The Colour of a Lie


It’s repugnant and unacceptable when politicians are caught out in a lie. We scorn their reputations, doubt political reporting and express our unanimous outrage at their corruption. Lawyers and journalists are equally infamous and the rest of us raise our noses in indignation at people who “lie for a living.” We don’t trust what we read or hear in the press, on TV, on-line or anywhere for that matter. We’re skeptical about it all.  Did Osama bin Laden die? Hmm, but when? Ha, did he even exist? Suspicious and cynical, we trust nothing and no-one.

But have we considered why we are so comfortable in our skepticism? Why are we so convinced of the lies of others?

Perhaps the answer lies in the next question: When last did you lie?

Think about it. Don’t be outraged at the question. And don’t flap it aside with “Ag, we all lie!” as a flippant response. Think about it.

What is it YOU lie about? And why?

Do you tell yourself, it’s a small thing, just to protect someone’s feelings? Is that really it? Or are you protecting yourself, the way people see you or avoiding an outcome you don’t want to face? Do you find yourself spinning the story according to the enthused reaction of your audience, enjoying them enjoying you, adding a bit here twisting a little there? It sounds better that way and they love the drama you’re adding. Or do you lie about your spending to hubby, mum-in-law or you down-and-out friend? The new shoes were on sale, or they were “a gift” from your mother…It’s interesting when you begin to explore the lies you tell…and WHY?

It’s just a white lie, we say, completely convinced of our justification in tainting the truth, brightening or diminishing it, twisting or distorting it, feigning sincerity or giving our statements false authority or omitting aspects of the facts. There are numerous ways in which we spin our tales and pose them as truth…our creativity knows no bounds.

But is there a difference in the colour of our lies?

Given, the colleague who passes off their under grad Degree as an MBA seems worse than the mother who tells her daughter she looks great in a garish dress. And the man who tells his wife his working late while he’s actually philandering, seems worse than the one who pretends to be “out-of-town for a meeting” when he really just doesn’t feel like saying “yes” to another family commitment. And yet that guy seems worse than the sticky-faced child who says he really didn’t steal the chocolate at the corner shop. There definitely are degrees of magnitude and impact.

But in reality, how different are we to the politicians, lawyers and journalists we sneer at? Are we not motivated by the same basic instincts: to protect or advance ourselves at the expense of the absolute truth and the consequence we’re avoiding? Are we not just plain and simply lying through our teeth, as the expression goes.

Whatever, your reason, excuse, justification, how about risking the truth? How about telling it like it is, regardless of how it isn’t. How about digging deep down and finding the resource to communicate exactly what needs to be said, with self-respect and empathy, owning the outcome and having the courage to face the people in our lives, as we are, as circumstance presents – as Life is. How about being AUTHENTIC?

I’ve heard that lying is easy because “It’s the path of least resistance.”

Yes, lying is common place. It’s human nature. And developing as human beings takes resisting our base nature.

Speaking our truth takes courage. And it is freeing. We are left free of the fear of what others may think. Free of the fear of discovery. Free of the pretense of what we are not. Free of the guilt that we are false and base.

We are left knowing ourselves as courageous. And the possibility of being fully known and loved becomes available.

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