Why We Lie
Long before research confirmed it, experience taught me why we lie. And basically, we do it for two reasons. Firstly, we do it to get something we want but believe we can’t secure honestly. Secondly, we do it to avoid pain, discomfort, or unpleasant consequence.
We lie, therefore, to manipulate our environment. And sometimes it seems to work. But in the end, lying always cost us. That’s true whether we try to deceive someone else or merely ourselves.
Self-Deception Is Not Necessarily Denial
Some of life’s realities really challenge us. And we naturally shy away from the difficult. We simply dislike what’s painful. And facing the truth can be really painful at times. But to have character you must have the courage to face the truth without denial or deceit.
Now, sometimes life deals us an unexpected and catastrophic blow. And when reality is simply too painful to consciously bear, our unconscious can put us in a state of denial. I give an example of that kind of thing in Character Disturbance. But other times, we kid ourselves more consciously. And we do that when we’re still getting too much out of the way we’re doing things and we don’t want to bear the burden of change. The truth may not be pretty. And sometimes we choose to ignore it because we know what may be asked of us to truly reckon with it.
Ultimately, why we lie has everything to do with how difficult it can be to reckon more honestly with things. And when we don’t honestly reckon with ourselves, we dig ourselves into a major hole with respect to our character growth. All the major religions know and teach this. And the various 12-step programs include a step dedicated to honest self-reckoning.
Why we lie has always intrigued me. But it has intrigued me more to observe the tremendous growth of those who dare to honestly self-reckon. Facing the truth often requires the utmost courage and determination. And sometimes it requires a therapist’s loving confrontation. But it truly has the power to set a person free. Free from what? Free from the self-imposed character arrest that necessarily arises out of any lie. In the end, how truthfully we self-reckon determines how solid a character we build.
Character Matters will air live Sunday March 4. So, I can take your calls at (501) 258-8326. Last week’s program featured a rebroadcast of an earlier one. And this was announced in last week’s post. But several folks called in, only to be frustrated. So, I invite those wanting to participate or ask a question to try again Sunday. The program airs at 7 pm Eastern Time on UCY.TV.