“The truth is the truth even if no one believes it, and a lie is a lie even if everyone believes it.”
Archbishop Fulton Sheen from the Catholic Quotations website. However, I also found it on theathiestrepublic.com. It’s always nice to find a little common ground among people with differing philosophies!
Our wonderful United States is going through a very difficult time of not knowing what the truth is any more. There have been fake news sites that were assumed to be truthful. During the presidential campaign our dear well-meaning and honest friends forwarded “alternative facts” to us, that I know I forwarded once. We’re just not used to all the lying. And there is no such thing as “alternative facts.”
By definition, a fact is a “thing that is indisputable the case.” Alternative means “available as another possibility.” So how can there be an indisputable thing that has another possibility in the world of form? A lie is a lie even if many believe it.
I’m suggesting that we be honest. There are many reasons why it’s good for us.
1. If we have the habit of being honest, we feel clear within our own hearts and minds. We don’t need to worry about what we told another person, because we’ll always be speaking the truth, so it will be the same. The New York Times stated that “Trying to hold onto an inflammatory secret is mentally exhausting, studies have found, and the act of suppressing the information can cause thoughts of it to flood the consciousness.”
2. If we tell an untruth that causes pain to another, we have to live with that. If we have a conscience, it will lead to guilt. Prolonged guilt can cause illness, physical or mental. Years ago, associates of Lance Armstrong couldn’t contain the negative feelings they were holding for so long, about his doping, and came forward with the truth. Guilt eats away at our peace of mind until we have to do something about it.
3. When others find out that we have told them untruths, they will feel betrayed. Friends don’t lie to friends. They support them. The cornerstone for the whole relationship could tank. One of the basic human needs that we have is to be surrounded by others that we believe care about us, listen to us, and that can be trusted. Lies say, “My needs are more important than yours.”
4. Telling the truth demonstrates integrity. In fact integrity is mostly about being honest and of high moral code. It is higher order thinking. It leads to high emotional intelligence, which statistically leads to more success than high intellectual intelligence.
There must be some pretty powerful reasons why people do lie. And it helps to look at them with compassion, rather than condemnation. People who lie are afraid of not getting what they want, or feel that they need to be safe. The way to encourage them to stop lying is to love them. That doesn’t mean that you like or accept what they did to you. If you find that a friend lied to you, say, “Hey, I didn’t need to _________ to have my friendship. Why did you think you had to tell me that?”….wait for it. It will give you some indication of what is going on in your friend, the fear he has about something related to you. For your friend to learn empathy he has to see the consequences of his mistake, and see you working to resolve it with empathy and compassion. Try to have a conversation, but finish it with, “It’s important to me that I can trust you. Please don’t lie to me again, and I won’t lie to you.”
Wouldn’t you want someone to treat you compassionately? You might be surprised how a sincere apology with the addition of wanting to be a part of making the situation right can go. I’ve seen it in mediations. I’ve seen people be incredibly compassionate and forgiving after someone has been honest and sincerely remorseful for something that was done, and offering to help make it right.
“A Course in Miracles” states that “The holiest place on Earth is where an ancient hatred has become a present love.” I invite you to stand in a place of holiness through your honesty, compassion and forgiveness.
Dr. Phil says that the latest surveys say that everyone lies … often it’s the “white lies,” like “You look terrific!” or “This tastes great.” And he points out that other lies, like infidelity can destroy relationships. These common reasons for lying were listed on www.drphill.com/advice/why-do-people-lie:
w “Take what is not rightfully theirs
w Escape accountability
w Create a fantasy/false self-esteem to escape their mundane life
w Avoid punishment
w Inflict pain
w Feel better in the moment; ‘steal admiration’
w Gain an advantage to exploit others.”
If you see yourself in one of these situations, truly look for another way to be you with integrity. He states that we must be honest with ourselves first, and that the most destructive lies are the ones we tell ourselves.
“When you lie to yourself, you’re really crippling your ability to interact with the world because how you present yourself to the world impacts how you are treated in return.”
Think of the politicians that we know that have lied. How do we really feel about them? Can we trust them to look out for our own best interests? The job of government is to serve the peoples’ needs, and support our equal rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
If you become a person who is known for lying, how does that impact your world? Do you think that people will tell you their secrets, hopes, dreams, or trust you with something that demands integrity. I suggest that you build your character from this very moment.
No matter who you were yesterday, come clean in your heart and mind. This is why so many faiths, and now even psychologists, are suggesting that we admit our mistakes, ask for forgiveness, try to make them right, and do so from this moment forward.
It may even be that down the line truly reformed liars will be respected even more so than the average person because they knew the contrast of what it was like before. Just as a recovered alcoholic has more credibility to an active one because he knows the game .
“Morality is the basis of things and truth is the substance of all morality.” — Mahatma Gandhi
Hale `Opio Kaua’i convened a support group of adults in our Kaua’i community to “step into the corner” for our teens, to answer questions and give support to youth and their families on a wide variety of issues. Please email your questions or concerns facing our youth and families today to Annaleah Atkinson at firstname.lastname@example.org For more information about Hale ‘Opio Kaua’i, please go to www.haleopio.org