Saturday, August 21, 2010

What If You Told a Lie?

Can you look down the center web and see the spider?

I told lies when I was little to get myself out of trouble. I told lies as a grown-up to avoid getting into trouble. I don't like to be in trouble.

My ability to lie has shrunk as I get older and less afraid of being chewed out. In the 12-step program I belong to, "honesty" is right up there with eating and breathing in terms of its significance to life itself.

So when I told a blatant lie last week to a business person, I was bothered, big time. I had excuses (I did it for a good reason), but the lie itself was inexcusable.

So on opening day at the writers conference, I squirmed on my seat long after everyone else fell silent. I had received a call from that business person.
She had confronted me with my lie. All I could say is "Yes, I did that, and I regret it."

I wish I had listened to the still small voice within that said, "Don't!"
It was too late. The damage to my integrity was done.

Closeup of the spider waiting in his web

Oh! What a tangled web we weave

When first we practice to deceive.

When was the last time you told a lie? Did it involve a relationship? Were you trying to evade 'responsibility'? Please keep me company here in my regret.

Hugs! Chris


Von said...

A very long time ago, it makes life far to complicated because inevitably one leads to another, it's a bit like chocolate biscuits.Presumably you know why you do it so just don't, then you won't have to beat yourself up.

Elisabeth said...

I think we all live with our lies. My brother took a psychological test recently. He told me one of the trick questions was: 'Do you ever lie?'

If you answer in the affirmative they trust your responses, but if you say you never lie, then your responses are immediately discredited.

All honest people admit to the occasional lie. It's complex but it's necessary. Take heart from this. You are not alone.

Rachel Fox said...

I am one of those people who can't lie! So... loads of integrity but no work, a constant shedding of acquaintances and it feels like I'm always getting into has its downsides!

Brian Miller said...

i dont remember the last one it told...i am sure though it did have to do with saving my own bacon...i think it was to get out of having a phone conversation actually...

Totalfeckineejit said...

Only a liar would claim to never lie!

the walking man said...

So did this lie cost this person or company their reputation or money and how is that going to be recompensed? Asking me when the last time I lied is a dodge to make yourself feel not so "out there" and alone.

I don't prevaricate in any case because I am too stupid to keep all the stories straight. If someone can't handle the truth then shame on them, If I tell them something other than the truth as I know it to be then shame on me.

An honest mistake is one thing, but an out and out lie of misinformation...well that is just flat ass wrong and our government has served me up enough lies since the 1960's to keep my foot away from that path.

Karen said...

Here's a part of me I hate: white lies to make other people feel better. Do I really need approval so badly that I'll compromise my integrity to get it? Or is it that I really care so much about someone else's feelings that I'll compromise my integrity for that? I am trying to say nothing at all but it feels like a lie even when I remain silent. I think it's called being human.

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

I wish I could say I don't... but sometimes they come out without my permission and without a warning.

Socially acceptable excuses, lies, omissions ...

All come from fear and I find at the end of every darn 10th step how afraid I still am.

You are not alone, together we can become more honest, more brave, and see more miracles through the willingness to face and rectify the past :)

I believe that statement today! Deep in my heart I know it's true, because the lie hurts more than the truth.

Indigo said...

Once upon a time, I got good at weaving a lie (my life). Why? I wanted people to believe me happy and perfect. I never outright said things were perfect, but never let on they weren't.

Sadly, my delusional mind never could perceive the harsh black and blue marks outed the real truth.

These days I've learned a profound truth of my own. The truth has a way of outing itself, one way or another.

Embarrassing as this may be, you have to move on and take it as a lesson learned. It's the only way a mistake for whatever reason can be redeemed. (Hugs)Indigo

Martin H. said...

We've all done it at some time or other, Chris. It doesn't make you a bad person, just a human being. Sometimes, bending the truth seems like the only way out. I prefer to say and hear it like it is. It may not always sit well, but at least it's out there in the open.

By coincidence, I read this quote earlier in the week - “In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act.” George Orwell.

Dianne said...

Yep, there is a fine line between taking the high road and falling down.
how was the conference?

Magpie said...

I can't think of one right's been a long time since I told a lie. I'm so afraid of getting caught or trying to remember the lie. I do think we all tell the little white lies.."Oh, this is delicious" or "No, you didn't hurt my feelings". But a real out-and-out lie...that's been awhile. I can understand your discomfort. I would have felt the same. And as I tell my daughter...the words are out and all you can do is fess up and do your best to mend the damage done. Oh, this human condition we all try to live through.

Shakespeare said...

My lies are pretty much always omission (so as to avoid confrontation or avoid hurting someone's feelings).

So sorry about your regret. I certainly understand how it happens, and it's especially hard when the truth is discovered before we come clean about the lie.

Feeling your pain...

Birdie said...

Chris, what a thought provoking post again! I think that only the very small children don't lie, they make up stories but it's not a lie just yet ... as we grow up we tend to lie bc mostly it gets us of trouble ... By friends and family I'm considered the way 'too honest' one ... and I value honesty but sometimes honesty can be also naive and thus dangerous ... so I do admit that I do lie mostly to the doctors bc to me (especially after very painful personal experiences and sadly several ones) this is the only way how to get away from them in one piece and healthy ... great post Chris! happy w-e :-)

Syd said...

I think that I some days don't want the real truth to be spoken. I keep my mouth shut which could be taken as agreement. I still hide the real truth some days behind a facade. Don't beat yourself up too much. The hair shirt hurts.

Marion said...

Another evocative post! Thanks, Chris, and I hope you've let your regret go...can't change it, it's in the past, you've admitted to it...let it go.

Anonymous said...

You are definitely not alone on that one. I recently told a lie to get out of seeing someone that I didn't want to see. I know that that person was probably trying to extend an olive branch to me but I wasn't ready for it. It was all about self-preservation in the moment, but over the long run I know I will have to deal with the big issues sooner rather than later. Peace delayed is peace denied. - G