Take on the challenge of becoming an individual who is committed to speaking truthfully and to realizing that the one who gains most from this is none other than yourself.
How much money have movie theaters and amusement parks lost off children who were 13 years old whose parents said they are 12 so they would only pay the children’s rate? I suspect that if we add up the number it would be staggering. This actually plays itself out in numerous ways beyond the movie theater and amusement park scenario. And these are from people who would all consider themselves honest people. Quite frankly, whenever I bring this up, people want to change the subject. It hits too close to home for too many people. And honestly, I have no doubt that I did in some shape or form until someone woke me from my stupor and gave some thought to what I was doing.
I’m raising this particular example which really plays itself out in many ways. We lie in some “small” way to gain some benefit. We often justify the behavior with different justifications that are usually weaker than a 3 day old. It usually holds up because most everyone else is depending on the same justifications.
I feel that what helps me step away from negative behavior is when I gain a deeper understanding of the damage that my negative behavior creates. Therefore I want to get to the bottom of what happens when we lie, what we are actually doing when we lie, and the effects that it has which may be far beyond what we realize. Every time we lie, essentially what we are doing is hiding the truth. That is exactly what the point of lying is, not to reveal what or the way something truly is. Another way of saying this in our modern-day lingo is we don’t show up. By virtue of the fact that we are lying, that we are hiding, that we are not sharing what is, demonstrates that we are not showing up. Not showing up has enormous ramifications not only on our relationship with others but also with our ability to stay in touch with reality and also with our relationship with our own ourselves. In fact there is a saying in Yiddish that “a fool only fools himself.” In other words, while we may be fooling others through our lie, the one who is most blinded by our lie is our own selves. This is because we do everything possible to make this lie believable to the point that we actually begin to believe it ourselves. This is the reason why when we hear people using very weak justifications for different things that they do it’s very hard to help them realize how empty their justification is.
There are a few things that we need to pay attention to now that we understand that lying is really hiding. When I am not willing to show up for another, I am not available or present to be in a relationship with that person. This is simply because I am not showing my true self and therefore I am not there. This means that every relationship I have with people ends up being quite shallow. In lying we also create a distorted view of reality. We argue that the circumstances are always different than the way they truly are. This actually turns us into delusional people. We feel safer lying/hiding and creating a delusion rather than facing reality. I probably don’t need to explain how unhealthy it is to live in a delusion. It’s actually very hard to live to lead a productive life when our feet are not on the ground, so to speak, and we are not in touch with reality.
So lying is just another one of those tactics that we use to provide us with short-term comfort. Very often it leads to long-term pain. This is always true whenever we choose to try and change the reality around us, the outside, in place of taking responsibility and owning up to who we are on the inside. Showing up in life and owning who we are can be painful at the moment. We are often terrified to actually be honest about who we are at different times. We fear the reaction that we are going to get from other people and rightfully so. We’ve had enough experience to know that when we do share any fault or weakness that we have there are always those who will try and capitalize on our area of vulnerability. The power of it though, is that we begin speaking truthfully. And as we do that we discover the enormous power of just simply showing up. No more games, no more hiding, no more make-believe, no more false realities, no more delusions. We simply show up and share who we are as we are at this moment. When we begin doing this we begin to discover how powerful and peaceful this approach to life is. The more we do it the less fearful we become of it and the more people admire us for the enormous courage that it takes to begin living a life speaking truthfully.
To become a little bit more spiritual and philosophical I’d like to throw in one more idea which I find to be extremely empowering and important. I find that the point of speaking truthfully actually runs to the very core of our purpose in this universe. This is based on a deep concept which I’m going to share in a few brief words. When God created the universe, being that He is an infinite being, meaning that he is everywhere and anywhere without limit, he needed to step to the side and make space for other existence aside for Himself. Essentially, God went into hiding. In fact, the way we say universe in Hebrew is Olam. This Hebrew word is derived from the word he’elam, which means hidden. This is because the very existence of the universe came about through God hiding Himself. Part of our mission in this universe is to reveal God from within the universe and this is why living a purpose driven life is so powerful.
I share all of this to bring out one point, that every time we hide behind a lie we are perpetuating the very problem in the universe that we are supposed to be correcting. And every time we speak truthfully we are correcting the very fundamental weakness of the universe. This is why even when we may find some justification to respond to someone else’s lie by lying back to them in return there is a deeper and greater damage which we are creating. When we accept our global responsibility and realize that we are part of something much greater than ourselves then we understand that lying has much greater ramifications then the isolated incident that we are dealing with.
So I encourage you to be courageous, to take on the challenge of becoming an individual who is committed to speaking truthfully and to realizing that the one who gains most from this is none other than yourself. And so I leave you with this question, “The next time you are faced with the opportunity to make a short-term gain through hiding behind a lie, will you remember the damage you are creating to the greater universe?”