Why does Everybody Lie?

Dear Ron,

I just wanted to say that I enjoy your column immensely. It has helped me to understand the  world around me and now I am well situated. To me your words are pearls that I will forever keep deep in my bosom . But Yes!  I too have a query to make cleary. Don’t you think that people lie too much?  Yes, lying is fine  in its place. Where would we be if we didn’t lie? The world would be all needles. But there are limits, I think. I don’t believe anyone anymore and I don’t like that. I am seeing people as false and furtive. Nobody tells the truth  (except you!), and I don’t know what to do. Help me to understand.

Bewildered Barb

Dear Barb,

I couldn’t agree with you more, especially about the part which says that I am the only truth teller. But I won’t polish my pride too long on that one. There is, after all, the Dalai Lama, who does know what he is talking about, though I wish he would find a better tailor.

Yes, everyone lies, yes, everyone lies a lot, yes, it’s a shame. Why?  Because the truth is better than a lie. Why? Because it is. The truth makes us better people. The truth sets us free.  Falsehood keeps us  fearful prisoners.

But the truth can sometimes hurt. I would  rather someone told me he hated my guts than pretend that he likes me. And I have known some truthful people in my life.

People lie for various reasons:  for convenience, out of fear, to avoid hurting someone, to avoid embarrassment, to manipulate others, to get away with or to get something. It is also possible that one does not know what is the truth in some circumstance, or there are various versions of something and the truth is difficult to pin down.

Sometimes the truth is a matter of perspective . In that case, it is not real lying but more a matter of ignorance. Truth can always stick its head up and proclaim, “I am the truth. I am the way.” There is a fella who said that and has been believed for over two thousand years. Was he lying? No, I don’t think so. He seems to have a pretty solid case.

There is something greater in us that makes us believe in what he says. We all aspire to truth whether we know it or not… and if you believe that… So how do we deal with all of the lies that get thrown our way? By just accepting that people lie and will always go on lying, and by perhaps seizing on the compassion to dig a little deeper  for their reasons, and then to let it go. The important thing is that you don’t get dragged down into becoming a liar yourself. It is not an easy thing to do, but it will provide cold comfort at times.

I hope this helped, but maybe it didn’t.

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