By Cathy L Eck
“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
― Mark Twain
Beliefs or Lies Beget More Lies
If you’ve read my other articles, you know that I refer to all beliefs as lies because all beliefs come from our false self. The word belief contains the word lie within it. That doesn’t make them bad or wrong; it just puts them in their proper place. True authenticity results when we give up our false self and move from our head to our heart.
In this article, I’ll discuss the act of being dishonest in the form of withholding information, white lies, or full-blown dishonesty. You could say it is about being false within the false self or the lies within the lies.
Remembering the First Lie
I remember the first time I told a lie. I was about 17 years old, and my boyfriend convinced me that you don’t always have to tell the whole truth. He said that if you omitted a detail or two, and it didn’t hurt anyone, lying was okay. I wouldn’t have accepted that advice from just anyone, but he had a reputation as a great communicator. He was also very religious. I considered him a sort of authority on life because he was an expert in looking good and fitting in.
Within a year or two, he introduced me to the concept of the white lie. Again, his perspective smacked me on the head as a profound realization. It never occurred to me to say something other than what I truly thought and felt.
The art of lying progressed as our relationship progressed; and when we married, I felt like I fit into the real world for the first time in my life. Eventually, it seemed illogical to tell the truth. Looking back, that was the beginning of the long, slow death of our relationship. Fitting in came with too high of a price. I was losing my Self.
The longer I stayed married, the less I liked myself. I was much more in my mind and much less in my heart. In modern lingo, he was slowly reversing my psychological framework. Telling the truth once brought me peace and joy. Now it attracted criticism and discomfort. If he asked my opinion, and I was honest; he was angry if it didn’t match what he wanted to hear. He wanted to hear nice, kind words even if they weren’t honest. He believed that he lied for my benefit, so I should lie for his.
But what he could not hear me say is that I wanted to hear the truth even if I didn’t like it. I wanted to know where I really stood in his mind so I could choose to change it or at least defend it.
“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”
Has Lying Become Normal?
The book, Quirkology: The Curious Science of Everyday Lives, by Professor Richard Wiseman discusses the phenomenon of dishonesty.
“Researchers have asked people to keep a detailed diary of every conversation that they have, and of all of the lies that they tell, over a two-week period. The results suggest that most people tell about two important lies each day, that a third of conversations involve some form of deception, and four in five lies remain undetected, that more than 80 percent of people have lied to secure a job (with most saying that they thought employers expected candidates to be dishonest about background and experience), and that more than 60 percent of adults have cheated on their partners at least once.”
Professor Wiseman demonstrates that lying is so common that we almost feel we are at a competitive disadvantage when we are honest. I realized that my husband was painfully normal. When we live behind the protection of a social mask and say what others want to hear, we don’t notice that they are wearing masks too. We just take the pretty words as the whole message without discrimination. Eventually, this practice erodes our self esteem so that we believe negative feedback even if it’s not true; and we discount valid compliments because we give phony, meaningless compliments.
When I owned a technology company, I thought I had to play the lying game. Slick salespeople ruled my industry. While they appeared to thrive in that competitive environment, it was killing me. I had reached my personal bottom in the world of lying.
Finally, I realized that I would rather go bankrupt than stretch the truth anymore. I wanted integrity more than I wanted money. That decision proved to be a very powerful and surprisingly profitable decision. People knew they could trust me; they gave me their business even if I wasn’t the most qualified or the least expensive. They felt safe and secure in my nest.
“Clinton lied. A man might forget where he parks or where he lives, but he never forgets oral sex, no matter how bad it is.”
― Barbara Bush
Why People Lie
This was a huge turning point for me. I told the truth and didn’t lose anything. I didn’t hurt anyone. I felt free; and I wanted more.
There is a scientific reason behind our true Self’s desire to be an open book demonstrated by kinesiology or muscle testing. Muscle testing proves that when we lie, our body goes weak. The ancient masters would take it even further. They would say:
When someone lies, a little part of them dies.
So what we all want to know is why people lie? Lying comes from a much deeper belief. My husband believed that, ”The truth hurts,” and he convinced my mind that his belief was true. But, I knew in my heart that, “The truth would set me free.” Turns out both of us were right. But the choices were not equal. Moving toward the freedom of the heart is much different than moving away from pain and hurt.
My heart pushed me to tell the truth, and each time I felt a little freer, a little lighter, and a little more alive. His mental belief caused him to feel guilt if he told the truth. He felt he was hurting another. He gave up his ability to grow or change because growth requires revelation and exposure.
Most people live life as if their mind is a secret chamber; they hide and hold things within that chamber that no one else will ever know. But then they wonder why they are so very lonely. People are starving for intimacy and unconditional love. But you can’t experience real love if you are worried about keeping the lock secure on your secret chamber.
My husband lied because in his family, the truth did hurt. He couldn’t live by his family’s strict religious rules; and when he eventually broke them, he was punished. He accepted the belief that the only way to have any freedom was to break the rules and lie about it. Given his upbringing, it makes complete sense.
He created a blanket belief in his mind that freedom means breaking the rules and lying to cover your ass so no one gets hurt. It never occurred to him to be honest or to challenge their rules. By adulthood, he even saw rules and shoulds that didn’t exist, just so he could feel the satisfaction and false freedom of breaking them.
As a child, he couldn’t challenge the rules. We were all given stupid rules and shoulds as children that we couldn’t challenge; and so we still accept stupid rules and shoulds as adults when we can question and challenge them.
“Because the truth sometimes hurts,” I said.
“Yeah,” he said. “So do lies, though.”
― Sarah Dessen, Just Listen
The Long Journey to the Heart
I’ve come a long way since I made that decision to stop lying. The simple act of making a decision that pointed me toward my heart took me to a world that I didn’t even know existed. Lying is far more complex than simple omission or dishonesty.
When we lie to others, we also lie to ourselves. We lie to ourselves when we think we aren’t deserving. We lie when we think we aren’t beautiful or talented. We lie when we think we should do something to please another or blindly obey their win-lose rules. We lie when we follow social conventions that are superficial and lacking in intimacy. We lie when we think we are our past mistakes. We lie when we believe that we’ll be punished for following our heart. We lie when we think another should think like us.
All of the thoughts that cause us to lie are what the ancient masters called our false self. It has no purpose other than to create an illusory world of competition, pain, suffering, slavery, and death. And when we lie within the realm of our false self, we put ourselves in a virtual prison with no parole.
The ancient masters explained exactly why people lie. People lie when they have beliefs that make telling the truth more painful than lying. The masters taught that we can let go of the cause one belief at a time. We have to courageously expose the beliefs, labels, and secrets that fill our minds. When we do, we peel back the layers until we reach our true Self where lying is impossible because there is nothing to lie about or hide. We become a pure and beautifully open book. We are free!
Cathy Eck has been studying universal wisdom for the past twenty years. She is passionate about sharing what she’s learned because it gives people true freedom, creates great leaders, heals bodies, and makes life worth living. Learn more about Cathy’s work at Gateway To Gold Private Healing and Leadership Coaching.