I don’t understand lying.
Every time I admit that to someone, the standard response is “yeah, lying is so much work” or “the truth is so much easier”. So let me be clear, that’s not what I mean, although both of those statements aren’t wrong.
While we’re on the topic of what I don’t mean, I don’t mean that I am perfect in this regard. I have been around the block enough times to have lied to family, friends, employers, telemarketers, teachers, and strangers. In time, dishonesty, large and small, ended up weighing on me, and I decided it was better not to do things of which I was ashamed so that I could avoid the desire to lie about them. And if I decide to do something I’m not proud of, owning to it is one of the consequences.
One more thing I don’t mean: that honesty is always and everywhere excusable. I certainly have been accused of being too honest, and that accusation has basis in fact. I value the great conglomeration of Things That Are True, but that doesn’t give me a free pass to proclaim those things in their entirety without tempering my proclamation with charity.
I get myself in trouble a lot for attempting to preempt any potential dishonesty; I take the time to figure out the right answer before I respond to an inquiry. Do you want to get a drink later? Well, I got up early, and I have to sing tomorrow, and I should stay a little late at work…All this goes on inside my head before I share an answer, because there is nothing I hate more than replying “sure” without thinking and then backing out later.
For better or worse, people know when I am aggravated. Who does it serve to keep a damaged relationship to myself? By bringing grievances into the light we can let the sun warm them and maybe even shrivel them. And then we can celebrate when all is well again. I probably make people more uncomfortable with my frequent, honest, effusive declarations of affection than with my flares of frustration. I place more value on being honest about my love than about my anger.
I’m an extrovert and a very busy people person. I have lots of interactions and lots of different types of relationships. I believe that at its core every relationship needs the respect that honors another person with the truth. Dishonesty tells me you think I am not worthy of the truth, or that you don’t trust me enough to be able to handle reality.
There is more beauty in one thing that truly is, no matter how humble, than in a thousand grand mirages.
The truth has set me free. When I’m criticized for being too blunt, when I slip and say the thing I shouldn’t say, when I admit to a fault or error rather than trying to hide it, at least I know that I own my truth. I pursue integrity too keenly to try to hide reality. My yes means yes and my no means no because I think that’s what people deserve. I trust the world with my truth, even if that trust is naive. I can then be single minded in my own search for truth and for the freedom and beauty promised within it.
I love this post. And while I’m not as extroverted and so don’t express things the same way, I entirely agree.
Thanks as always –
Rob C says
Since u r on a topic I am currently pondering, what do you think the role of timing is in telling the truth. Is it ok to hold back a truth for a better moment to share it with someone? Sometimes I feel like with the people I most care about, I need to just put it out there whenever.
Ah, you make the fatal error of assuming that I have any wise counsel. Or maybe you just know me well enough to know I have opinions even if they’re not wise. I started composing a response in the shower (yes, I think about things like honesty and truth in the shower – I really need to get a radio or something to distract me), and realized it’s probably the topic for another post, hopefully one I can write later in the day. Stay tuned.
I always try to explain to people, once we’re close enough to share this with some sense of genuine honesty, that I hate lying above anything else. Surely, other more grievous things like murder or the like would take the place had I direct experience with it, but in my relationships thus far, lying is what both hurts me and enrages me the most. Normally, I lean more toward the rage. I can’t comprehend the idea of someone lying, especially when it’s to make themselves seem better than they are, which normally just makes them seem worse.
It’s complicated, but I understand. I have a tendency to be sometimes a bit too candid accordingly. Not on silly thing, of course, but when things are at stake and they matter in the long run. Fortunately I’ve met some people who wouldn’t have me otherwise. But that took awhile.