I LIE DAILY
by Wendy Ford
What? Who? Me? Lie? That’s such an ugly word. Well if I call it falsehood that’s not as offensive to my delicate ego and sense of righteousness. Let’s see what Roget’s Thesaurus has to say: 1
[Nouns] falsehood, falseness; falsity, falsification; deception; untruth; guile; lying; misrepresentation; mendacity, perjury, false swearing; forgery, invention, fabrication; subreption; covin.
perversion of truth, suppression of truth; suppressio veri; perversion, distortion, false coloring; exaggeration; prevarication, equivocation, shuffling, fencing, evasion, fraud; suggestio falsi (lie); mystification (concealment); simulation (imitation); dissimulation, dissembling; decit; blague.
sham; pretense, pretending, malingering.
lip homage, lip service; mouth honor; hollowness; mere show, mere outside; duplicity, double dealing, insincerity, hypocrisy, cant, humbug; jesuitism, jesuitry; pharisaism; Machiavelism, “organized hypocrisy’; crocodile tears, mealy-mouthedness, quackery; charlatanism, charlatanry; gammon; bun-kum, bumcombe, flam; bam, flimflam, cajolery, flattery; Judas kiss; perfidy (bad faith [more]; il volto sciotlo i pensieri stretti. unfairness (dishonesty); artfulness (cunning); misstatement (error).
Wow. None of these sound very “nice” either. It seems no matter how fancy the word or phrase it all can be summed up in one word: lie.
Fans of the American television series House will remember well the acerbic main character Dr. Gregory House played by actor Hugh Laurie. One of the Houseisms2that struck home was his advice to “remember, everyone lies”. When I first heard that I was taken aback. What does he mean “everyone lies”? Of course then I failed to take it any further and my piqued interest was dismissed and disappeared.
Several years later Dr. Strickler brought up the topic in class. He quoted Dr. House: “remember, everyone lies”. There was that statement again. There was that statement again.
As his lecture went on it was clear the statement was accurate. EVERYONE LIES, in other words, everyone has set up trip wires in the element of their personality to protect themselves from being exposed to themselves. Everyday. In multiple moments throughout a day. The key is we aren’t always consciously aware we are lying.
Try this to sensitize yourself to recognize lies: over the next several days try to be aware of and listen for lies. If it makes you feel better call it by any of the synonyms from Roget’s Thesaurus. Listen for the clues that someone is exaggerating or trying not to hurt someone’s feelings or making an excuse for an action or lack of action. These are all forms of lies. You can be assured you are more likely to spot the lie of another more easily than your own. Once you get the hang of it try listening for your own lies. Lies others tell are the easiest to catch. The lies we tell ourselves are much more subtle (and begs the question, “Who are we hiding from and Why?”) and require a greater self-awareness to catch. This is probably because some of them have been a part of our operating system for so long we have come to see and hear (and think we KNOW while still begging the question, “Who are we hiding from and Why are we creating he lie?”) them to be truths, instead of contrivances.
Once you are more aware you might have questions. What is the difference between a lie and hedging on an answer, deftly evading a point or situation, embellishing on a story or experience, justifying an action or belief to others or oneself? Nothing. Those are all more fancy words for ‘convenient contrivance’ by any other any other name, a LIE.
Lie. That seems like such a harsh word. We’ve been taught from the beginning to lie is wrong. We learn that from parents, teachers, religions, fables, fairy tales, cartoons, even from the rules and laws enacted governing the various aspects of our lives. The moral imperative of not lying is strong and deeply ingrained.
Yet while we are taught lying is wrong we all lie from the beginning too. Any parent can tell you how early on a child learns to deny having done or taken something. The shaking of the head “no” when asked if they took a cookie even when holding the cookie in the hand or crumbs on the mouth are evidence to the contrary.
We need to come to grips with the fact that indeed we lie. Does that mean every utterance out of our mouths needs to be the absolute truth at all times? I don’t believe so. It does mean we need to be more aware of our now and to be auditing our thoughts prior to verbalization so we are at least aware we are lying and not to the extent politicians have taken this audit.
The point isn’t that we lie, it’s that we need to be more consciously aware of the five basic questions governing any situation: what, where, when, why and who. The lists under each category can be endless.
What are we lying about? Something we did/didn’t do or are planning on doing? Something we did/didn’t say? Our accomplishments, failures, the dreaded dog ate my homework excuse?
Where are we lying? At work, home, school, social activities, in the privacy of our own thoughts and musings and rationalizations?
When are we lying? In which situations are we most likely to lie? When is that trigger most likely to be tripped?
Why are we lying? Is it so we don’t hurt someone’s feelings? Is it that telling the absolute truth to someone about something could do harm or be detrimental to them? Is it to save face so we don’t look bad in front of someone or aren’t embarrassed about being in error about an interpretation, belief, action/inaction, decision? Is it just easier than bothering to seek and investigate to discover a truth? Isn’t it in fact simpler to just be honest?
Who are we lying to and why? This could be the most important question of all. Catching the lies we tell to others is not that difficult to do once we become aware and really think before we speak and listen to what comes out of our mouth.
WE NEED TO KNOW OURSELVES.
Catching the lies we tell ourselves is more nuanced because our egos and personalities have suavely and deftly disguised them to appear to be our truths. The ego doesn’t like to be called out and for most of our lives has been erroneously allowed to be in charge and run things fooling us into thinking “I am in charge” when in fact it is the ego pulling the strings leaving the impression it is “I” in action.
This is the point at which it requires intestinal fortitude and courage to take an honest look at ourselves; to stand naked in front of ourselves for full self-conscious exposure and study. Egos don’t like that. They do not like to be exposed. They prefer to operate in stealth behind the scenes as the Wizard does in The Wizard of OZ. “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” pulling the strings and running the show without our self-conscious input and self-monitoring. This is far too large and rich of a topic to be explored in this article.
Once we are able to take an honest look with self-conscious full awareness and listen for the nuances it is easier to see and hear where we lie to ourselves and about what. It isn’t an overnight process. It takes practice, contemplation, courage and endurance. It takes time. Doesn’t it takes a conscious willingness to find out and want to know the truth? The ego will always seek to redirect us and hide from exposure to the light of truth.
Let’s look at it from the angle of the exploration of a dark room. At first there doesn’t appear to be anything there. As the light of a flashlight is turned on it is apparent something is there and the wider the beam, the stronger the intensity the more is exposed out of the darkness for the eyes to see and ears to hear. There might even be cockroaches skittering for the shelter of the darkness. Those are the lies avoiding exposure needing to be exterminated by the purity of truth.
Once exposed by the light of self-disclosure your lies have a much better chance of being identified and reconciled.
Full exposure. Full disclosure. Truths inherent in the reality of any given experience. Seek it. Look for it. Listen for it. Be willing to want to know. Be willing to admit you have been in error in areas. Be willing to be open to discovery and growth. It is a never ending process. It is never complete and done and over.
It can be a life altering experience to realize ‘I lie daily.’
Copyright © 2015 by Institute of Spiritual Climate LLC
- Roget’s Thesaurus http://www.thesaurus.com/roget/IV/544.html
- House Rules, Houseisms: Rules, Proverbs, Philosophy, Quotes: http://www.housemd-guide.com/characters/houserules.php