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Sometimes, Honesty Is Not The Best Policy

Sometimes, Honesty Is Not The Best Policy

Liar, liar pants on fire. No one wants to get caught in a lie and appear to be dishonest or deceptive. But does telling a lie actually make you either of those things?

The truth is, there are some advantages to lying; and they aren’t always for self-gain. Sometimes people choose to lie to protect others and spare their feelings. Because let’s face it, the truth hurts.

    Why do we even lie?

    We all need to take a moment to be honest with ourselves and admit that we all lie. It is in our innate nature to deceive and sometimes protect.

    Yes, we sometimes tell lies to cover up bad behavior, manipulate others, or rise to power and attain what we want.

    But we also lie to spare the feelings of others, avoid unnecessary conflict, or to simply brighten up someone’s day.

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    Dishonesty is in our nature.

    Researchers believe that the act of lying came into play after the development of language. It is the evolution of deceptive strategy, just as animals use camouflage to deceive their predators or prey.

    In terms of efficiency, lying is the easiest way to rise to power and attain resources. If your enemy is larger and stronger than you, then physical force will not be very effective. But if you are able to outwit and manipulate your enemy; not only can you acquire their resources, but make them believe that it was their idea own idea.

    How often do we lie?

    This of course is relative to the individual. The frequency of lying was first documented by social psychologist Bella DePaulo.

    She asked 147 individuals to record their blips of dishonesty throughout the day. On average, her subjects lied at least twice a day. The lies themselves were relatively harmless in nature; innocuous excuses for instances such as lateness. Or fibs that present a false image; saying that you ran 5 miles instead of the truthful 2.

    We’ve been fibbing since we learned to talk.

    In actuality, we are conditioned to lie at a young age. Didn’t your parents tell you to always thank your host for that “delicious” meal that you had to choke down? Social graces aside, it’s still a lie.

    Children typically learn to lie between the ages of 2-5. Kang Lee, a psychologist from the University of Toronto studied children between the ages of 2-8 to gauge the kind of lies that children tell.

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    When children first begin to lie at the age of 2, it is an indication that they are starting to test out their independence. They lie simply to see what they can get away with.

    By the age of 8, the children actually have the capacity of lying to spare the feelings of others. The results of the study actually found that these lies are motivated by empathy and compassion rather than deceit and manipulation.

      Lying is a reflection of our goals.

      Sometimes you don’t even need to open your mouth to tell a lie. A simple facial expression is enough to convey a mistruth.

      Embellishments, exaggerations, these are the close counterparts to outright lies. But in this case, these lies are almost never malicious. But in fact, a projection of one’s aspirations.

      In an experiment conducted by Robert Feldman, he questioned a number of students about their grades and efforts in school. Most of them were dishonest about their actual grades. But instead of becoming anxious as most people do amidst a lie, they became incredibly engaged and excited to boast about their achievements.

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      “We lie if honesty won’t work”- Tim Levine

      Is there a difference between moral and immoral lying? If we’re being honest with ourselves, the answer is a resounding yes. Some lies are well intentioned- meant to protect those who are being lied to.

      Lying has even been found to have psychological benefits for the liar. Those who are extremely honest with themselves are more prone to depression than those who are not. Overtly honest people are often construed as blunt, sometimes even pathological.

      There are even interpersonal benefits to be gained from lying and knowing when it is okay to do so. In fact, if someone detects that you have lied to them to protect them, it could increase the trust that they have in you.

      These well intentioned lies are known as pro-social lies.

      Lying for the better good.

      Pro-social lying involves four distinct constructs of human capacity: theory of mind, compassion, memory and imagination.

      In this case, our choice to lie is a result of moral and emotional reasoning. We prioritize kindness over the importance of truth to spare other persons involved. As our brains develop, our moral reasoning progresses at the same rate as self-control as well as cognitive ability.

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      Further still, the most selfless of lies is known as a blue lie. These lies tend to be altruistic falsities that are actually told at the cost of the liar to protect someone else. In this case, we might subject ourselves to punishment for the wrongdoing of others.

        Honestly, lying isn’t so bad.

        What determines the magnitude of the lie is the intent behind it. Lies that are told to protect others can actually help to strengthen relationships. Other lies that are told to embellish ones image are debatably harmless.

        It all boils down to one fact- we all have our reasons for the lies that we tell and the facts that we choose not to share. At the end of the day, what we don’t know won’t hurt us. Sometimes a tiny lie is necessary to ensure that all is well and all runs smoothly.

        Featured photo credit: Movies with Mae via google.com

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        Anna Chui

        Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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        Last Updated on March 25, 2020

        How to Crush Your Lack of Motivation and Always Stay Motivated

        How to Crush Your Lack of Motivation and Always Stay Motivated

        How many times have you not achieved your goals and let yourself down due to your lack of motivation? When you’re not wallowing in sadness and self-pity, you are too busy procrastinating till you can’t anymore and before you know it, you are part of vicious cycle of anxiety and stress.

        Whether it’s losing weight or bringing your business to fruition – motivation is essential for growth and success in every sphere of our lives.

        That said, it is not easy staying motivated. In order to constantly stay motivated, you need to take ownership of your life and consciously make efforts in that direction.

        Well, it’s never too late to take matters in your hands and change the course of your life. Here are 11 effective ways to crush your lack of motivation and always stay motivated:

        1. Write Your Goals

        The power of writing goals down has always been underestimated. Why write when you can remember, right? Wrong.

        Our thoughts are all over the place and the first step to achieve your goals is to organize your thoughts. So, write your goals down, however big or small they might be. Make them as specific as possible and assign deadlines to each of them.

        As you write them down and revisit them regularly, they get further drilled in your head, taking you closer to your goals. Doing this small exercise helps you to remain focused, motivated and lets you track your progress with ease.

        Start today – take to your laptop or a diary and get down to writing what you wish to achieve in life.

        2. Beat Procrastination

        Your lack of motivation and procrastination go hand in hand. Every time you procrastinate, your motivation levels take a greater hit. The only way to bring an end to this loop is to stop procrastinating.

        Next time you find yourself putting off something for ‘later’, stop and assess the reasons behind it. Get to the root of the cause and eliminate it in order to overcome this poor habit of procrastinating which is sabotaging your life and mental health.

        Take a look at this guide and learn how to beat procrastination:

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        What Is Procrastination (And the Complete Guide to Stop Procrastinating)

        When you finally overcome procrastination, you will realize the positive impact it has on your mood and motivation levels.

        3. Celebrate Small Wins

        In the quest to achieve the bigger goals in life, we often forget to celebrate the smaller wins along the way. An achievement is an achievement – be it big or small, it deserves to be acknowledged and celebrated.

        Finished a project on time? Reward yourself. Managed to run on the treadmill for a good one hour? Pat yourself on the back. Found time to meditate? Celebrate it.

        It is these small achievements that reinstate that we are on the right path and take us one step closer to the bigger goals.

        So, get into the habit of recognizing and appreciating small wins. You will be surprised to see how this practice helps you stay motivated.

        4. Practice Gratitude

        It’s easier to whine about what we don’t have rather than counting our blessings. Isn’t it?

        Making gratefulness a part of your life is a very important step to retain high motivational levels. It revitalizes our spirits and renews our enthusiasm for life.

        So, how do you practice gratitude? For starters, keep a gratitude journal to jot down what you are grateful for, express your gratitude to people you love and spread positivity wherever you go. If you need some inspiration to be thankful for, here it is:

        60 Things To Be Thankful For In Life

        By doing so, you begin to focus more on what you have rather than what you don’t and that is a great start to stay motivated.

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        5. Be Optimistic

        Life is not always hunky dory. There will be bad days when things aren’t going in your favor, when you feel lost and all you want to do is give up.

        At such times, instead of letting negativity take over your life, adopt an optimistic approach to life. Quit overthinking, ask the right questions and focus on finding solutions.

        Yes, there will be hurdles along the way but if you hang on to positive affirmations and hopes, the journey will be a lot smoother. So, with every passing day, sow the seeds of positivity and you are sure to build a positive environment around you.

        6. Don’t Dwell on the Past

        A lot of times, our lack of motivation stems from the habit of dwelling on the past. This gives rise to fear and regrets, preventing us from making progress in the present day.

        Dwelling on the past is nothing but a waste of time. Understand that the past is long gone, and you cannot do anything to change that.

        What you can do is make your present day worthwhile. Instead of looking back and having regrets, learn from your mistakes, forgive yourself and move on.

        So, the next time you find your mind wandering off to the past, be determined to change the way you think and consciously concentrate on living in the present. This guide can help you:

        10 Simple Steps To Let Go Of The Past

        7. Face your Fears

        You can never find motivation where there is fear. Identify the fear that is pulling you back and tackle it.

        If you don’t face your fear head on, you cannot expect to conquer it and renew your motivation.

        Ask yourself: What is stopping you? What are you scared of?

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        Once you accept your fear, you can work on an action plan and think of solutions to overcome it. This article will give you some effective tips on conquering your fears:

        How to Overcome Your Irrational Fears (That Stop You from Succeeding)

        Seek external help if required but don’t choose to turn a blind eye over your fears – it will only aggravate matters.

        8. Visualize your Success

        You must have heard the famous quote, ‘see it to believe it’. That is exactly what visualization is about.

        One of the most effective self-motivation techniques, visualizing the process to your desired outcome helps you move in a positive direction and achieve your goal.

        Close your eyes and focus all your energies on the minutest of details that will take you where you want to reach. Doing this exercise everyday inspires you to keep going and not lose hope. The vision of attaining success will drive you to do better while instilling belief and confidence.

        9. Find Inspiration

        Can’t seem to find inspiration inwards? Don’t panic. There are plenty of external sources to gain inspiration from.

        From motivational books and quotes to speeches, films and apps – it is a good idea to take help from motivational material to rekindle your spirits and regain your motivation.

        Everyone is wired differently. For instance, a self-help book might work for your friend, but it might do nothing to move you. So, find what inspires you and turn to it when you are in desperate need for motivation.

        Finding inspiration externally fills you with hope and sometimes that is all you need.

        10. Enjoy Downtime

        You are clearly exhausted with all the running you’re doing in life. So much, that you don’t even have time to stop and think what’s causing you so much unhappiness. All you know is that you are lacking motivation and everyday seems to have become a struggle.

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        Now, that’s certainly not how you should live the rest of your life.

        You need to schedule downtime for yourself, relax and give your mind and body some rest. Take a vacation, indulge in hobbies, meet some friends, put your hair down and stop with all the overthinking. It is important to do things that make you happy in order to think clearly and stay motivated.

        11. Meditate Regularly

        Meditation lets you take control of your mind. It improves focus and concentration while helping you relax.

        Whenever you have had a tough day or find your thoughts going places, the best way to calm yourself down is by closing your eyes and meditating. It helps you to remove all the unnecessary frills in life and keeps you on the right track.

        Include meditation in your daily schedule and you are sure to see an improvement in your productivity and motivation.

        The Bottom Line

        Practicing these simple exercises isn’t the tough part, what’s tough is religiously doing them every day.

        However, don’t expect to get rid of your lack of motivation overnight. There will still be days when you will be low on energy but by making these conscious efforts to stay motivated, you are sure to see a vast change in your perspective and your response to bad days.

        So, start today and be committed to making a positive change in your life.

        More Tips About Staying Motivated

        Featured photo credit: Sonnie Hiles via unsplash.com

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