Why do we lie?

LyingThere are many reasons on the surface for lying. The reasons for lying are countless, we could lie to save face, avoid trouble, and avoid embarrassment, but what is the root of all of this lying? The way I attempted to figure this out in my own life was to identify why I was about to lie before I did it. For example, one of my main jobs when I worked for my father was to keep all of the machines fueled, greased, oiled, and maintained. This was something I was supposed to check every single day and some days I was just lazy and either didn’t check all of the machines, only checked one thing on the list, or just didn’t check any of them at all. On the days I was there alone my dad would come in and ask me if I had checked all of the machines and I would ALWAYS say yes whether I had or hadn’t. The reason I did this was because I knew he would be upset with me if I didn’t and he would then ask for a reason which I didn’t have.

When I finally started to really look at the reasons why I lie, it led to me more actively doing the things I am supposed to be doing. At a certain point I realized the benefit of telling the truth in every situation. Generally, when I would lie it would be to avoid a responsibility that I know I was supposed to do, to make sure no one got mad at me, or to  make sure that others liked me. Once we go down the road of deception it starts out easy because we have only lied once and it worked with ease. However, as we continue down the road the web of lies begins and then we start to see the results of our lies months later as things begin to crumble. One of the machines the you said you had been checking blows an engine and now everything you feared would come true, you cheat on your wife at the start of your marriage and 10 years later she finds out and it ruins your family, even something as simple as telling someone they are healthy when they are extremely overweight can lead that person to an early death from heart disease or some medical catastrophe.

shutterstock_liesThe question of why do we lie is so much more complex than just the surface level answers. If we take me not checking the machines for example; the lie started because I forgot to check the machines one morning and my dad happened to come in and ask me if I checked them, so I simply told him yes, then he left and I went outside and checked all the machines. As the days and months progressed I got more comfortable with telling him I had checked the machines when I hadn’t and it turned more into a routine. The lie came from a combination of laziness and fear. If I had told the truth I thought my dad would call me lazy and unfit for the job, when in reality if I had said to him the first day, “Oh sorry Dad I totally forgot, I’ll go do it right now.” He would have just said okay and let me go do it as long as he wouldn’t have to ask me again. It is important to have the moments in our lives where we realize we made huge mistakes, were super lazy, or forgot something important. When we have that grand realization we all must address it, whether it is with ourselves or with the person who we lied to, so we don’t make the same mistake twice.

All in all lying seems to be a collection of fear. When we always tell the truth we don’t fear other peoples reaction to what we are about to say, we deal with the consequences of the situation we created. This is how we grow as individuals, lying only makes us go down a path of fear, and when we go down that path other people’s views and ideas influence us so much that we forget our own ideas and we become what other people want us to be. When we start to tell the truth about what we are thinking or what we did we start to see what we really care about and what is really important to us. This is why honesty is more than just words, it is an overall improvement in lifestyle.

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