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.
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.
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