Speaking the truth is universally acknowledged as a virtue and an attribute worth possessing. It has many clear benefits which include getting others to trust you and maintaining your peace of mind. Yet, there are times when we find ourselves lying through our teeth and creating a web of deception and when we introspect; we marvel at the game of shadows we have ensnared ourselves in.
The degree to which we allow ourselves to lie depends on the self control we have practised in this regard and can be a result of a habit of many years. There are people who consider white lies a necessity of every day life and don’t flinch or pause for a second even before it rolls off their tongue. An example of this would be when a shopkeeper asks you if you have change or in case of children – if they have washed their hands? The answer is a quick yes or no and it is over before you know it.
The immediate benefit one perceives to oneself is the driving force behind this lie. It could also be that you are mentally not on the same page as the other person i.e. in your view the action solicited is unnecessary or insignificant and rather than upset the other person you settle the matter with a quick lie.
The second degree lie is slightly more serious. It involves some detail from your side. For example; if you are asked who are you speaking to? Or, why are you late? This is where you can easily launch in to a chain of mistruths and the ground gets slippery.
The final frontier in the lying game lies in the realm of seasoned professionals. They can make up entire stories or a chain of false events which are interlaced with the truth to hide their indiscretions. To some extent they are narcissistic and in the process don’t consider the collateral damage caused when they spin their tales.
But what is the logic that justifies this behaviour or compels a person to lie? The primary reason here is the fear of being judged. This fear is not misplaced and occurs most of the time. How easy it is for us to label others! Apart from people judging you another thing that happens is that people harbour grudges and ill will for a long time. Their behaviour towards you changes and interactions become awkward or unpleasant.
Although lying is looked down upon, the compulsive liar is not necessarily a bad person. He has simply let his guard down for an extended period which has resulted in this habit. If we understand human nature, there are several justifications which can be made under different circumstances which would warrant telling lies. It could be to avoid embarrassment or punishment, win admiration or rewards, get out of an awkward situation or maintain your privacy. In some cases it could be a subconscious strategy to exercise power over others. On the other side of the spectrum it would be to please someone or not to hurt their feelings.
Because lying is so easy a person who speaks the truth at all times is appreciated. He is sought for his honest opinion. People trust him not to conceal facts or speak half-truths. Another attribute that goes hand in hand with this exceptional quality of speaking the truth is knowing when to remain silent.