“Mommy, Why Do You Always Lie?”
“What do you mean; I always lie?” I gave the question straight back to my daughter, while trying to remain neutral, calm and collected about this question. “I don’t lie, do I?” I thought to myself while waiting for her answer. “And what on earth does she mean; I always lie???”
“Well,” my daughter replied, “when the lady at school tried to talk to you, you told her you couldn’t stay to chat as you were in a huge rush.” Right, I see, her question was starting to become more clear to me. “But” she continued, “You weren’t in a rush, we just went home and had some ice cream.” Wow, busted! She was right, and I hadn’t even noticed this myself. Here I was telling my children that telling the truth is always a much better option than lying, while showing them the complete opposite! My daughter was right about another thing; I do always lie. On a regular basis. Shocking right…..?
The more I started to think about this, the more I realized how often little lies slip past my lips without even blinking an eyelid.
I lie to my husband. I tell him how extremely busy I’ve been the entire day – skipping the part about meeting my friend at our local cafe, chatting and sipping coffee’s for two hours. And what about the time I bought a fabulous pair of new boots and I told him they were discounted to half price! They weren’t half price, they were full price, but it just sounded so much more justified that way. And, yes, I hate to admit it, but I’ve used the; “Not tonight honey, I have a headache!”
I lie to my friends. Like the time when a friend decided it was time for a change and cut all her hair off. She felt so bad about it afterwards that I couldn’t tell her the truth (Yes, it was bad) I told her it looked great. And of course there are all the Fashion Lies; telling my friends something looks great on them when I actually think the opposite. Or what about having dinner at my friends house, telling her it was the best dinner I’ve had for ages when the truth was: it was awful.
I lie to strangers. “Sorry I’m late -for my dentist/doctors appointment- the traffic was terrible”! (The traffic was fine; I was late because of me) Or when my daughter had her school fair and all the wonderful mom’s baked yummy goodies to bring along, I bought my cake at the bakery. Then I proceeded to tell everyone how I spend all day baking this cake. I know….just….. TERRIBLE!
What about every time a shop assistant asks me how my day is going and every single time I reply; “Wonderful! My day is going wonderful!” When in actual fact it isn’t.
I lie to my children. “No, mommy hasn’t been crying, I’m just a little tired today.” I still tell my children Santa Clause, the Tooth fairy and Easter bunny are real. That’s lying with a capital L.
I lie to myself. “Having another chocolate bar is not going to hurt.” Or “Those extra few kilo’s are just fluid retention, nothing to worry about.” Or “If I just leave the bills closed and open them tomorrow, they might disappear.
I guess we all lie from time to time. And because lying has become more understood in today’s society, lying has become more acceptable. To the point that we don’t even notice when we lie. We can call it exaggeration, little white lies or beating around the bush, but it all boils down to the same thing. We live in a society that does not know how to tell the truth. From the pictures that we see, to the stories that are reported on the news, and running through our culture is a web of lies. We are taught as children to say thank you when we do not mean it. We are also told to say sorry, when perhaps we are not.
So why do we lie??
“ It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place.” ~Henry Louis Mencken
Some of the reasons we lie are:
- Fear of harm: The easiest reason to understand why we lie is for self protection, including self deception, to prevent harm to ourselves. This harm can be either physical or mental.
- Fear of conflict: To some degree, we all fear having an argument.
- Fear of punishment: When growing up, how often did we lie about how well we did in school, or who started a fight? How often do we cover up our mistakes and transgressions?
- Fear of rejection: Sometimes, our insecurities are the foundation of why we lie to each other, because we want to be remain popular in our relationships. Typically, it is harmless boasting to make ourselves appear more admirable to other people.
- Fear of loss: This is usually the loss of personal objects, such as money or expensive valuables. We often lie to make ourselves more desirable to other people too. And at other times, when our self esteem starts to decline, we lie to ourselves or our partners as means to prevent loss of morale.
- Altruistic Reasons: We often lie to help our friends and loved ones. How often do we flatter someone just to make them feel better? This is the only selfless reason why we lie.
Now that I’m aware of this, and more importantly, what an effect this has on my children, perhaps it would be better to change. After all; It’s always better to tell the truth. And if I want my children to grow up without lies, I need to set a good example. If you can tell the truth, and practice continuing to tell the truth then you give those around you the permission to tell their truth too.
“If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.” ~Mark Twain
Telling the truth means that you are able to speak you mind in a loving and kind way, and follow your intuition about what you should do and where you should go. When we are pleasing others, we often end up in situations that we would rather not be in because we didn’t know how to speak up for ourselves. Being truthful allows you to do more of what suits you, with the people you want to be with because they support you and care about you. And that’s exactly the kind of example I would like to give to my children.
So the next time I’m about to say something that isn’t true, I’ll stop and think of a better way; either not to say it, or to say only what is true. Sometimes, truth isn’t necessarily about what is said, it’s actually more of what isn’t said.
Do you think little white lies are okay from time to time or is it better to speak the truth?
I would love to know your stance on this as it’s very tricky to speak the truth at times.
Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts with us
* photo credit: free digitalphotos