Lies… Studies show that men and women lie about 30 percent of the time in any given week, and up to one fifth of our social interactions are moderately to severely deceitful. Lying is proven to cause intense physical and emotional stress; it’s one of the most damaging behaviors in which we engage. And yet, a distinguishing factor of being human is our innate desire for (and therefore, pursuit of) truth. Subsequently, we are tuned into dishonesty when it shows up, and it naturally repels us.
Lying is born out of fear: fear of showing vulnerability, fear of letting people down, fear of undesirable consequences. While it may seem as though we are being kind to shelter others from disappointment, lying is always self-serving. It’s a conscious (or unconscious) way of manipulating perceptions and avoiding potential pain. One could argue that lying is used as a strategy to ensure a sense of belonging or a feeling of acceptance from others. The irony is that dishonesty actually disconnects us from the potential of real intimacy in our relationships and severs our own ability to accept ourselves.
Our emotional truth is something that is always with us but is often hard to access, especially as we develop our sense of self through our childhood and early adulthood years. Traumas endured in early childhood specifically can obscure our truth even further. Dysfunctional or abusive family systems foster a need to survive; denying one’s truth and telling lies are learned and necessary behaviors needed to navigate volatile relationships.
The courage and bravery needed to break through dishonest behavior and step into our honest experience begins by looking closely at our lie patterns: what kind of lies you tell, the nature of your lies, issues of self-worth you may have, tendencies around self-centeredness, and insights into your fears.
For example, if you tell people what you think they want to hear, you would be considered a People Pleaser. People Pleasers tend to experience artificial harmony in relationships and find themselves getting taken advantage of, building resentment, and having a hard time reversing this dynamic out of fear of rejection.
If you are someone who seeks to create an elated or false impression of yourself, you would be considered a Façade Maker. Façade Makers deliberately disconnect from their emotional truth out of the fear of not being good enough. Through their façade, they try to build a self-image that they believe will be more acceptable for the world. The more disconnected they are from their emotional truth, the deeper the façade. A feeling of disconnect and confusion infiltrates their relationships and leads to inauthentic interactions.
These are the two most common kinds of lying I work with people to overcome. Do you resonate with being a People Pleaser or a Façade Maker? Are there any other lie patterns you notice when you examine your level of honesty?
Detoxing from these entrenched behaviors of dishonesty starts by confronting traumas that resulted in shame and a lack of self-worth. From this place, we can reconnect with our truth and move through our fears. We can speak up about what we feel, what we need, and what we want with fierce courage.
To begin your detox, I encourage you to consider the questions below:
- What is your earliest memory of having to lie or hide parts of yourself?
- What trauma or painful memory is associated with what led you to that behavior?
- What limiting beliefs or shame about yourself emerged at that time?
- If you could go back in time and fearlessly speak your emotional truth in that moment, what would you have expressed?
- In the current day, what are you not being honest about? If you were honest about this, what do you fear would happen? Is that worth continuing this lie?
- If you were living a truly honest life — what would be different? Do you like the idea of that life vs. the one you are living?
- Is there one small step you can take to living out that truth?
- Challenge: The next time you find yourself either People Pleasing or Façade Making, take a risk and speak your truth instead. See what happens.
Living an honest life is the path to happiness and real joy. When you choose to own up to your truth, you show self-respect, as well as respect for those around you. The pain you may have to experience in the short-term by having a difficult conversation or dropping an old lie pattern will build a sustainable foundation of trust, intimacy, and authenticity in your relationships. Practicing honesty as a way of life fosters clarity and guides you towards your highest human potential.
Kristine Steinberg is the CEO of Kismet. She believes that your life should be deeply fulfilling — not tolerated. Partner with Kismet to dismantle fear, define your path, and lead with courage. Start your transformation today: www.thisiskismet.com.