what is up with people? why do we constantly tell little white lies? and especially why do we tell little lies that people can easily check (sometimes just with their common sense) and know that they're not true? i do it myself. sometimes it's to protect someone's feelings, or to avoid telling a longer version of the story, because it seems like the truth won't really do any good or to protect myself and my own ego. but what seems to be common to all these little white lies is that some fear or other underlies them. fear of hurting someone, fear of rejection, fear of judgement, fear of inadequacy. you might say that little white lies are the key to the construction of our identity.
but what does it mean to have an identity that's full of little lies? the more i think about it, the more i think it's a bad thing.
just to take an example from my own life. when i left the board of the riding club a couple of months ago, i gave the excuse that i felt i was too busy getting my new business up and running and that i didn't have the time and energy to devote to it. while that was the truth, there was more to it than that. i could have easily found time and energy for it, even in the midst of my new business, if i felt that i was listened to and respected and if i felt that everyone else who was involved was professional and knowledgeable. but the truth was, i thought that the chairman was plain and simple a fool - unprofessional and making the club look bad every time he opened his mouth or posted one of his misspelled missives on the club website. i disagreed with how he treated the kids in the club (shouting at them and threatening them) and how he allowed the club horses to be treated by one of the instructors. i didn't like that no one ever even said a simple thank you when i purchased a pony for the club's use. and then when that pony was mistreated, it was too much for me. so i took my pony home and i left the board and in doing so, i only told part of the truth. because i thought telling the whole truth of why i was leaving wouldn't do any good. i decided on behalf of these people that they wouldn't get anything out of knowing the truth.
and i've been so mad at myself ever since. it makes me uncomfortable every time i'm there and see those people - because i still harbor ill feelings that i didn't get the chance to clear out. and i perhaps also did them a disservice by not telling the truth and letting them learn from it or do with it whatever they would. i took away their chance to react and learn. so my little white lie - or more my half-truth, actually ended up negating everyone's chance to grow, including my own.
i'm going to really make an effort to curb the totally unnecessary white lies (i'm a consultant, sorry, i can't do away with all of them) - especially the ones that make me feel bad in the long run.
what white lies do you tell? and how does it make you feel?
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these introspective posts are part of a really great project that i'm working on.
it has to do with this.
and i will tell you more about it soon.