If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything
We’ve all done it at some point, but often call it by a different name so as not to feel guilty. Lying is a dirty word, and a horrible act, we all know this. Who wants to admit that they are a liar?! Who even wants to be associated with a liar?! So, we dress it up in language that is less scary, and doesn’t make us feel so bad for engaging in this behaviour. A lie becomes a “little white lie”, an “embellishment”, “creative licence” or “bending the truth”. However you try to justify it, though, it’s still a lie. Calling it by a different name might soothe your conscience, but in reality it changes nothing. After all, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.
Lying destroys relationships, and ruins careers. There is no such thing as a small, insignificant lie. Once you lie, you will find yourself trapped. In order to avoid being exposed as a liar, you need to keep lying. It’s a vicious cycle which only ends when the truth inevitably comes out. When this happens, people find themselves no longer able to trust you, with your credibility and reputation left in ruins.
Whether you lie to a partner to avoid an argument, to a boss to hide your low productivity or to yourself about how hard you are working to better yourself, you are playing with fire and will get your fingers burnt. Fear is usually the biggest factor that drives people to be dishonest. We fear difficult and uncomfortable conversations with a loved one, losing a job or being unable to keep a promise which you made. So we lie to avoid awkward situations, avoid losing something we would rather keep hold of or to buy ourselves more time. In the process, though, we invite stress into our lives. Lots of it. When you lie, you feel guilty and you live in fear of the truth coming out. You have to remember the lies which you have told, and to whom, so as to avoid being caught. All of this can be stressful.
I know just how bad lying can be because i’ve been there. Looking back, it was the beginning of a downward spiral which led to depression and ultimately fighting for my life in hospital. Funny enough, life was actually really good. I had a wonderful fiancee and we were planning our wedding, surrounded by friends and family and I had an ok job. It wasn’t a great job, but I was working hard on landing myself a better one.
The wedding we were planning would be a pretty elaborate one, and very awesome. This, however takes a lot of planning, and it also doesn’t come cheap. Despite studying for a Masters, working full time, job hunting and house hunting, I convinced my fiancee and our families that this would all work out just fine. Problem is, I was lying to myself about how much I had taken on and how much I could manage myself.
I felt overwhelmed, yet insisted on doing as much as I could by myself. This just made things worse. I had plenty of people who would have gladly helped, yet my ego wouldn’t let me turn to them. So I lied and told everyone that everything was all in hand. I felt that if I just bought more time, everything would fall into place and would work out fine. More lies, but by now I was trapped in the lie and had to maintain it. Get found out, and I lose everything. Which I later did. The stress led to loss of sleep and the onset of depression. In turn, my immune system weakened, and before long, I was in hospital with pneumonia and sepsis.
Needless to say, the wedding was cancelled and it was all over. I hurt an awful lot of people who, if i’d been honest with, would have helped to ease the burden in any way they could. I only have myself to blame for lying and maintaining a lie. Had I been honest from the start, this would all have been avoided, but instead I lost everything and am now left fighting to better myself and get back all that I lost. I share this, in the hope that it may help somebody else to avoid the same painful mistakes which I made. Believe me, you don’t want to go through what I brought on myself, it really is no fun.
Honesty, both with ourselves and others, is more than just the best policy. Honesty is the only policy. There may very well be some consequences which arise as a result of being honest, but these can be overcome and people will respect you more for not avoiding the issue. Furthermore, honesty brings with it peace of mind and a clear conscience and the opportunity for learning and growth. Taking ownership of, and responsibility for, your errors or shortcomings teaches you an awful lot about yourself. Reflect on this lesson, and determine how best to pick yourself up and continue your journey towards your goals; is there a gap in your skills or knowledge which you need to address?
Resist the temptation to tell anything other than the truth. The mind has a habit of playing cruel tricks on us, with the scenarios which we fear and drive us to lie, often turning out to be huge exaggerations. On many occasions have I found myself surprised at how few consequences I encountered as a result of telling the truth after something bad happened. If you have any intention of reaching your potential, be honest at all times. You will make mistakes but reflect on them, learn from them and take responsibility for them. This is how character and reputation are formed, which along with persistence, hard work and integrity will take you wherever you want to go in life.
Be honest. Be open. Be humble. Be yourself.