I have found one of the most important abilities one can possess is the ability to lie.
When I say someone is a liar, immediately your mind will paint up this beautifully negative picture of a person. But what if I told you I am a liar? What if I told you no matter what you say, you’re a liar too? No real need for “what if’s” at the moment because I am telling you those things. I’m a liar and so are you. I know right now you’re thinking I’m talking about deceiving and misleading. And you’re absolutely 100% completely right. I am talking about cold, hard, ruthless lies that embody the whole concept of dishonesty.
Before y’all start thinking I’m a dishonest person, here’s a little disclaimer: I don’t think all lies are appropriate or justified or in any way okay, but I do think lying serves to help just as much as it may hurt. To me, there are two types of lies that one can tell: lies that break and lies that build.
Lies that break are the basis for that negative stigma you have in your head. These lies break confidence and trust. I do not believe in and do not support lies that break.
Here are a couple little examples: If you plagiarize something and then write your name at the top of the paper, you’re claiming that work to be entirely yours, and you’re lying. That’s a lie that breaks. If you’re in a relationship with someone and you betray his/her trust by failing to be loyal to him/her in some manner, you’re lying. That’s a lie that breaks. If you sneak out late at night when you know your parents would never allow you out at that hour, by breaching their trust, you’re lying. That also is a lie that breaks.
Lies that break are the ones that hurt. These are the excuses and cover-ups you employ when you are too weak to face the consequences of the truth. These are the claims and statements that ruin reputations and reliability. Lies that break do not better either party. These are the lies that cause more trouble than they may attempt to prevent. They are almost like those little Band-Aids that never stay on, but you keep trying to make stick – they are not capable of hiding the truth forever. They serve to provide momentary relief of whatever guilt may exist; this relief may be to protect either the well being of yourself or someone else. But the truth cannot be avoided – lies that break try to right wrongs and they will fail every time.
Lies that build are the lies you don’t even think twice about. They are in every way just as (if not more) deceiving as lies that break, but they serve to build confidence and trust. They are often produced unconsciously and without any effort. Lies that build are rooted in the whole “fake it ‘till you make it” thing.
Say that your friend is a softball player and you really really really don’t like watching softball. Yet you go to her games and when you see her afterwards, you act as if you had never been more entertained in your life, constantly reassuring her that you loved watching the game. That’s a lie that builds. You didn’t enjoy watching the softball game – in fact the only time you paid attention was when your friend was on the field. But that’s okay. You lied to yourself by pretending to enjoy the game and you lied to your friend by saying you love to watch the game, but at the end of the day, you both walk away from the conversation better than you were before. Not only have you strengthened the relationship, but you’ve also reinforced the confidence of your friend.
One example of a lie that builds I experience daily at college. I am a very anxious person. I hate to walk places by myself, and if I do have to do so, I’m nervous the whole time that I’m walking wrong or my hair looks horrid or something is just disastrous about my appearance – it feels like everyone’s watching and I’m just messing up something they see, but I don’t. The fix? I lie. About 90% of the time I’m going to class, I’m still in my pajamas, my hair is either still wet from the shower or air-drying and I didn’t put on any makeup (because that’s just a pain to take off at the end of the day so why bother). I tell myself I look good and if I cannot even lie to myself about that, I tell myself that I don’t care. I fake this confidence, which thereby allows me to be a more successful and comfortable person. I have found that after consecutive days of going to class in oversized shirts and leggings, I really do not care. I faked it and I made it. Go me, right?
Consider lies that break to be subtraction, while lies that build are addition. I strongly believe that in order to be a thriving member of society, you have to know the difference between lies that break and lies that build. More importantly, you have to understand and harness the strengths of lies that build.
So, from one liar to another,
Lie on, baby!