Saturday, October 11, 2014

Experience You Don't Need: Falsehoods

Honesty is a very important aspect of anyone's life. Not only do we expect people to be honest with us, we also need to be honest with others.
   When I was a child, I lied . . . a lot. I was a compulsive liar. And it bit me in the ass a couple of times in elementary school. Those days happened in the same year - second grade - and it was the year that lies just poured out of my mouth. If my lips were moving, it was almost a guarantee I was lying about something.
   The last lie bears the most consequence and was when I learned the awful reality of lying. It was after I represented my class in the area spelling bee. I was pretty proud of my accomplishment. But, that was not good enough for me. While I did well enough to go, I did not do well enough to place at the competition. I sat in the bleachers amongst the other spellers and watched a variety of kids who were not me, walk up in front of everyone and claim their trophies. And I was jealous. When I got back to my school, I told everyone - students and teachers - that not only did I claim five small trophies, but also a REALLLLY big one! And I asked everyone not to mention it to my fellow second-grade representative, because I said she felt bad that she did not place. Everyone
Yup. That was pretty much the
reaction of my classmates.
bought my story. Everyone, that is, except for my PE teacher. He wanted to see the trophies and when I did not bring them to school, he asked the principal about my supposed achievement. The principal spoke with my teacher, told him the truth and then came to my classroom. He called me out in front of my teacher, my friends and my classmates. When my classmates started joining in, telling the principal about the various lies I had told them over the year, I began to cry. The principal realized it was a bad idea to confront me in such an environment. He took me out in the hallway, apologized for his bad judgment and we had a heart-to-heart conversation about lying. I felt absolutely awful. I was a sobbing mess and the principal then gave me a hug, telling me he was not mad at me and that he forgave me.

   I was never mad at that principal. In fact, he was probably the best principal throughout my entire educational career. I was mad at myself for being so stupid. That anger deepened when I had to go to every person I lied to and apologize.
   That is a memory that has stuck with me and whenever I feel compelled to lie, I think about it. I think about the awful feelings I had and how hard it was to regain everyone's trust again.
   I make it a point to be honest with tact. I do not agree with blunt and cruel honesty. People have feelings, after all, and it's a good idea to respect those feelings. You can tell the truth
without it crushing the soul of a person. But, if soul crushing is what you intend, then obviously you have no respect or love for whomever you are talking to.
   If you suspect that someone is lying to you - regardless of what the lie is - you can make a decision whether or not to confront that person. If you do, expect a lot of denial and anger. No one likes to be caught in a lie. And they get into a state of panic. I've seen it numerous times. I've called people out directly, which led to fights. I've poked fun at people when their lies have been ridiculous, in a vain attempt to embarrass them for telling lies. But, don't let the lies linger, because it builds resentment in you for the liar. Assess the situation and then decide what actions you need to take. Afterward, if the liar is still going forth with the behavior, try to get him or her some help and remind him or her about lying. Or cut your losses and move on.

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