How Often Do People Lie?
"We all lie everyday, whether it is to ourselves, our kids, our family, our friends, or complete strangers. Most people don't realize they lie as much as they do. How many times do you think you tell a lie on any given day?"
I found this question impossible to answer. So, naturally, I jumped on a soapbox and went on a jolly jaunt!
How often do I lie? I guess the simple answer is; "every day." And I'm glad I do. Here's my long winded why.
What is a lie?
How, and why do we tell them to ourselves daily?
Is it always a bad thing to lie?
I used to think so. I'm not so sure, anymore. I still highly value the truth, but the question becomes "what is truth?"
Our Own Limited Perspectives
Our Personal Map of the World includes lies so deeply embedded in each of us we cannot know all that we do not see. With much personal growth, we can overcome said lies and clear away much of the bovine fecal matter.
A great problem is: We do not know, what we do not know.
What this means is; if we are unaware of lies we tell ourselves, we often cannot see them without help. It is common knowledge among students of psychology and personality that others see in us things we cannot. Without standing outside of who you are, which isn't typically possible, we cannot see from another persons perspective. So we are bound to miss things others can see.
When someone tries to help us, most of us fight the new information. We get mad that people are pointing out our faults. In many cases, we "flip a gasket", "fruit a twinkie", or otherwise "freak out". Hard feelings are had. While it's understandable to take someone pointing out our faults personally, it's not a productive way to see the lies we tell ourselves and move beyond them.
Are All Lies Bad?
That said, not all lies are for bad reasons, and perhaps not all lies are bad.
Some presuppositions are a good thing, even if they are a lie. Such as the presupposition that everyone is doing the best they can with what they have. Whether or not this idea is true, assuming it is true can help smooth over relations with people.
If you have ever worked in customer service, you are most likely aware that treating someone as though they are stupid is always a bad thing. If you assume a person is smart, their behavior is more intelligent, and less hostile. If you treat a person as though they are stupid, or ignorant, you will get anything from a cold to a hostile response, and often less cooperation "proving" your assumption. This can cause much more trouble than it's worth.
In the end it could mean the difference between having a friendship with an amazing person, and having a bitter enemy in that same person. I've had that experience on numerous occasions. In some cases, the ideas they have are still what I consider very closed minded and offensive. If I let the differences in opinion color my judgement, or judge them as a person, I would be missing out on some great friends with diverse ideas. The same is true from their side. My ideas on these same topics are often considered offensive and sometimes downright disgusting. It's through respecting each other as people and not based purely on ideals that we can value each other and disagree. This can be very hard with some ideals.
I suggest then, even if it's a lie to think someone else is doing the best they can with the information they have, it's good to assume and believe this to be true. If it is true, they can always strive to do better and will. If it's not true, at least we still get to do the best we can with them. It's our behavior that really matters to us anyway, is it not?
Beautiful Lies Worth Telling
Is it a lie to believe despite proof to the contrary?
Is it a lie to believe despite no proof whatsoever?
Many people think so. Many people would fight against this idea. It all depends on what we believe.
Can a lie be beautiful?
That also depends on what you believe. Many people think there is only one truth. There are massive groups of people who believe this, while not agreeing on what that truth is. I doubt we can ever truly find an answer to that question. Too much of what truth is, belongs in the realm of our own personal perspectives. Some say only truth can be beautiful and lies are ugly, no matter the form.
Can a lie be beautiful?
I tell myself every day that I am a valuable person. That I can do wonderful things. That I am not only loved, but worth loving. There was a time I didn't believe it at all. Now, I usually do. I keep telling myself it's true, and often notice I believe it more.
If that is a lie, I'm happy to tell it.
Can a lie be beautiful?
Is it a lie to tell each of my four kids that they are the single most beautiful thing in the world, and mean it?
Is it a lie to them?
Am I lying to myself?
If so, I lie every day. I not only feel good about it, I am proud to delude my children and help them feel the love I have for them. Because I don't see a conflict in telling them each that they are the most beautiful thing in the world. They are each in their own way, exactly that.
It is my opinion that all of these things are beautiful.
Each of us are amazing, life is beautiful, and so are you. If that's a lie, I say it's one worth telling until you believe it. Even if you have to find a unique way to believe it.
© 2013 Cole Ikerd