If you were raised to be a good person, your parents/caretakers probably taught you never to lie. Even when you grow up, people are always shocked, disappointed or angry when they find out you lie. So why do we do it?
How lying starts
As a kid you try to be obedient and in this case not to lie. Then life happens… you bump into your mom’s favorite vase, for example. You know that she’ll be furious when she finds out and you’ll get punished for it. So to save yourself, you blame it on your little brother or sister who can’t defend himself/herself yet, so he/she gets punished for it.
Just don’t get caught
Even though we were taught not to lie, eventually life teaches us that lying is ok – as long as you don’t get caught. Getting caught has consequences, we all know that. So if we’re trying to still be good people, we do lie, but we try our hardest not to get caught.
If we all know lying is bad, why do we do it? In my opinion, there are a few main reasons why people lie:
- They’re afraid of the (negative) consequences their actions will have for themselves
- They don’t want their actions to hurt the people they love
- They feel like they’re pushed in that direction
- They’re chronical liars.
The whys explained
- Chronical liars
In most cases, (good) people are not chronical liars. You won’t easily meet people who lie for this reason, because that would mean that they’re psychopaths.
The three first reasons for lying are a lot more common.
- Lying because you are afraid of the consequences of your actions
Being afraid of the consequences of your actions is a selfish reason for lying. Because if you know what you’re doing will have bad consequences, you just shouldn’t do whatever it is you are doing.
- Lying to not hurt the people you love
Not wanting to hurt the people you love is less selfish, but still bad. For example being fired from your job and not telling your wife about it because you don’t want her to worry. This form of lying is bad because the truth always comes out eventually. The person you were trying to protect by lying, then gets even more hurt.
- Lying because you feel pushed into doing so
This form of lying has many similarities with lying because you are afraid of the consequences. Yet there is a difference. People who lie because they feel like they’re pushed into it are often people in abusive relationships or situations. Instead of lying because they know they’ve done something wrong, these people lie because they know that even though there is nothing wrong with what they’ve done, they might get punished (emotionally or physically) for it anyway. For example a woman in an abusive relationship is living together with her man. He goes on a business trip and she wants to have a girls’ night out. She makes the plans and goes out. Her man calls her, can’t reach her and jumps to conclusions like “you’re cheating on me”. The woman knows her man will get angry about the girls’ night out as well, so she lies and says her phone was off.
My opinion about the reasons why people lie
In my opinion, although “lying because you feel like you are pushed into doing so” is the most valid reason for lying, people in abusive relationships or situations just need to let go. Don’t stay in a relationship that’s bad for you, cut off friends who have a negative impact on you and cut communications with abusive family members. If work is bad, find another job, etc.
Life is too short to have to lie to be happy. Find your own happiness, love yourself and have people around you who love you for who you are so you don’t ever feel the need to lie.