“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” –Friedrich Nietzsche
Sounds harsh doesn’t it? After all, each of us has most likely lied about something at some point in our lives. When you were a small child, did you ever lie just to see if you could get away with it? Or, maybe as a teenager or young adult, lying about your age or the time you got home last night or who you were with? Husbands lie to wives and wives lie to husbands. Usually it’s about money. Sometimes it’s about who you were with or what you were doing – old habits die hard. I could go on and on – you can add your own lies to the list. We usually put these kinds of lies into the white lie category and think nothing of them.
An occasional white lie, I guess, doesn’t make so much difference. It’s habitual lying that’s the problem. And, the real problem is when we lie to ourselves. When I lie to me, I can’t even depend on myself – can’t even believe myself.
When I lie to me, what does that look like? I say yes to someone when inside my heart of hearts I am screaming no! And, next I tell myself I really do want to do whatever has been asked of me – that’s the lie part! It’s holiday time. How many things are being asked of you – in the name of tradition, family, friends, religious ritual, society – you get the idea – that you don’t want to do. And, yet, you march the march. Do the right thing, keep the peace, don’t hurt anyone’s feelings. You may even tell yourself you want to do these things.
Why would you lie to yourself? Maybe because if you told yourself the truth, then you would have to find your courage and act in the way that’s true for you.
I’ve talked with several people recently who told me they dread this time of year. They say it’s the most stressful time of their life. Google holiday stress and the list of self help sites is endless. Why do we perpetuate this tradition?
Spending time with the people you love is a joy. It may be worth looking around your life, especially at the holidays, and be sure you are spending time with the people you love.
Mostly, don’t lie to yourself – it’s really important that you can believe you.