“You must tell the truth and only the truth.” My parents said to me years ago.
When I was a kid, I was taught that lying is a bad thing to do. No one should ever lie. In fact, if you do lie, you are labeled as a deceitful, treacherous, irresponsible, and pain-causing bastard. Though that may be exaggerated, but that was how I interpreted it due to my upbringing.
Lies are bad. That is general statement that everyone in my family can agree upon . Yet, every once in a while I would catch my parents lying, my sister lying, and even myself lying. Despite our firm beliefs that lies are bad, we still participated in the acts of lying. We are hypocrites to our own words and values.
If lies are bad, then why do we still use them? Why do we lie despite our desire to be truthful? Perhaps we had it wrong all this time. Lies are ok. In fact, we can lie. However, we just don’t want to be the recipient of lies. We were fine with giving them, just not with receiving them. Doesn’t that sound extremely selfish? You bet.
I guess this brings back some important questions that I want to address:
Why do we lie, despite labeling lies as something bad and evil to do? Can lies ever be positive and good for you and others?
The answer, I believe, can only be found by understanding the purposes behind our lies.
Understanding Why We Lie
Why do we lie? To cover up something simply because we cannot face the truth? To get out of trouble? To get what we want?
Though there are many different interpretations as to why we lie, the general idea can be found in simple terms from Wikipedia. “A lie is a false statement to a person or group made by another person or group who knows it is not the whole truth, intentionally.” That is a universal rule that all lies can relate.
If we look into the various categories of lies from the same article, we can find that there are as many as 28 different kinds of lies! That is an enormous amount. And despite the fact that there are many bad lies, there are also good ones such as noble, polite, and white lies.
What is my basis for saying that those lies are good? Well, let’s consider the bad lies. What is our basis for considering that those lies are bad? Maybe it’s because they are deceitful and can cause harm to others or oneself. But no matter what my arguments are, they are all based upon my personal experiences and opinions.
I believe a greater question must be answered first and foremost:
Why do we, as human beings, always generalize and categorize things into good or bad? What if lies held a greater intricate meaning to them?
Can I say that certain things are good or bad because I was told so? Can I say that certain things are good or bad because I can see, hear, and feel the effects of their consequences?
Of course. But just because I identified them as so, doesn’t mean that I am right. Everything is subjected to my personal views, even my views on objectivity. It is impossible to be fully objective because all we have is our subjective perception of reality, shaped and formed from personal experiences and beliefs. We all love to be certain even in the face of uncertainty and ignorance. How great does it feel to believe that we are right all the time? I mean it certainly gives me a strong mindset and support when I cling on to certain ideas even if they are wrong.
I am a firm believer that lies are not bad. I also do not believe that they are good. So what do I believe in? I believe that lies, in of itself, is neutral. And yes, this is a personal opinion. Can you say that a weapon is a tool of evil or good? Its purpose is to kill, but at the same time can be used to protect others. It is neutral as anything could be. The only deciding factor of good or bad is personal intent.
Lies are good or bad based solely on the intention of their user. I call this the intent of the lie. Lies all have intentions. It’s either to conceal the truth for a specific reason. To hide something. To prevent the truth from hurting others, etc. Lies are not entirely evil. Just as there are good and bad people in the world. Lies can be formed into their perspective categories based on our willing consent.
So just from that research alone, I can debunk the assumed theory from my parents that all lies are evil and bad. I can also conclude that there are many reasons why someone would lie because our intentions differ from situation to another situation and person to another person. And this brings me to another question.
“If lies are told for many purposes and reasons, why not use them for our positive growth and personal development?”
Surely we already know that lying is very intricate and an art in itself. So why don’t we start using them to our own benefits in improving ourselves? And that is exactly what I want to talk about.
Understanding the Value of a Positive, Reasonable, & Personal Lie
We already know that positive lying is possible, so how do we accomplish this? I suggest a solution: to form a new kind of lies that are integral to personal development. I call this the positive, reasonable, and personal lies, or PRP lies for short.
So how does this work? It is really simple. Make a lie positive, reasonable, and personal. That is all there is to it. I will go through each step to show you what I mean.
Step 1: Make a lie positive
I am a firm believer that everything can be framed positively. No matter how bad a situation gets, there is always something that can be looked at in a positive light. You can appreciate the challenging life lessons and their impacts on your life. You can celebrate the passing of a loved one by honoring his/her life. You can even acknowledge how shitty you feel on the worst day of your life and appreciate that there is something in the world that can make you feel that way.
And since I believe everything can be framed positively, the same also applies to lies. If we take another look at positive lies, we can see a correlation between them and proactive language. This is what I want the positive lies to become. So why do I stress this? Because I hear so much negative lies that people tell themselves in the form of reactive language.
“I can’t do it.”
“I am not good enough.”
“I am stupid.”
These are common negative lies that people tell themselves. Why did I identify them as lies? Because I firmly believe that human beings are all capable of greatness and that none of those statements are true. The words we repeatedly say to ourselves, strengthen our beliefs in them. It is a self fulfilling prophecy. This eventually becomes a destructive habit that people develop and believe over time. They believe that they are not in charge of their lives and that they are at the mercy of all the bad things that happen to them.
I do the opposite. I lie to myself excessively. Why? Because I don’t want to give any attention to my negative languages and excuses. I starve my excuses and reactive languages for attention. When I deny them from surfacing by replacing them with positive lies, I am constantly reinforcing my independent will. It is like the placebo effect. I use self motivating language in the form of positive lies to improve myself. I fake it until I become it.
I am a positive liar. I lie to myself in ways to overcome fears, anxieties, and other negative emotions. I lie to myself to improve myself, not the other way around. I lie to myself because I found out this is way more effective on me then using reactive language. I mean why wouldn’t phrases like “I can do it” or “I am awesome” or “I am the master of my fate” motivate us more than “I can’t do it” or “I am stupid” or “I have no control over my life”?
A positive lie is the motivating, reassuring, and comforting words that you and others tell each other during rough times even if they aren’t true. But you say them anyways, because you believe in them. You nurture those lies to give you strength and eventually you become your positive lies, just as you abolish the negative ones.
Step 2: Make a lie reasonable
Why is this an important step in making a lie good for positive growth? Simply because it is important to keep your lies within the realm of logic. A reasonable positive lie stops the victimization of the mind. It limits the surrendering act of the mind and promotes thoughts. It also gives us the motivation to develop a tenacious attitude to never give up.
However, it is important to employ the principles of humility to keep our lies reasonable. I can lie to myself that I am beautiful, but that doesn’t mean I should become a narcissistic being. I can believe that I am invincible, but that doesn’t mean I should test this theory by jumping in front of a train to see if I can get away unharmed.
I employ this step because I value logical and smart decision making. I always have the choice to choose the right stimulant or catalyst for personal reaction. The lies I make are reasonable in the aspects that they improve my being mentally and physically. They will strengthen my character and make me believe in myself. But I will always maintain a rational mind that are within the boundaries of reality. I will not be reckless with my lies. Nor will I let myself gain from my lies at the expense of other people’s wellbeing.
I understand the virtue of being a good and intelligent person and I intend my lies to work that way. That is my goal in a reasonable lie and it should also be yours.
Step 3: Make a lie personal
I can think of no better way to improve as a human being than to work on ourselves. My main reason is that many things are outside of our control. Reality is outside of our control. Change is outside of our control. But the one thing we have full control over is ourselves. And that’s why the last step is about making the lies into something you can relate to. A good way to understand this step is to look at your own weaknesses and assess what you want to change about them. I will give a personal example to demonstrate this.
I use to really hate giving speeches in class. However, I remember in middle school when it all changed. I learned to love giving speeches now. How did I accomplish this? I lie to myself. Here are some personal lies I kept repeating to myself.
“I love giving speeches!”
“Speeches are easy. I’m not nervous at all!”
“It’s fun to show others what I am capable of when I am giving a speech!”
The act of positive motivation in the form of lies has made me strong over time. It took a while, but I was constantly reinforcing myself with positive language. I kept thinking that speeches are fun. And whenever I was in front of the class, I was showing others how great I am. It was then I realized something really important.
People in general don’t think about you as much as you think that they do.
“When you are in the front stage giving a speech, people in general are not really thinking much about you. So perform, make them remember you in a light that is aspiring because that’s who you are. You make your language. You choose how you want to be seemed as.” I would say to myself.
We are all insecure at some point. And because of that we worry about what other people think about us. However, if we recognize that most people spend their time worrying about how others think about them, then surely no one is actually thinking about them. The hardest part was all mental. Once I overcame that barrier, everything else was easy.
I overcame my personal fear by replacing it with a personal lie that I wanted to manifest. And eventually, over time it became true. I know this entire method is very egocentric, but it is also very important. If we use lies to our own benefits, we can, in my honest opinion improve ourselves. I don’t use lies to deceive others. I use lies to de-condition the things that I want to change such as my negative attitudes and limiting beliefs.
I want you guys to understand that sometimes we have to be selfish about how we want to treat ourselves. I want you guys to find ways to motivate yourself and constantly reinforce the positive aspects of your reality. Because you should not expect someone else to do that for you. It is your sole responsibility.