“They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living that demands rigorous honesty”
From Alcoholics Anonymous (The Big Book) Chapter 5 “How it Works”
Is there a single human who has not told a lie? A rhetorical question, of course, because we all started off with something like “I didn’t do it, she did it” and then went on from there.
How is that working out for you? As for me, I’ve had mixed results. Well, not really mixed, falsehood has never served me all that well.
One of my more embarrassing attempts at misdirection happened several years ago when my high school daughter accidentally ran up on the curb with her car and flattened a street sign. Neither of us realized she needed to report it to the police and wait there for them. So since it was a Sunday morning a few minutes before worship started, I told her to come on to church and we would take care of it later. A few hours later while we ate lunch at a restaurant, one of her friends came to the table and said “There is a cop taking pictures of your car.” So, brave dad that I am, I told the officer that it was my car and that I did it. To which she responded that somebody walking their dog said a young woman was driving the car. With just a slight hesitation, I owned up because, as they say, no matter how far down the wrong road you have gone, turn back.
Unfortunately, deceit is usually knee-jerk. We still do it when experience has shown us how fruitless it always is. We obviously don’t learn from the mistakes we see all around us. In “The Politician’s Wife”, a TV drama, a woman’s life is turned upside down when it is revealed that her husband, a member of the British Parliament, has been having an affair with a former prostitute. As is almost universal in these situations, he says that the indiscretion was a one time thing happening as a result of all the trite reasons. Of course, no surprise, not only was it actually a long term relationship but it was still going on. “Twas ever so!”
You may be saying to yourself, “I would never do such a thing”, but, caution, there is something known as self-deception which may be the worst of all. At some level we are just sure what we think, how we feel, what we are, would not be acceptable to others. Then our daily lack of any consistent transparency defines us. We come to believe our own lies and as in Hamlet’s immortal line,”..there’s the rub” because in that disparity lies the root of much human misery.
Try this. Be exactly who you are for 24 hours. Don’t go out of your way to express negative feelings to others but also stop and think about it each time you consider even a minor cover up. You may find it didn’t lower you in anyone else’s opinion. You will certainly save emotional energy and you will experience a new sense of freedom.
If you like it, keep doing it. Authenticity might turn out to be a great choice.