This Is Why We Lie

Jonathan Pendleton

We’ve each faced this moment in life. It starts with something trivial, something fairly innocent. The lie was far easier than confronting the discomfort of being honest. We’ve all been guilty of it. But even half-truths add up eventually.

So why, despite it all, we still risk lying?

Some of us perceive our deceitfulness as saving loved ones from additional anguish, some of us refuse to take responsibility for the consequences of our actions and some of us fabricate an identity we wish we were but have yet to become.

Social trial and error demonstrate that honesty might not get us the result we want and so in turn, many of us resort to stringing together our version of the truth. This is what we call manipulation.

Fear of consequences

When we lie, not only are we obstructing the freedom of choice for the person we are lying to but also we are not accepting the consequences and ultimately bypassing feeling any real remorse for our actions. We dismiss the honesty we owe and in turn, we also waive any respect towards those we lie to.

Fear of losing control

Our fear of rejection and loss feeds our need to gain control. More often than not we get used to things going the way we want and when we are faced with a situation that doesn’t quite fit what we’ve envisioned, our immediate reaction is to try to tip fortune back towards our favor. We begin to see those we deceive as objects to manipulate, rather than respecting their informed decision.

Denial of self-identity

We strive to be this idealistic version of ourselves in context to our own moral code. More often than not we feel as though we’re not quite there, we risk feeling vulnerable by admitting we are fallible, that by some feat we fall short of our own expectations.

We are harsh on ourselves, pushing to be perceived the way we want rather than accepting who we really are and in turn bettering ourselves. Our denial of self easily permeates externally and so we begin to fabricate a version of ourselves we can live with. This is perhaps the most harmful, as the lie naturally infiltrates every possible part of your life.

Our growth as human beings begins in the dichotomy of comfort and discomfort. We grow from the authentic experiences we have throughout our lives and whether good or bad, we each have a lesson to learn. The trick with dishonesty is that you are trying to assert power over a situation or person out of your control and adjusting a discourse that benefits you.

Our sense of morality is sidelined by the probability of never getting caught, but the thing about lies is they never stay hidden for long. And the subsequent damage resides far longer than had you been truthful from the start.

The truth of the matter is we all feel as though we are owed trust from the beginning, but trust is earned over time and once lost it becomes a much more difficult journey to salvage it.TC mark

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