“Though I am not naturally honest, I am so sometimes by chance”. William Shakespeare
Lies. We have all told them. We have all gotten caught. We have all justified why we have told them. We try to explain them away. We try to minimize them by giving them cute little names, like “little white lie” tossing that out there with a wink and a giggle. But lies have a way of changing, growing, clinging like a nasty vine that we can’t get rid of. And hopefully, we all learn our lesson early on, mature, and face the truth. Sometimes we say the “ugly truth”, but in my opinion, lies are always uglier!
What is a lie? One interesting definition I found stated that a lie meant “to stay in hiding”. Wow! I think that is powerful! Lies keep us in hiding. Hiding from what? or whom? Probably ourselves. I think lies keep us from who we are or who we can be. When I think of a lie, for some reason I think of that big nasty plant in “Little Shop of Horrors” that grows bigger and devours everything in its path. A lie has a deep cruel voice. But it can disguise itself. For a while. Sooner or later it rears its head though.
Another definition I found stated that a lie is “to speak falsely or utter untruth knowingly, as with intent to deceive”. I think that we do lie with the intent of being untrue. I do not think that a lie can be an accident. Intent is everything in my book, and the true deep down core of integrity. We can make a mistake if our intent is good, but a lie comes deliberately.
What makes us lie? Well, when I think back to moments when I have wanted to lie, it seems that the driving force at times, for me at least, has been fear. Fear of being wrong, fear of punishment, fear of being “less than”, fear of failure, or of appearing weak. So the temptation is there to sugar coat, omit, or embellish. But if we can resist that temptation and fears are faced, it does not take long for strength to emerge. A lie may seem like a path to strength because we can manipulate someone with it, but true strength really comes with truth. This is a lesson well worth learning and growing from. But it is very difficult, challenging. And sometimes we are afraid to challenge ourselves!
We all know people who lie. Sometimes we minimize it by saying “oh well, consider the source”, meaning that we know untruth is being told and kind of accept it. And we all have people in our life in one way or another that can be classified as just this kind of “source”. It has many forms. A story that is blown out of proportion. Something told to make someone seem more successful than they really are. Or embellishment. Adding something to make a person seem better, more of something. There is also plain old omission, a critical piece of information deliberately omitted. Lots of forms, but still deliberate and deceiving. And lies lead us down the wrong path. Good decisions cannot be made with misinformation, especially when deliberately misled.
Funny thing, though, is that people I have known that lie or “deliberately mislead” seem so steady, steadfast, firm. Good eye contact, a firm voice, and other people cited to provide credibility. But lies are shaky, and provide a shaky foundation. Like quicksand. One cannot stand firm on a lie. You sink. Sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly. But quick sand is never stable. Neither is a lie.
And lies add stress. We all know that stress is bad for the body. It can raise heart rate, change our metabolism, increase anxiety, and alter our bodies ability to perform its functions properly. Stress can also increase our wrinkles, our frown lines. More importantly, lies can diminish our integrity. That, like a reputation, can take a lifetime to build and a moment to ruin. Who wants to live like that? Sounds like a crummy quality of life to me.
We are not perfect though. But we can strive for integrity and the firm ground of the truth. Make it a goal, a life value. It may not always be pretty or easy, but I am certain that it’s always right. Truth lends itself to a healthier life style. Freedom. Release. Every day is a new day. A fresh start. If the day before had a little quick sand, start today with the resolve to stand on firm ground and to stop hiding. We can make the decision every morning that this day will not be a quick sand day!