Prior to this article, I read something which interested me about how the truth does not have versions, rather it has many sides to it. Which may be confusing to understand, but the truth does exist, in one version. Yet, the truth is complicated for many of us and can become an issue for us. Shading the truth is easier so that we can make it fit comfortably into our lives so that our lives are not disrupted.
At some point in our life we have all told a lie about something, maybe we did today, yesterday or last month. At that moment in time, you may have rationalized and justified it to yourself to put your conscience at ease. Yet, that persistence uncomfortable feeling may have risen, and you realise you need to quieten down your guilty conscience to the back of your mind.
What is encouraging the self-deception? Is it embedded in our nature to lie? Are the circumstances compelling our lies to surface? Whilst you may lie to deceive others, some people are simply addicted to lying. Below you can read some explanations to give insight into why you may lie, they may apply to you or they may not apply to you at all.
It matters to you: The lie matters to you, even though it does not necessarily matter at all. You find yourself telling a story and adjusting the storyline to make it seem more exciting and compelling to others. That little detail which you add, or change may be insignificant, but you believe it is critically important to portray it a certain way because you want a specific reaction. You may not notice that you are putting pressure and emphasis on yourself and on the issue. More so, you will not realise this until you question yourself and for some people, you may have just realised it now.
Weak self-concept: If you have a weak self-concept, you may realise that you’re prone to more insecurities. This may lead to preserving a certain image of yourself to gain approval from others. Thus, the lying is implemented, and the exaggerating begins. To promote a better self and to be favoured by others, you choose to lie and enhance your skills and abilities (self-centred lying).
Learnt behaviour: Contrastingly, taking it from a different perspective, you could be lying because of people around you or your surroundings/upbringing, culture and experiences. If you are surrounded by people who lie daily, it could be that they influenced you from a young age or you are unconsciously imitating them. Once you realise that those around you are lying daily, it may be best to take yourself away from the equation to get a sense of who you are again. This realisation may not happen rapidly, thus counselling may guide you through the process and allow you to come to the realisation and alternative explanations.
White lies are common and necessary for part of social interactions either for self-centred or other-centred (for someone else’s benefit) reasons. Lying to protect yourself and others is common and for some, it can inflate their ego. You may even gain a sense of power from lying – Dr Seager.
Hitherto, the discussion has been based around lying for protection or unconsciously lying about your attributes. Lying can turn into a symptom of a pathological condition if it goes beyond your everyday normality (for example, a personality disorder – psychopathy, sociopathy).
People may feel the need to create and live in a false existence, a so-called fantasy world where they don’t tell the truth (Dr Seager). For example, they may struggle with accepting reality and the difficulty of the truths in their lives, thus exaggerating their own importance is more convenient. Although you may go into counselling and lie straight away, the right therapist and counselling can help you answer the question ‘why do I lie?’