[Verb; ~Pronunciation: /too/ /lahy/]
- Definition: Wondering if not telling the exact truth to someone, even with their best interest at heart, is right or wrong. In the end, it’s still telling a lie and that’s a bad thing. So when is lying justified, if ever? Where does it begin and where does lying stop?
“Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving”
– James. E. Faust –
When is lying bad and when is it good, if ever? I always felt like telling a lie was a bad thing, that it would cause you bad karma and you’d always be caught out in an ugly way.
But what about if you’re planning a surprise birthday party for someone? You’d need to lie in order to keep everything a surprise, wouldn’t you? Is lying a bad thing in this case or is it justified?
I’m not exactly sure what caused me to ponder on this, but fact is my head’s been occupied by this topic for a couple of days. Not because I tell a lot of lies, on the contrary: I try to tell as little as possible. But because I convinced myself I should tell the truth always since liars are bad people.
Is it okay to give a friend your honest opinion about her new boyfriend or is it not? What if she directly asks you for it, do you stay truthful or do you tell a lie so she won’t be offended?
What if you go out shopping and your mother puts on the most horrendous pullover ever, which she absolutely adores. Do you come clean and tell her she ought to buy something different or do you compliment her anyway, despite hating the outfit? (I’ve been in this situation, actually. I told my mother if she didn’t put the thing back, I would – and then I did. It’s okay: she still loves me).
And what if you know something but keep it a secret? Is that lying or does that fall under “privacy”? I’m sure we all know to keep our PIN numbers a secret, don’t we? But that’s private and nobody else’s business. If it were, we’d print them on our T-shirts and show the world.
Or you know, something like that.
Secrets, lies, openness, it’s all so confusing. If you want to be an honest person, and the Universe knows I do, then where do you start?
The answer to any difficult question is often very simple: start with yourself. Because lies and truths might be confusing, even painful or hurtful at times, the only truth you need to savour is this one: if you’re not honest with yourself, you cannot ever be honest with anyone else. And maybe lying might not be so bad depending on the situation, lying to yourself cannot ever be right.
So don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re someone else; whether your lie makes you feel better or worse about your reflection in the mirror won’t change the actual you.
Choose the person you want to be, the things you want to do, the road you want to take, and go from there. But whatever you do, be honest and open to yourself. If anyone deserves that from you, it’s you.
And if you ever do have to lie in a bold way, make sure you do it right:
What about you? What do you think about lying to others: when is that okay and when is it not? What was the last time you lied?