I lie too much.
To my friends. To my parents. Relatives. My girlfriend. To the person working the register at the grocery store; someone who’s opinion shouldn’t even matter.
And yet I lie.
It just kind of hit me the other day, after I’d told another little innocuous lie. The lie itself I don’t remember, but the sudden burning desire to know why I had lied I may never forget. Why did I lie? It wasn’t about anything important. I wasn’t hiding something. Why then? The reflexive nature with which I lied scared me tremendously, it was almost like someone else had used my mouth to say those words.
If you accused me of being a liar just last week, I would’ve either forced you to take back your words or we would’ve come to blows. Simple as that. Calling me a liar is the most vicious attack on my character you can conjure. How dare you call me a liar! You don’t fucking know me!
But I’ve come to realize, I am a liar. Appraising me as such isn’t an attack on my character at all, but a description of it.
How have I come to epitomize a behavior that repulses me so much? After a lot of thought and consideration I realized that I had limited my definition of a lie to something originating from a malicious intent or idea.
dictionary.com defines a lie as the following:
So while they were never out of anger or malice, many an intentional untruth I have told. And that makes me a liar. It was very difficult to come to grips with that. Very difficult to stomach. As someone who prides himself on being a man of sound morals that was tough to admit to myself. But taking a look inward, blowing the dust off ignored parts of my psyche is exactly what I needed. I’ve been able to accept that yes I, Sam, am a liar.
They say that’s the first step to recovery, right? Admitting the fault? Well, there’s no hiding or denying this fault anymore. It’s about as out in the open as it gets at this point. So how to proceed? I assumed it was to revisit the first question posed. WHY do I lie? I’m not trying to cause harm, so what’s the benefit? Lying wouldn’t be so instinctual if it wasn’t the easier path, if I wasn’t protecting myself from something. And that thought right there, the idea that I might be lying to protect myself, has given me an angle upon which to work this problem I face, this problem of why I lie.
I’ve created a hypothesis.
I think that I lie because being ashamed terrifies me. I think that I lie because I fear having someone be disappointed in me. And it’s not shame for something that I’ve done that I fear, but of the many things that I haven’t, all of the potential that I haven’t taken advantage of.
I’m not happy with my life. And maybe this whole introspective episode into the root of my habitual lying has been an effort in futility. But I think I might be onto the beginning stages of a solution.