Why is it so difficult to tell the truth sometimes?
The average person in the United States lies 11 times per week. That means some people are telling fibs a lot more often than others. About 60% of people lie at least once during a 10-minute conversation.
There are several different reasons why people choose to avoid the truth. For the average person, the goal is to look good to others and yourself. Being a “little” dishonest can feel like a fair price when you want to manage your overall appearance.
Lying is also directly connected to a person’s self-esteem. If an individual believes that their confidence is under attack, then their dishonestly levels see an immediate spike.
Some people might not even think that their behavior qualifies as lying.
What Are the Different Types of Lying?
Fake News might be the most popular type of lying that we see today. Whether people share content that they know is false or create it to generate a reaction from others, we must be cautious when examining any news story online.
We must also remember that a person’s opinion is not always a fact.
There are several forms of social lying that people do without even realizing that their actions are dishonest. Do you participate in any of these behaviors when having a conversation with someone?
- Exaggerating comments so that your accomplishments appear to be bigger or better.
- Downplaying your failures so that a mistake doesn’t seem as bad as it was.
- Offering a fake compliment to someone.
- Agreeing with someone outwardly while disagreeing otherwise.
- Telling someone yes when you’d rather turn down their request.
- Spreading rumors about people that may not even qualify as a half-truth.
- Telling people that things will be all right when you can’t guarantee that outcome.
- Sneaking around to hide your activities.
- Going along with the crowd instead of doing what you know is right.
The reasons why people lie vary, but men generally lie more to make themselves look better. Women prefer to lie because they’re trying to make other people feel good.
Either way, the more a person decides to lie, then the more distorted your reality will ultimately be.
What Are the Benefits of Telling the Truth?
If you are not feeling confident or your self-esteem is low, then telling the truth is going to give you a boost. It’s an ironic outcome considering most people choose to lie or spread fake news because it makes them feel better.
The difference in this result is subtle, but it is still essential to mention. There is a significant difference between having a boost in your confidence and feeling like you experience a surge in how you feel about yourself.
Lying frequently can also lead to problems with anxiety, depression, and a person’s self-image. This action can ruin relationships, cause someone to lose a job, or worse.
The reason why being dishonest causes so many problems is that it causes cortisol, the stress hormone, to spike. That’s why continually lying takes a physical and an emotional toll on you. When one lie leads to another, then it becomes more of a challenge to maintain a false reality.
When you eliminate all of that stress, then there are reduced risks of obesity, anxiety, addiction, poor relationships, depression, and even cancer.
An added benefit of being honest even if it hurts is that it gives you the moral authority to avoid the vicious cycles that a lie can cause. You have the personal power to control the conversation because a fact is an authentic defense.
How Can I Tell the Truth More Often?
Telling the truth is not always easy. The temptation to distort the truth to ease the feelings of someone you care about can be overwhelming at times.
If you take full responsibility and stay authentic while taking a measured approach for the words you say, then you can embrace honesty while reducing the number of ill feelings your quest for the truth might generate.
The easiest way to start telling the truth more often is to create an environment where doing so is safe. Make a contract with your family and friends so that everyone will tell the truth in any situation, even if it might be a hurtful experience.
It helps to agree that there will be no consequences handed to someone for telling the truth. At the same time, you must work hard to avoid wounding others by being honest. If you take the time to recognize the potential impact of your words before you speak, then it becomes easier to reduce the adverse effects that you could make.
Then make sure that you stop offering default answers whenever you are in social situations. The cashier at the grocery store is probably going to ask how you are doing or how the day is going. Instead of offering a canned answer, give that person a short summary of what happened.
You don’t need to share a novel. A couple of sentences is fine. That person might listen to you, or they could choose to ignore your comment. Since you stayed true to your commitment to be more honest, then you can walk away feeling good about the encounter.
Whether it is fake news or a white lie, the primary reason why humans lie is that there is not enough courage present to be authentic. We cannot embrace the true self until we’re willing to put ourselves out there for the world to see.
People will judge you when you are authentic. They might make fun of you for trying to be honest. If that happens to you, then remember that your commitment to honesty isn’t about them.
It’s about how you want to live your life.