Let’s be honest here, you’re a liar.
If you’re reading this thinking, “Balderdash! I’m as honest as the day is long.” … well … then I’m not quite sure in which century you are living … but other than that, you are lying, if only to yourself.
The problem is that we generally all want to be seen as honest. I talk about finding the real truth behind what you have to say, and spend my working life helping clients connect to and resonate with their truth when they speak, so their audience can hear that truth and decide whether it resonates with them.
“We don’t have to accept other people’s truths … but being aware of them is helpful”
So which truth are we talking about?
On Horizon on BBC2 last Monday, the experiment was whether people would be able to not lie for a week and the effects that would have. This experiment included lies of omission and white lies told to save the feelings of others … as well as blatant lying and lying to yourself to make your deceptions not lies!
When a friend invites you for drinks, but they’re the kind of friend you need to have the energy for, do you just say ‘sorry I don’t want to’, or do you make up an excuse, or other event, to not hurt their feelings? When a new client asks you ‘we’re not being frustrating are we?’ do you tell a fib in order to placate and keep them … or answer, “Actually, yes”. (Then explain why and what you need to move forward!)
Having the confidence to express your truth is sometimes a challenge, and sometimes a balancing act. Often this is because you have a deeper truth, an end result, or higher purpose that takes priority, so you lie for ‘the greater good.’
How much good does that do?
What was interesting about the programme, was where truths that people were afraid to speak, when spoken, actually created clarity and ease. Being truthful doesn’t have to equate with being blunt, honesty doesn’t always have to be brutal.
The challenge with many truths is that they are not universal – my truth about your behaviour, your truth about it, and that of your parents, would all come from different perspectives. We don’t have to accept other people’s truths … but being aware of them is helpful so we can choose how to behave, react, or respond in different situations, or with different people.
You know yourself there have been situations in your life, both personal and professional, where if someone had just told you where you stand, one way or another, rather than being polite or vague, it would have made your life easier. There are times, too, when we would rather not hear the truth … but when we do we are given the gift of seeing how others perceive us. (“I’ve never been told that before.” They said … “which is why I’m letting you know” was the reply!)
For example: I have a friend who fairly regularly tells me to “shush”. I hate it. I feel diminished and rejected for who I am when they do it. I am aware that I have a big personality, and can be loud sometimes, but my friend befriended me knowing this too. My perception of the truth is that I’m just being me, having fun, being silly, or maybe passionate, about something.
This friend is an introvert. I know they don’t like loud spaces, or being in the spotlight. Their perception of the truth is that I’m being embarrassingly loud.
Who’s truth is more important? The person who feels embarrassed by the attention that they might get because of their loud friend, or the person who is hurt when told to ‘shush’?
What would you do?
Obviously, being me, I have expressed my truth and told them how this makes me feel. They still do it. I could say “get over it.” I could choose to not hang out with this friend. I choose to remind myself that their structure can only diminish me if I let it – if I stop being vibrant me. Also, if they don’t like vibrant, sometimes loud, me … then they can lump it and find a bunch of quiet, unassuming, friends.
There’s no right or wrong answer here, because it’s a subjective truth.
Truth is tricky.. which I guess is why there are so many lies:
Like, “I’m fine.”
Sometimes we don’t speak our truth (lie by omission) because it’s not convenient, other times, because we don’t want to ‘burden’ others with it. Sometimes the truth doesn’t feel safe to express .. mentally, emotionally, physically, financially, politically … but those who do, in whatever way it may be (speaking up, reporting an incident, writing letters, signing a petition, joining a silent protest… ) make changes in the world … or in their own world, even if that’s feeling better about yourself.
Sometimes we lie to save the feelings of others, or because we feel bad that we’re not making the time for someone or something. I’ve realised this last week – since I’ve been monitoring my own lying propensities – that this is a) pretty common b) rather easy and c) actually quite lazy. It might be better to tell the truth – both for yourself and the person you are lying to, and maybe others too … but that involves getting down to the true truth (not the surface truth or immediate reaction.) Making the time to figure out what you could say that would solve the situation, not hurt feelings, and also potentially create change that affects more people …. can quite frankly feel like more effort than it’s worth! It’s easier to give a little white lie and live with it.
Sometimes we LIE. To get what we want. To avoid blame. To hide guilt. To manipulate others.
Sometimes we lie to ourselves. I believe this could be the most damaging lying of all. It is often the hardest to detect – if you’re lying to yourself you often do it so well and so often, that you believe the lies to be truth. “I know everything about this.” “You can’t teach me.” OR “I’m not good enough.” “I’m not loveable.” And I think, worst of all ….. “This is who I am.” … like you’re incapable of changing anything in your life, or about who you are, or how you see the world; even if you wanted to and you know it could benefit your life.
So the next time you are about to lie …. Ask yourself “Is this true?” then try asking yourself “What’s my real truth about this?”,you may not like it, it may inspire you, … but it might give you options you’d not considered before. When you make a choice of what you are going to say, connected with whatever higher purpose end result you want from the situation, you might find yourself living a life more in line with your higher truth.
Would I lie to you?
What was the ‘best’ lie you ever told? Share in the comments below. … I’ve got us started .. it’s a goodie!
Words Make Waves: Speak With The Power Of Your Whole Voice.