Why we lie
The concept of telling the truth is a topic which could be discussed infinitum. There are many good reasons for telling the truth. Conversely there are many good reasons why we lie. We learn to lie at a very early age, according to Australian Psychologist Doctor Dorothy Rowe. Rowe has studied the concept of lies extensively. As well as working with her clients she has researched and has written a book called 'Why We Lie'.
Rowe believes that often we learn to lie to our parents at a very young age. As young as the early age of three. One of the reason that children as young as three learn to lie is to please the people they are directly and absolutely dependent on. Parents and as such find the need to please them in order to gain favour, be loved, be fed and so on. Children so young of course are still at the very early stages in learning development. Acceptable behaviour is being processed and discovered. So many things yet to learn in life and for some reason adults expect the young child to be so logical so early. Many things that to an adult seem ordinary and common sense. Rather than understanding a child through the innocent eyes that are the child's they superimpose an adults view of the world on them
Every day we may lie unconsciously or because it suits us. for instance when we say to some one how are you? and the response is I'm fine thanks nearly every time. Is the interaction really honest. For one do we really care how a person is or not and in response do we always give an honest answer to the question by saying I'm fine thanks when the real answer is well Ive had a lousy day so far nothing has gone right and so on and so forth. One explanation may be we want to quickly get onto a further topic because time is short for instance.
Next the topic of giving compliments. Rowe does not advocate not giving people compliments; To the contrary we need to do it more often. But we should only do it when we are genuine in doing so. Doing it to meet our own deeper needs displays 'bad faith' and may come back to bite us.
A study, published in the Journal of Basic and Applied Psychology, found that 60 percent of people had lied at least once during the 10-minute conversation, saying an average of 2.92 inaccurate things. This goes to the need of wanting to be accepted and fearing a reduction of self esteem. Or rather our self esteem is so low that we feel the need to exaggerate facts that surround us in order to make our pitch more socially acceptable and reduce the risk of scorn or ridicule. Even though such fear may be totally unfounded.
Similarly when we give a compliment to someone when it's not warranted or the claim is exaggerated we should examine why we do this. Do we do it so we are liked more or do we genuinely do it in order to make the person feel justifiable better about themselves. Rowe discovered that often there are many ulterior motives for our actions and words with others.
In order to make peace with ourselves in order to display more integrity we should as a matter of course become more conscious of what we say and do and keep it aligned with what is straight and true. That way we can reduce the amount of anxiety and fear we experience and develop a better more authentic sense of self.