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“It’s a basic truth of human condition that everybody lies. The only variable is about what?” – Dr House.

Not that long ago I was having a conversation about the difference between truth and honesty. My response was truth is not holding back – standing in your truth, is saying it as it is, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Then honesty, is not telling lies, it’s saying what you were partially feeling and maybe holding back the part you are resisting.

Which made me think this. Is holding back still a form of lying?

I feel that it is, telling half the truth is not the full truth … which brought about this article.

I don’t know about you but I can smell a lie from a mile away and if we look at how we communicate with one another, we know this much – our physiology is fifty five percent of our communication – our non-verbal communication. So, if you were to tell a little lie, a white lie, a bold lie … no matter what flavour of lie you want to dish out, the other person will pick up on what you are putting down. And guess what? If they pick up on your vibes that you are telling a lie, their natural response to you, is with a lie. This is our ‘mirror neurons’ on autopilot – what this basically means is that the observer of the lie acts out as if it was their own behaviour.

You can’t constantly lie and expect others to trust you…

There are three sorts of lies, no matter what colour or size they are. There are the lies that we tell ourselves, there are the lies we tell others and … those lies that we keep to ourselves, those little secrets. Things that we don’t talk about – we just choose to keep it to ourselves and not even utter a word. So maybe you’re not verbally lying, you are just secretly lying by not mentioning it at all. That’s it!!

Some individuals get so accustomed to lying that they do so even when there is no clear purpose. The danger in lying is that you can’t keep up with your lies … and you are bound to get caught. Not standing in your truth and holding back, takes so much energy and it requires a lot of effort. Lying actually affects your health and your relationships, it creates unnecessary stress to the brain and body…. Keep this in mind the next time you feel compelled to lie.

Some liars want their lie so badly to be true, that they convince themselves that if they say it often enough and repeat it over and over again, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy and eventually become real. Well my friend, ditch that limiting belief because it will do the opposite, it will set your pants on fire and you will get caught.

The truth will set you free…

There is research now that shows us no matter how big or small the lie – when repeated over and over again lies snowball into an avalanche of deception, and our brain becomes numb to lying. Scary right? It becomes a habit and you start to believe in your own lies.

Neuroscience show us that when individuals tell a lie using an FMRI scan they can see that the brains activity increases, based on changing rates of blood flow in different parts of the brain. However, the amygdala, the emotional part of our brain, often associated with the fight or flight response … shows the highest level of activity when the very first lie was told and the level of activity in the amygdala would drop with every subsequent lie.

This decrease in the amygdala activity was a predictor as to how ‘big’ the next lie was going to be … dishonesty escalated over time. It’s like setting a program in your brain by believing it will be safe to say this lie and we know the brain doesn’t like change and that it is there to keep us safe. Our brain when stimulated with a lie will recognise this pattern and give you more lies because the brain ultimately runs on pattern recognition.

The truth is an art…  

From my research, the number one reason people lie is that they don’t have the courage to speak or stand in their truth. I don’t think anyone goes out of their way to hurt individuals with their lies, I think most of the time the lie is to protect them or bail them out of a hot situation. I know what you are thinking. I don’t lie, I have never lied! Then if you are thinking that right now, I will challenge you on it.

We all have lied and we all lie, some more than others, but it could be as simple as saying, “I am okay” when you’re not, or you may say “yes” when really you want to say “no”. You may tell a fib to your partner, to your employer, to your customer, all to keep the peace.

Because a little white lie doesn’t matter to you.

But to really stand in your truth and speak from your heart, is something else entirely. I call these courageous conversations. When it comes from the heart, it can only set you free.

I have known individuals that have carried a BIG fat lie for a lifetime and when they came out with their lie, their first words, was “gosh, I wish I had done that years ago, I feel so much lighter.” 

Honesty is the best policy…

Some individuals are not courageous enough to face the truth because they feel if they tell it all they will no longer have control. Telling the truth for them feels like giving up control when in reality they are trying to control a situation and influence an outcome.

Honesty saves everyone time and the greatest advantage of speaking the truth is that you don’t have to remember what you said and to whom you said it to. Tell a lie once and all your truths become questionable… This is true and I am speaking from experience, as the receiver of the lies.

…I know that individuals lie because they don’t want to disappoint you, and although at the time you may feel deceived, they are doing it because they want you to like them, they want you to accept them, and they want to be approved because they value you and they want to impress you.

But real compassion is about accepting and not-judging, and while that’s not always straight forward, because we all have a different moral compass – ethics, upbringings, religious faith, and more can affect our view of others. But it is, after all what we’re here for – to learn, get along with each other, and acknowledge our differences. Some people we like and accept, others we tolerate, others we find we have little in common with.

That said, someone who lies to gain your attention or affection is starting from a false premise, and that’s something to be wary of.

Honesty is everything.

…For those that know me, the common thing I hear is “Catherine you never leave us wondering, you always say it as it is and challenge the status quo in a constructive way”.

And you know why? Because standing in your truth is so much easier than standing in a puddle of lies.