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Lies Or A Form of Protection?

A person may break your heart and damage your ...

A person may break your heart and damage your pride, but never ever give them the power to break your spirit. (Photo credit: deeplifequotes)

I have been thinking recently about truthfulness.  Lies can be sins of omission (not admitting to something when you should) and commission (telling lies when you should tell the truth).  Lying is something we learn to do by imitating the behavior of others.  Sometimes it is just a form of teasing and is done hopefully with a sense of fun and it is not meant to hurt the feelings of the person being teased.  Yet, there are people who use this excuse when they really intend to hurt the other person, but don’t want to be blamed for doing it.  It is also something we learn to do when we fear the consequences of telling the truth.  Taken a step further it is something we do to get somebody to do something that they wouldn’t do if they knew the truth.  In our society some lies are punished severely, namely, perjury, and others are permitted and if they harm the person being lied to, it is that person’s fault for believing them.  Namely, scams, and con games.  Taking money from a person who might not want to give it to you by threatening to shoot him or her is a crime punishable by imprisonment while using lying as a form of business practice is often acceptable and if is punished by the courts, it is often with a monetary settlement in a civil court.

Lies in one’s personal relationships can also be exploitative, but sometimes, they are used as a form of protection to avoid feelings of guilt and shame and sometimes even outright rejection by others whose support we feel we can not do without.  Children are very vulnerable.  They start out in life unable to meet their own needs and dependent on others to do this for them.  There is a fine line between teaching right from wrong and rearing a child with conditional love.  Thinking back on my own growing up, I realize that I felt insecure and did not feel self-confident at the times when I should have been able to tell the truth, but but choose not to even though I feared eventually being discovered.

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Can We Spot Our Own Lies?

Truth

Truth (Photo credit: d4vidbruce)

Often we are aware when we tell someone else a lie.  Signs of omission are harder to spot in oneself.  It happens when you should tell somebody something that you know is the truth but are unwilling or afraid to share.  Someone asks us for a favor, but we don’t say , “No,” but we don’t say , “Yes,” either.  Then later, the person asks us when we are going to do them a favor and we have to tell them, “No.”  We just put off saying what we should have said when we were first asked to do something and that is that we aren’t able to fulfill that request for them.  Sometimes we hope that by avoiding answering the question that the other person will get the hint that we don’t want to do it and not press us to give them a deliberate, “No.”  An unfortunate possible consequence is that the person making the request doesn’t look else for someone else to do the favor and is up the crick without a paddle by the time they realize you won’t do it.

The biggest problem with the truth is when you don’t tell yourself the truth.  Sometimes we lie to ourselves, for example, by telling ourselves we don’t have a problem with something when we do.  This is often true of alcoholics or people with drug addictions.  When we don’t see a problem, we can’t solve it.  Also possible clues about what might be causing the problem are not part of the picture as acknowledging them might suggest that we do something about them.

Sharing the truth can be a life changing experience especially when done relationships like the therapist-patient one either one-on-one or in groups.

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What A Sales Job

Don’t you tell me what you want.  I will tell you what you want and you will be happy with what you get.   This seems to be the theme of modern day business and politics.  Business leaders and political leaders seem to be far removed from the ordinary, everyday world and they forget that we live in a democracy where the voice of the ordinary citizen can and should be heard and make a difference.  Instead we get crammed down our throats what experts think is good for us (but it really is what is good for them).

Politician Hug

Politician Hug (Photo credit: buck82)

Many people make a career of telling the ordinary person what they should do with little or no basis of experience of being actually involved in and having lived with the conditions they are making recommendations about or have made a decision about.

Part of the problem is people telling other people what to do and then not applying it to themselves.  What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.  Would you buy or have you bought the thing you are advertising and used it?  How insincere can you get.  What it amounts to is telling lies.  When a person has a position of great power such as the President of the United State or a CEO of a major organization,  they are often perpetuating their own views of what society should need and want even if it hurts the people and benefits the person in power.  Ordinary people get caught up in this too and to keep a job which he or she desperately needs, they will frequently promote these ideas of those in power even if they know they are not right.  Are these crimes against humanity?

Why are we so afraid of the truth?  Why don’t we have a better educational system where students are exposed to all different points of view in order to find out what they believe.  Instructing students in logic would also help them with their decision-making.  One problem (which is another example of what was citied above about politicians and CEO’s) is that academics often have a particular theory or belief that they promote to the exclusion of opposing points of view.  Students can be very vulnerable to this type of influence if the professor appears particularly learned and holds a position of power or standing in his or her field.  Do these professors seek admiration from their students, all I know is that sometimes they can exert undue influence over their students.  This is not to neglect the professors that welcome inquiring minds and help the students to open to pioneering in new fields of interest.

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Omission vs. Commission

English: Truth-Telling Boy Barnstar

English: Truth-Telling Boy Barnstar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Children seem to learn how to lie at a very young age.  I don’t know which comes first, sins of omission versus sins of commission.  At some point, it becomes very convenient to avoid telling the truth or to not tell the truth at all and lie instead.  Lying is something we learn to do by imitating the behavior of others.  It is also something we learn to do when we fear the consequences of telling the truth.

It would be nice if telling the truth was something which came naturally and comfortably in the appropriate situation.  Some things we feel more comfortable telling others and other things we may feel less comfortable telling others.   One of the problems with telling the truth is that others might judge us based on what we say.  Also controlling others’ behaviors is often an overriding concern of some people and the penalty for telling the truth is that other people will think badly of them.  Parents sometimes make the mistake of caring more about what other people might think than they do about their own children’s feelings.

Generally we know inside when we are deliberately keeping the truth from someone and when we really don’t have to share.  If you come right out and tell the truth freely in every situation, not everyone values the truth and respects those who tell it.

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