to lie?
The truth is, it’s neither “good nor bad”; lies are rather just actions that have consequences, like all other actions. One of those consequences is that life could become something you don’t really enjoy. Living life behind a “disguise” is not the same as living it as you truly are. It’s true that lying can decorate life with something “spicy”, and it could even become a strategic ability to get what you want. But at the end of the day, lying is just a shield that blocks us from living life as deeply as possible.
If you lie, you might even feel successful at fooling others, but you cannot live a life fooling yourself forever from yourself.
What should I do in order to stop lying?
If you feel like you lie a lot, or it’s hard for you to tell the truth, the first thing you could do is to stop judging yourself or disapproving of yourself. One way of bringing down the shield of lies is to get to know who you really are and to accept your weaknesses as well as your strengths. Accept yourself and stop criticizing yourself is an important step for beginning to be sincere and honest with who you are. Be sincere with yourself, learn to see what you like and what you don’t like, and then accept it. And when you have to make a decision about something, be confident in what you feel. Avoid responding with elaborate phrases or social cliches, try to make your responses connected to what you think and feel. Keep in mind that you can share your point of view with others if you learn to listen to them without feeling offended or attacked. Don’t just say meaningless things, try to always speak friendly but choosing your words from what you truly think, without worrying about if someone else agrees or not.
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If you need to confess something to someone but you don’t dare, all you need to do is become clear about what you feel and then put yourself in the position of whoever will be receiving the news. No one likes to be lied to and, even though the truth is sometimes painful, it’s always best to put the cards on the table.
These brief pieces of advice are just one of the several things you could do to not lie and to start to live your true self in this world, which needs so badly people who are honest, simple, and creative.
Revised by: Dra. Loredana Lunadei on 02/13/2015
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