Why Do People Lie?

Why lie?
When so-called leaders lie, a questions that haunts me is – why do people lie? What is the need for successful and responsible people to lie? Is it their natural behavior?

‘Never lie,’ is the first advice all children are given yet they learn to lie. Researchers who have studied and recorded the behavior of many children, teenagers and adults say: ‘All people lie,’ as this trait seems to be ingrained in human beings as much as trust. They consider it to be a ‘developmental milestone just like walking and talking.’ Some even call it “creative” aspect of brain.

    People lie out of fear:

Fears may hibernate inside our unknown and dark alleys but they do surface at the crucial moment – fear of not reaching up to the high expectations of parents or employers, fear of losing the trust of our emotional anchors or people around us, fear of stumbling or losing the position we are holding and many such situatons that scare us away from truth.

Children learn to lie to save themselves from punitive action but the most innocent lies that are easily detected do encourage them to embellish the ways they can be told – a natural brain process. While we dismiss the little lies of children with a smile or  laughter and reitetrate the age-old advice – ‘never lie,’ we know lies cannot be eliminated from our lives.

    People lie out of love:

A spouse or a lover who cheats, who has been spending hours away in the company of friends or seeking his/her own pleasures doesn’t want to hurt by telling the truth. He could be working on his behavior, he could be testing the new waters or could be in a conundrum about a new relationship, which he is unsure of.

Another person may hide his crumbling career or health issues from a mother to keep her away from unnecessary angst. People hide the harsh facts of their own life from their children and put up a façade of happy relationship to give them a healthy environment to grow into happy children.Lies Quote

    People lie to manipulate others:

A friend who lies to hog your attention or a colleague who lies to win favors and lets you down could be manipulating your goodness. In such cases your own virtues propel lies as you may never suspect that your friend may back stab you to get a higher position. Even your boss may take advantage of your truthful nature to extract some facts out of you or by passing on extra work to you by lying that he admires your sincerity.

Family members lie to manipulate us against each other to score personal points, to show their kindness or win respect. Sometimes such lies become as dangerous as snatching a share of property or hurting self-esteem to the extent of alienating them from each other.

    People lie to avoid confrontation:

This is the most common lie of modern times. In an attempt to be polite or save his skin, a husband lies to his wife when she showers all sorts of questions on him. It is very easy to lie and evade answers, which may lead to unpleasantness. Whatever the questions…one big lie – ‘I was busy’ or ‘I forgot’ is sufficient in all cases.

One of my colleagues would keep his cool in the face of atrocious lies against him. When asked how could he digest them, I was aghast at his response: ‘I don’t want any confrontation!

“Lies…they are like a cancer in the soul. They eat away what is good and leave only destruction behind.” – Cassandra Clare

People also lie to shift blame, to take advantage of the situation, to win admiration, to avoid embarrassment and to wriggle out of a difficult situation.

   On a light-hearted note, here are some harmless lies: (detrimental though to trust)

‘You are looking gorgeous!’…to a woman who is wearing a weird outfit.

‘Who says you are overweight? You are absolutely ok.’…to a sensitive woman.

‘I am late due to heavy traffic.’…oft told lie!

‘I am about to reach in 10 minutes.’… when you haven’t even started!

‘I have a meeting.’…not revealing with whom!

‘I am not hungry.’…coming home after a day’s work.

‘I would love to accompany you but I am busy’…to tick you off!

I love how Oliver Goldsmith,  an Irish novelist, playwright and poet, shrugged off lies…“Ask me no questions, and I’ll tell you no fibs.”

Thank you for reading this. Please share your valuable reflections, as they are much appreciated.

If you have liked this post, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Balroop Singh.

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Past Or Present – What Is Your Choice?

Past or present?
While it is natural to think about the past, which holds our memories and mistakes and inspires us to learn from them to move ahead, living in the present is the most worthwhile experience.

Living in the present moment, far away from the broodings of past and the apprehensions of uncertain, unpredictable future is so prudent, practical and sensible. Yet we keep drifting back and forth, seeking solace in the past memories and living in the illusionary world of future.

Why do people dwell in the past?

  • Stressful events of the past cling to us, making us think what went wrong, who was at fault.
  • Guilt doesn’t dissolve till we have ruminated enough, fixed responsibility or found a solution.
  • Negative thoughts are more powerful and require extra energy to dispel them.
  • Some hurtful memories keep haunting us.
  • Some shocking discoveries about the family could be difficult to forget.
  • Emotional distress takes a longer time to heal.

If you too get mired in the regrets and hurts of the past, I must tell you that I have not come across a better description of living in the present:

“I lit the candles and said out loud, “what am I waiting on? Someone to sell them in a garage sale for a quarter after I die?” And it was beautiful. And the smell was even more incredible than I remembered.”–Paula Heller Garland

Whenever abrasive past stands before me, I talk it out of my mind. I write a poem on the shadows of past and bury this demon with more words.

I savor the present moment. This is the only asset in our hands. Live it happily. Give your best to this moment for you will cherish it tomorrow.

I have always lived in the present, accepted the misfortunes, made peace with the disappointments, delighted in its little blessings, found happiness in whatever the present moment has offered and sat in the shadows of sadness to let the dark moments of my past pass by.Make peace with your past

Living in the present

  • Keeps us focused
  • Frees us from anxiety
  • Encourages us to put in our best
  • Makes us emotionally strong
  • Improves our mental health
  • Gives happiness that lasts

What prevents us from living in the present?

We are constantly judging ourselves, we keep talking to ourselves, finding fault with our decisions and disturb our own serenity of mind.

Past connects us with our present, which could be distressing due to our own faults.

It also depends on the kind of personality we have. Some people are brooders. They are prone to negative thinking. Doubts dominate their thoughts and anxiety flows in their veins. This anxiety ruins the little moments we could savor!

Research has shown that focusing on the past reduces the power of positive emotions.

It is very natural to think about the future and onerous to forget the past completely. Present stems from the past and steers us into the future. These links cannot be snapped. Perfectly fine! Don’t snap those links.

Living in the present doesn’t mean de-linking from the past or stop planning for the future. It just means protecting our mind from negative thoughts, leading a more meaningful life, staying focused on our goals, hoping for the best and be happy.

 “If you are depressed, you are living in the past
  If you are anxious, you are living in the future
 If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”
 –Lao Tzu  

Do you live in the present?  Do the ghosts of your past haunt you? Is the planning for future overwhelming?

Thank you for reading this. Please share your valuable reflections, as they are much appreciated.

If you have liked this post, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Balroop Singh.

 

What Is The Best Apology?

Real apology
There are two kinds of apologies – one that is real, that makes you feel guilty to introspect and change your behavior. Second is the one that is done just to please, to avoid an argument, shift the responsibility or save a relationship.

When I was growing up, I was many times told to apologize to assuage the feelings of somebody though I had done no harm. Even when I refused to do a chore that I didn’t feel like doing or felt it was below my dignity to polish the shoes of a sibling, I was given a violent reward and told to apologize!

Obviously I refused, as I didn’t believe in such an apology. In my view, a sincere apology is the one that emanates from one’s heart and is well deserved too.

Do you believe in apology? Some people don’t, as it is below their dignity to apologize.

Why?

  • People who maintain emotional distance never apologize.
  • Their ego and pride is bigger than all relationships.
  • They don’t want to take the blame.
  • They don’t want to abdicate power and control over others.
  • They believe in self-righteousness, not humility.
  • Anger and bitterness may overpower their goodness.
  • Self-esteem, which they nurture, is all-important.

On the other hand are people who apologize profusely and live that moment only to forget it the next day.

  • They are most insensitive.
  • They live within moments.
  • They never make an effort to change.
  • For them, apology is just a face saver.
  • Fear of consequences propel them to apologize.
  • They could be living in the shadow of their own insecurities.

Which ones do you like?

Is apology meaningless? Sometimes, if it is not received well.

Recently my argumentative muse mentioned that apology and forgiveness go hand in hand. In order to forgive, an apologetic and receptive heart is required. If forgiveness is not received well, it becomes meaningless.

I reminded her that we forgive for our own solace. The person I forgive may remain as vindictive as ever, may remain indifferent and hostile but all those negative vibes return to the heart they stem from. They can never touch me because the moment I forgive, I detach myself from such people.

Forgiving ourselves

Sometimes we have to forgive ourselves for the hurts we may have caused to others. We may justify our actions by telling ourselves that ‘we didn’t hurt intentionally’ but we can never comprehend the perspective of others who think otherwise.

I know forgiveness is not easy. I have painstakingly taught myself this art. I kept on reassuring myself for many years that I would never forgive certain people, as this thought gave me a grim satisfaction that I have vindicated myself.apology quote

I also know very well that basic human behavior has not changed for ages. What we have learnt is the art of wearing masks. We try not to offend, we choose our words carefully, we avoid the topic that may cause unpleasantness, and we become ambivalent whenever a direct question is asked but we never reveal what lies within our heart. We never share our most secret thoughts.

The best apology is to change your behavior:

Change may be hard but only through behavioral changes do we become a likeable person. Is it so hard to change one’s behavior?

  1. We could begin with kindness, the virtue, which is innate, which is like a candle that needs just a spark to get ignited. A kind word spoken with sincerity is always heard.
  2. We could stop making glum faces and smile more often to reassure the other person that our apology was honest.
  3. We could try to be emotionally present during our interactions and keep our digital devices away.
  4. A meaningful conversation melts away many fears and insecurities.
  5. We could respect each other with little gestures of sharing the chores we detest.
  6. It is better to forgive even those who refuse to acknowledge it. Their own moment of understanding the value of apology would hit them one day. Let their age yield them at the altar of forgiveness.

Thank you for reading this. Please share your valuable reflections, as they are much appreciated.

If you have liked this post, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Balroop Singh.

Why Are Some Human Beings So Vindictive?

Are you vindictive?

You must have heard the infamous refrain ‘an eye for an eye’ or the age-old dictum ‘Tit for Tat’…Revenge has always seemed sweet to most of the people since times immemorial.

Psychologists and researchers believe that human behavior is determined by the genes and the kind of environment we live in. While the role of Nature and Nurture has always been accepted, even the best of upbringing and education couldn’t exterminate the innate vindictiveness of human beings.

It can be discerned in the innocent squabbling of toddlers; it gets sharpened when they grow up to face the competitive world of sports and schooling and slowly it becomes a part of their personality.

Probably the real reason is rooted in the evolution of human race, which had to struggle to survive against all odds and challenging circumstances. In modern times, when people are blessed with all kinds of materialistic and spiritual choices, revenge refuses to slacken its hold on human psyche.

Why? What could be the possible reasons?

Revenge is triggered not just by deceit, infidelity or injustice.

There are very insignificant reasons, which may not seem as trivial as you could presume.

Negative thoughts: Vengefulness could be a reaction to their own negative thoughts, which make people insecure and jealous. Family bickering and rivalries are the best example of such insecurities. When one member of a family becomes successful or is seen to be happy, others step in with their malicious thoughts of creating rifts to grind their own axe and exploit emotions.

Ruining relationships: Jealous people want all the attention, they want to prove they are the most loving and caring and if they find a challenger, they make a surreptitious attempt to alienate your siblings or other relatives by backbiting; by creating such situations which could prove you to be a villain.

It gives momentary pleasure: Revenge seeker has his own reasons, his frustrations and failures for which he holds others around him responsible. Seeing them suffer could give him pleasure. It might even boost his bruised ego. His helplessness in reacting directly could be camouflaged in the façade of goodness. Revenge hurts you also

It assuages anger: Anger, the most illogical and unbridled emotion gets mitigated by revenge. Hurting others and meting out the most unreasonable treatment through their jibes, punitive actions or passive aggression gratifies such avengers.

It proves one’s power: Vindictive people consider themselves to be more powerful. Sometimes they are influential due to the positions they hold. They could be your bosses or colleagues. A disappointed colleague who was eyeing the promotion you got or the boss who has been given a negative feedback may rob you of your peace of mind. Those who want to let you down would derive sadistic pleasure out of such situations.

Insecurities: “Living well is the best revenge,” said George Herbert but vindictive people don’t let you live well! Your living well exposes their own imperfections to them, making them insecure in their heart of hearts.

Have you heard of nemesis? It is the inescapable agent of someone’s or something’s downfall. An agent of natural justice… some people call it “Karma” and believe that whatever goes, comes around and you have to pay for your evil deeds.

Nemesis catches vindictive people sooner or later!

Vengefulness is a negative streak, which can only be addressed by our own inner voice. Like all negative emotions, it does hold some goodness. It acquaints us with our real self. it might lead us to introspection!

Negative emotions are very subtle and deceptive. They absorb more energy but they often walk away victorious, testing our patience and strength, ennobling us, belittling our ego, thereby transforming us into humble human beings.

You can read more about negative emotions and how they help us.

Thank you for reading this. Please add your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

If you have liked this post, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Balroop Singh.

 

How Relevant Are Short Stories In Our Lives?

How relevant are short stories

Short stories are as dear as lullabies if they are introduced at the right time. While babies derive delight in looking at the illustrations and hearing the familiar voice of their parents, children love to cuddle up with a good story book.

My earliest memories of short stories are connected with my grandma, who could tell me weirest tales without a book but only at bed time. Her favorite refrain that ‘if we tell stories during the day, travelers forget their way’ was taken seriously by us. Though I chuckle at her belief now but it brings fond memories of her face whenever I think of stories.

My love for stories grew as I chose to study and later teach literature and had an easy access to all those renowned names known for writing brilliant pieces. Some of them got entrenched in my memory as they encouraged me to imbibe the values that they glowed with.

This love was recently revived by ‘What’s In A Nameby Sally Cronin, an engaging collection of twenty short stories, each story inspired from real life and emotions that every individual has to live through. Another captivating anthology ‘Twelve Tales Of Christmas’ by Cathleen Townsend infuses a spirit of togetherness and warmth through its stories of human interest. Now I am reading ‘The Story Teller Speaks’ by Annika Perry and I am amazed at her enchanting style of holding the readers.

My blogger friend Nihar whose ever-inspiring creative stories make a delightful reading, recently requested me to share the short stories that have left a mark on my personality and I got this idea of sharing these timeless classic tales.

The first one that comes to my mind is the ‘Gift of Magi’ by O.Henry. When I had read this story, I was too young  to absorb the emotion behind buying a gift, too young to understand why gifts are so important, as I had rarely received them but I learnt how important they can be and why people make sacrifices. I often wonder – could there be a better example of true love?

This value of sacrifice is further highlighted in ‘The Last Leaf by O. Henry. Old Behrman, an unsuccessful, dejected artist who was always talking about his masterpiece,  had nothing to sacrifice but he wanted to save the life of young Johnsie who had lost the desire to live. The last leaf that never fell and saved her life was actually Behrman’s masterpiece that he had painted on a snowy and windy night! How benevolence and inspiration can uplift human spirit touches my heart whenever I read this story.

‘The Model Millionaire’ by Oscar Wilde is remembered not only for the excellent prose and succinct style of Wilde’s writing but also for inserting subtle messages for humanity like… “Romance is the privilege of the rich, not the profession of the unemployed.” Generosity could be an inborn trait and a kind act never goes unnoticed. If Hughie could donate his last sovereign to the ‘poor beggar,’ the beggar didn’t disappoint him!

Saki, whose real name was H.H.Munro has written several masterpieces but ‘The Background’ appeals to me the most, as it is a satire on the hypocrisy and love of art, which is considered to be more valuable than a human being who is treated like a rare piece of art as he carried the masterpiece of a tatoo artist on his back! The story jolts you out of your slumber and makes an effort to underline what is more important – a person’s dignity and freedom or just a piece of art?

Short Stories

God Sees the Truth but Waits by Leo Tolstoy made a deep impact on me and I have discussed it time and again to fathom why does God wait so long, why does an innocent suffer for the crime of another person, how could forgiveness be as noble as it has been made out to be? Spiritual interpretations of this story have failed to convince me why was an innocent man used as a tool for the purgation of the soul of a hardened criminal? Isn’t God all-powerful?

The Bet by Anton Chekhov delves deeper into human psychology, bringing out the frailties of human beings on one hand and nobility that one can acquire if one wishes to. The argument over what kind of punishment is better – life imprisonment or death penalty culminates in proving that life imprisonment could be more humane as it offers an opportunity to the criminal to change. The lawyer who chose to accept solitary confinement, just for the bet, slowly rose above ordinary human beings and understood how immaterial is the lust for money and luxury.

A Man Who Had No Eyes by MacKinlay Kantor has stayed in my memory for the outstanding style of narration, style and a sudden unexpected twist that leaves the reader spellbound. It is not just a short story… it is a comment on life, how we approach it positively and move on. A must read to change your outlook on life.

Sparrows by K.A. Abbas brilliantly highlights some harsh realities of life, which had hardened a man. But a streak of kindness, so natural to human instincts, didn’t die and it could be ignited by loving birds, without even a word. A man, presumed to be devoid of emotions, shunned by villagers and even his own family is transformed into a loving and kind human being by the love of sparrows for their own young ones.

God Is Near by James Herriot convinced me that love could be found in furry friends too. If we love His creation, we can feel the presence of God around us even without visiting any religious places. Dr. Herriot’s unspoken commitment to the dogs and cats of Miss Stubbs was no less than her housekeeper.

Short stories lay bare various facets of life. They are more effectual in conveying the values without sermonizing about them. Each emotion can be felt through short stories if they are told in their true spirit.

Have you read any of these stories? Please share your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

If you have liked this post, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Balroop Singh.