The subject of lying is something that has been knocking around in my consciousness for some time now.
Why do we lie?
I’m not talking about pathological liars or people with serious issues regarding reality. I’m talking about everyday normal people like you and me. Big lies. Small lies. Lies so incidental we barely blink while doing it.
Maybe you lied about how much you drank the night before, or maybe you lied about how much time you put in at work, or maybe you lied about just how badly that person hurt you, etc.
Understand that we all lie. We lie to each other and we lie to ourselves. Maybe we lie out of insecurity, to be accepted, for protection, or out of fear. Sometimes it can be as obscure as insincerity, lack of integrity, ulterior motives, or inauthenticity.
The idea of the truth and a lie isn’t always as black and white as we might like to think. Are we ever fully aware of the truth behind what we do and why we do it? Dishonesty comes in many forms, and not all is fully made known in our conscious minds and not all of it is necessarily diabolical.
Why aren’t we more fully aware of the lies we tell and why we feel our own little lies are somehow okay or rationalized, yet we take it so personally when we have been lied to and bring shame and judgement on the person who lied to us?
Is there value in examining the lies we tell?
Much like emotional triggers, shouldn’t we stop, welcome, and allow the opportunity to look deeper and try to understand the underlying root cause of the lie? Is the lie a red flag we should be paying attention to?
Maybe examining the lie could reveal something important that needs healing, and maybe that self-examination could help change our life for the better. All the shame built up around lying prevents us from fully examining the reasons for our lies. Shame, as always, shuts us down.
If we stopped shaming and standing in judgement of ourselves or others when a lie is told, maybe we could get to the root of when and why we lie and talk about that.
“Can I not experience it as shameful or bad, deficient or lacking? Can I not lie to myself about the liar I sometimes am? The more I can do this, the more non-lying will naturally be expressed.” – Roshi Nancy Mujo Baker
This is also great information as a parent when addressing the issue of lying with our kids.
Of course, we want to teach our kids that the goal is honesty, but when a lie is told, take the shame factor out of it and talk to your kids about truth and trust and those underlying conversations and bigger discussions underneath the lie.
Stop pushing the impossible standard of never lying—a standard none of us adhere to— and maybe start pushing the search for understanding why.