Monday, March 14, 2011

Confessions of a Liar

I have a confession to make. I am a good liar. I mean a really good one. I don't know where it all started. Perhaps it was early in life when I wanted to avoid getting in trouble with my mother. Or it could have been in high school gym class when I wanted to get out of running and used my period as an excuse. (I still can't believe that one worked!) Maybe it is just ingrained in my DNA. I don't know, but as a child I saw that it work for me and kept on doing it.

Over the years I have lied to get out of trouble. I have lied to keep the peace. I have lied for self preservation. I have lied to save someones feelings. I have lied to gain something. I have lied to not loose something. I have lied to family, friends, authorities, bosses, children, you name it. I have lied.

Now I am really good at it.

The thing is for a long time I didn't even feel bad about it. I wasn't lying about big things. It's not like I ever worked for the mob or anything. I wasn't stealing or cheating anyone, at least that is what I told myself. I just told little white lies to get out of uncomfortable situations or *ahem* occasionally make myself look better.

Over the last few years I have really looked at this lying thing. I don't like it. I really don't like that there is my energy out in the world with lying attached to it. So, a few years ago, I stopped. Seriously, I stopped. It seemed almost too easy....

And now I realize it was....At the same time that I committed to stop lying I also stopped working in a corporate environment. It was almost too easy to lie to my boss and co-workers. It was too easy to B.S. my way through a project by telling little white lies. And when I stopped doing that work it was easier to stop lying.

Now I find myself in an office environment again. It is only part time and not for a big corporation, but I have caught myself telling little white lies already. It's almost like I can't control myself. And it's typically over something ridiculous like: "Hey did you make that phone call?", and my answer, "Oh yeah, I left a message." Even though I didn't make the phone call and totally forgot I needed to make the phone call at all. Is this some crazy survival instinct?

It all came home for me today. I was listening to a woman on the radio who said that she only has two rules, don't lie and don't cheat. I thought to myself, those are two excellent rules, and yet not lying seems to be so hard, as least in some situations.

I think the challenge for me now is to look at my lying at the office. Why do I do it? How can I get it under control? And why is it that I have such a hard time being completely honest there, but not in other places?

Just some random thoughts for off to make that phone call.


  1. Dude. Ditto. I have tried to stop lying because I get caught up trying to maintain this web of little white lies. Why lie in the first place? Same thing - to smooth things over, prevent unnecessary consternation, etc. Lying, like in your case with the phone call, is also an easy way out when it comes to avoiding the somewhat embarrassing "well why didn't you do it?" "because I forgot" discussion.

  2. Thanks for sharing this.

    Sometimes I don't even have to say anything to lie. Just the fact that we don't speak up for what we know or believe can be a lie. When we just go along with something, or stand by and watch people do things we know are harmful to others or to our environment, just because we don't want to be judged or ridiculed, we are living a lie.

    I take my word very seriously, because I know there is magic in the word, yet the silent lies that I do not speak are the ones that haunt me most. Fear itself is a lie - fear of standing up for an unpopular truth, fear of speaking out in the face of persecution or censure. It is all one big lie.

    So we seek "safe" places where we can be our true selves among friends - where truth is welcome and we don't feel like we have to lie. Perhaps we can gain enough strength in those safe places to be able to go out into the wider world and speak truth.

  3. Indeed Bernadette! I think that not saying the words, or speaking up, is as much of a lie as saying false words. It has been a challenge of mine on a personal level to speak up even when difficult. I'm getting a lot better at it, but it can be really hard.