By Dr. Dina Evan This is time of year when we wear masks and scare people. However, the scariest truth is we spend the majority of our lives behind a...
By Dr. Dina Evan
This is time of year when we wear masks and scare people. However, the scariest truth is we spend the majority of our lives behind a mask, not being who we really are and not knowing how to get there. Frequently, we are different people with different truths for different people, and we do it with such ease, we almost believe the lies ourselves. Pamela Meyer, author of Liespotting, claims in her TED Talk that we’re lied to from 10-200 times a day. We create a set of lies for this person or group and a different set of lies for another. It’s not that we are trying to be deliberately malicious, but boy, have we gotten creative with our lies.
One of the ways we lie, is we tell people what we think they want to hear. Like children, we even color our lies. For instance, lies of omission, or the ones we justify by not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings are considered white lies. Even these seemingly harmless, cute, little lies destroy our integrity and chip away at our self-esteem. They create guilt because we know, inside, we are hiding something about which we feel ashamed.
Frequently, we call in the troops and collude with others and we get them to shade the truth with us. When you create an alternate, agreed upon, reality between you and another person, this makes them complicit and especially if they are a young person — it teaches them that lying is okay. Another kind of lie is when we make ourselves look better by acting pridefully, as if we did something on our own, without acknowledging that we couldn’t have been successful without the help of others.
What about Exaggeration?
Today, we’re experiencing a tremendous amount of exaggeration. When you exaggerate or lie about yourself or abilities, you are left feeling like a fraud, which further diminishes your self-esteem. When people realize you’re lying, not only have you lost credibility, but you have also lost trust.
You have taken a step back from being your true self, and into being more of a fraud. It’s especially difficult to watch those you love — lie. It makes us sad because we so want something real, especially with those closest to us.
The youngest among us lie the least, simply because they have not yet learned how. So what are we teaching them?
How do we Stop?
Perhaps, part of the issue is that we perceive telling the truth as hurtful. Actually, it’s a gift that says, “I respect and love you too much to lie to you.” People honestly feel safe and valued by you when they know you will always tell them the truth, even when it smarts a bit. Otherwise, when they know you are someone who lies, they never feel safe about anything you are telling them, even though you might think you are getting away with it.
So here is a real truth for you. Telling the truth is a gift you give to yourself and to those you love. It’s part of your soul work and a direct reflection of your integrity or lack of it. When you are truthful, those around you, see a role model for integrity and honesty and they too begin to feel safe about being authentic and coming out from behind the mask. Truth-telling is a part of our work and it’s solely about each of us, not about any other person.
We also want to remember that telling the truth doesn’t have to be delivered with a sledge hammer. For instance, When someone says, Do you think I look fat in this outfit?” A loving and truthful answer might be, “I like you in the blue one better.” Or, if someone congratulates you on a team accomplishment, rather than taking all the credit, you might say, “Thanks I appreciate the compliment, but I had a lot of help.”
So, given the level of consciousness, or lack of it, in the world right now, maybe you and I can make a commitment to take off our masks and even if we start with the little things. We can care about ourselves and those we love enough to simply tell the truth.
If you need some tools, go to DrDinaEvan.com and watch the videos. And here is one of our truths, writing these columns is an opportunity that requires us to take off our masks each month and I for one, am deeply grateful for that gift.