I think everybody likes to consider themselves an honest person. Nobody I know wants to be thought of as being a liar. Yet how many people do you really know that tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth all the time? From little white lies to lies of admission to deliberate mistruths; everybody is guilty at one point or another; usually all the time.
Little white lies. Usually the excuse is to keep from hurting someone’s feelings or hiding personal details that we don’t want anyone to know. We tell someone that their new hairdo doesn’t look bad when it looks like they were attacked by a weed eater. We ask if they’ve lost weight when they’re the same size they’ve always been. And the ever popular ‘No, those jeans don’t make you look fat’. We might say ‘I forgot to take out the trash’, when we had no intention of doing it from the beginning. We might be sick as a dog, but only admit to feeling a little under the weather. And ‘I’m not worried at all’ when in fact you are scared to death. These may be harmless, but they are lies nonetheless.
We leave out important details. In most cases what we say is true, but what we don’t say is misleading and dishonest. ‘I’ve been married more than once’ instead of ‘I’ve been married four times’. Both are true statements, but the perception can be completely different from the truth. Your kids might say ‘Yes, I did my homework’, but in reality they only did part of it. The part of doing homework is true; they did do part of it. The impression however is that the assignments were complete. Sometimes our omissions aren’t intentional but end up being misleading anyway. Telling your boss that you called an important customer, but neglecting to mention that they weren’t available. It may never occur to you that he’s thinking that the customer has been talked to when in reality there was only voice mail.
Not telling others that I’m bipolar.
Then there are the more intentional lies. Calling out sick from work then spending the day playing golf. Telling your spouse that you couldn’t find something they needed at the store, when you just forgot that they’d asked for it. Showing up late for dinner and blaming it on traffic when the fact was you just didn’t leave on time. Not admitting to your date that you’re going out with someone else.
We’re hurtful and cruel with our lies. We deliberately say horrible things about another to make them look bad. ‘I heard she had an abortion when she was 16’. If she ever even finds out that you’ve said that, it’s hard to disprove and becomes her word against yours; but the damage is already done. We’re critical and demeaning of someone just to make us feel better about ourselves. ‘That was really stupid of you do what you did’. ‘You’re an idiot to think that way’.
Telling me you love me when you don’t.
Sometimes the most harmful of all is when we deceive ourselves. Making ourselves believe that we’re going to take care of an unpleasant situation when deep down you know it’s just not going to happen. Not admitting to ourselves that we feel bad so we can get help; ‘I’m doing OK’. Not accepting the fact that we’re in trouble when you’re on the brink of disaster.
Denying for years that I’m bipolar.
Even as children we learn to lie from the beginning. Toddlers pretend to be hurt when what they really want is sympathy and reassurance. Children cry like there is something terribly wrong just so they can get a new toy. ‘No momma, I didn’t put the crayon marks on the wall’ and ‘Yes, I brushed my teeth’. I’ve raised my own children and seen countless others with family and friends; I’ve yet to see a child that’s always completely honest.
The fact that we lie doesn’t make us bad people. We try to protect others’ feelings, we don’t realize we’re being misunderstood, we’re just giving payback for what’s been done to us, and we’re trying to believe we’re okay. But the fact remains the same; a lie is a lie. Ask yourself; do you know anyone who isn’t guilty at some point or another of a deliberate lie? I don’t. However we justify it, whatever the reasons, in spite of our intentions we’re all liars.
And that’s the truth