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376 Days ’til 40: Honesty (AKA: Why People Lie)

11 Feb

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Honesty.

Such a simple concept, yet for so many people so complicated to execute.

Honesty.

I have met so many people in my life who seem to easily succumb to the realm of untruths, exaggeration, omission of critical details, manipulation of details, etc.

People who tell lies are not strong.

People who tell lies are driven by fear.

Why is it SO hard for people to be truthful?

I think it takes an incredible amount of courage to look into the mirror and accept ourselves – faults and all.  Blossoming from this self-acceptance comes the strength of character to admit our weaknesses, to embrace them, to be able to say to ourselves and others, “I made a mistake, but I am still okay.  You made a mistake, I forgive you and you are still okay.”

Mistakes and bad choices are not always the critical issue, sometimes the critical issue is what comes next.  The measure of a man is evidenced by their response to mistakes.  Lies do not ultimately resolve tenuous situations, they make them significantly worse – as a mistake then grows into a mistake plus a cover-up [which also indicates that the individual was well aware that the mistake (or choice) was wrong, but they are working hard to attempt to convince others and themselves that they are innocent/ okay.)]

Some people lie because of their low self-esteem and damaged sense of self-worth.  I love my father, and I wonder if he would roll over in his grave if he knew I was mentioning him in a less than flattering context…. but he was a stubborn man, and I like to believe he could handle it.  For MANY years his signature line of his email read (roughly), “Success is knowing who to blame for your mistakes.”  Whenever I read his emails I was saddened by this quote.  This quote really was reflective of a part of my father.  He was not very happy with who he was career-wise, and felt quite inferior around his relatives who had pulled it together and prospered.  My father did tend to exaggerate stories and sometimes twist events….. and I am sure he even found people to “blame for his mistakes” – but it was not because he was a bad person, it was because it was so painful to contend with his own perception of his failure that he needed to reinvent himself, or make big things better.

In fact, at times I was mortified.  I achieved a lot in high school and college, and my father was proud of me.  Yet, sometimes in his pride, he made it sound like I had done even more than I had.  For a long time this really angered me, as if he needed to make my achievements more because they were not good enough.  As I got older I understood that this had nothing to do with me or my achievements, but his needing to gain validation for his low self-worth by bragging about me.  In those moments I always wished he would just tell the story how it happened……. and it was one of the many things that shaped my strong need for honest people in my life and my strong detestation of dishonesty.

I find that when I admit my mistakes, instead of trying to weasel out of them, my colleagues respect me more and it strengthens the communication and respect between us.

I was once dating a pathological liar…. it was so sad to me that this person claimed to be everything they were not.  They lied about the origin of their name, the university their degree came from, and even their position within the company they worked for.  Of course, when I found out I was livid – but after a while I just felt pity – pity for this person who seemingly convinced others and themselves that they were leading this life that really was nothing more than a fantasy.  When the bubble pops, it will hurt.  I cannot imagine having to hang on to a lifestyle of constant lies, it must be exhausting!

When I interviewed for my current position I was asked by the panel to share my weaknesses as a supervisor.  I told them that lies are my pet-peeves and I cannot stand when someone refuses to be honest with me.  If I am going to get really angry with an employee, this is one of the top reasons why it would happen.  I HAVE to be able to trust the people who work with me…. not just because they work for me, but also because they are charged with caring for and educating children.  I want to know that top caliber individuals are given the responsibility of working with our young people.  I want to know that they are emulating the values we want our students to embrace.

Some people lie so much it truly destroys their life.  Pathological liars are individuals who tell lies even when the lies serve to harm them.  These people need serious help, but, sadly, are often not open to it.  I am sure the unwillingness to receive help and support is linked to their lies to themselves…. the lies were created to counter poor self-esteem and fear, if they admit they have a condition that needs treatment they also have to come face to face with the self they denied and ran from.

If you are a person who is tempted to tell lies, ask yourself what you will gain in the long run.  I assure you, if you learn to be honest with yourself and others you will be happier in life.

If you are with a person who is not truthful with you, consider whether the person has the capacity to change.  WAIT for change before you get too deeply committed in the relationship.  You deserve someone who can be honest with you.  In fact, although flattery may feel better in the moment, brutal honesty is a stronger sign of love and respect.

I wish for all of you in cyberspace the ability to live your truth.  Life is too short not to.

~400daystil40

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4 responses to “376 Days ’til 40: Honesty (AKA: Why People Lie)

  1. ellen

    March 6, 2012 at 00:30

    Great post. Life is so much simpler when we tell the truth.

     
    • 400daystil40

      March 6, 2012 at 22:38

      Thanks, Ellen. Yes, if only everyone could learn this lesson!!!!!
      ~400daystil40

       
  2. walkwiththerabbi

    March 10, 2012 at 18:40

    I thoroughly enjoyed the “Honesty” post (alright-not the portions that caused me to look at myself-honestly). Great job! “All progress begins by telling the truth.” Thank you for being a follower of mine on “The Walk” (thewalkbook.wordpress.com). How can I register to follow you? Make it a great day mon ami.

     
    • 400daystil40

      March 10, 2012 at 22:04

      Thank you, walkwiththerabbi. There is a place on the side of my blog that says “follow” and by clicking that you will receive an email when posts update. I look forward to reading more of your writing.
      Take care,
      ~400daystil40

       

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