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Patricia Rust Headshot

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

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I recently read that people tell seven lies a day -- they've integrated them into the lexicon of their lives. They may say that they filled their tank of gas for their car when in reality they put $10 worth of gas in the car; they may have stopped at a fast food drive-through and said that they went out to lunch with a colleague, and told other small untruths designed to impress.

While these are fairly innocuous, they are still not true and therefore are lies. Twelve-step programs advocate scrupulous honesty because they believe it is important to someone's character. So, why do people tell these little half-truths, white lies, and why do they do it in front of children who are liable to pick up on the pattern?

There is a lot of pressure to drive a nice car, eat in nice restaurants, have a fat paycheck, so some people try to create that image. But do they have to lie about it? Are people going to reject them for telling the truth? For saying that they grabbed a quick salad at a fast food joint? For trying to pass off a dress as a designer label? By telling the truth, they might be able to connect it with an amusing anecdote that they wouldn't be able to tell otherwise. But the truth must be told!

Telling the truth comes with a sense of freedom because you have nothing to hide. There is a saying, "Oh what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive." A person has to remember what the lie is in order to remember to weave other lies around it until a whole tangled mess of lies are built and may come tumbling down if the truth ever comes out. This could be very embarrassing. You can only imagine some of the scenarios that can come out of this!

And yet, lies remain prevalent. Try going to court and listen to the whoppers told to the judge. "The traffic light was broken." "That wasn't me in the car." "The officer's speed gun was not correct," and so on. Why does the truth have to be so hard? One reason is that we live in an age of victimization where the "woe is me" mentality that began on talk shows has become a national phenomenon.

Own up to who you are and what you have done and people will ultimately respect you for it. If you don't have a college degree and are at the top of your game, then that is pretty darn good. Be proud of it. Don't try to hide it. You may inspire others! Just tell the truth. "The truth shall set you free!" And it will!

The truth used to be right up there with beauty. Truth is beauty and beauty is truth. Maybe this can be a mantra. Maybe we just need a gentle reminder of what a beautiful thing the truth can be.

For more by Patricia Rust, click here.

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