I recently developed a whole new understanding of lying. I watched a TED talk given by Pamela Meyer. The talk was devoted to lying and how to spot lies. She begins the talk with a simple truth which is that we all lie. I do believe this is true. Most often, we lie to ourselves the most.
What struck me was when she said that the person that is lied to must participate in the lie. A lie is nothing without someone to believe it and give it power. She did say that there are times when you are an unwilling participant in a lie. But, the reason why someone is able to get away with a lie is because they are offering the person something they want in exchange for believing in the lie.
“Everyone is willing and ready to give you something for whatever it is they are hungry for.”
Everyone has something in them that they wish was different. It might be that you wish you had money. It might be that you long to be in a relationship or to have a better relationship. It might be that you want to be successful to prove something. The reason why lies are effective is because the liar offers you something that you want, in turn, you agree to believe in the lie. Pamela Meyer said, “Lying is an attempt to bridge the gap to connect our wishes and our fantasies about who we wish we were with the reality of what we really are.“
She went on to explain that lying is apart of all of us. She talked about how even babies lie. They cry and wait to see if you are going to come into the room. When you come into the room, then the floodgates open and they scream bloody murder. Lying is apart of who we are as human beings. It seems like it is becoming easier with social media and less personal contact.
While lying may be apart of who we are, it doesn’t mean that it is okay. Human beings thrive with trust and lying undermines trust. Also, lying undermines the trust of the person that is doing the lying. For example, a cheating husband may start accusing his wife of cheating as well even though she is clearly faithful. Why is this? Because when a liar doesn’t trust himself, he can no longer put his trust in anyone else. In his eyes, everyone has the potential to lie.
Your integrity is your choice. You have a choice to lie or to be honest in every interaction and every moment. You also have a choice to believe the lie. If you choose to believe the lie, what are you getting out of it? For some people, they may turn a blind-eye to deception in their life to keep a relationship, a home, money or a job. It’s important to know your role in the deception and decide if it is worth it. The truth is not always the easiest choice, but a lie will always come to light at some point. Whether you are telling it or choosing to believe it, you are participating in denying and delaying reality. The next time you find yourself on the opposite end of a lie, you should ask yourself what would you get out of believing it. What are you hungry for? If you take care of that thing for yourself, you will not be the victim of a liar.