Have you ever faced a situation where you know that you could get out of some unpleasant circumstance, at least temporarily by lying?
That is a very uncomfortable situation not only because we know that lying is wrong, but also because we know that lying is sometimes much easier than telling the truth.
It seems that we live in a time were just being honest about basic things is unusual. Most people consider themselves “basically honest”, but many of those same people will lie about the most mundane things such as saying they have a doctor’s appointment to get off work early.
A few years ago an accounting manager in a large state agency had a problem with the temporary receptionist.
The manager thought that receptionist was sloppy at their desk and he was particularly bothered by the crumbs and fingerprints on the keyboard. While the receptionist was at lunch, the manager cleaned up the keyboard.
All this was perfectly reasonable, and several people witnessed the cleaning. But then, when the receptionist returned, and in the presence of three people who witnessed the cleaning, the manager said, “The computer services people were here and they cleaned up your keyboard for you. They said you should not eat over your keyboard”.
The manager looked at each of the other employees, in turn, tacitly asking them to confirm his story. All three turned to walk away. They did not back him up but did not disagree either.
While this an extreme example of someone telling a very blatant lie to avoid discomfort, it is probably not as uncommon a story as we would like it to be.
Too often, we associate the idea of “discomfort” with actual pain, and we do whatever it takes to avoid it. Often this includes lying.
Becoming aware of the temptation to lie is the first step in being more than just basically honest, and being truly honest, with ourselves and with other people.
Being honest with ourselves is important because our feelings about ourselves reflect on our relationships with others. If we know we are not always honest as we could be, we suspect that others are not being honest with us.
Being dishonest with other people prevents us from being truly honest with ourselves, and then the whole thing snowballs into a big mess.
The is very rarely a good reason to lie, and usually, we use the little evasions we make up not because there was a good reason to do so, but because we could not think of a good reason not to. So be true to others and you will in the end, remain true to yourself.