The Harm of White Lies

LiesWhite lies seem harmless and most of us have been taught that they are. Is it really true that white lies are harmless? Before I talk about my thoughts on how being dishonest may have an affect  on your health and well being, let me share a couple of stories with you.

As a child I grew up with a father that told us a variety of things that until I was an adult, I thought were true. I actually believed that he worked at General Motors with Walt Disney doing car design engineering. That was just one of many of the lies my father made up to make it seem that he was important. The thing was for him, it was pathological, meaning he believed his own stories.

The youngest of my two brothers took after my father, and 20 years ago I had to stop associating with him, because it was impossible to know whether what he was sharing was true or a lie. My point in sharing this is that I found it unhealthy to be around my brother.

The funny thing was that as child, I was the honest one, to the degree that the rest of my siblings hated me for being honest, because my honesty would always get them in trouble. One day at about 4 years old, I decided that my siblings were having all the fun and I was being as they all called me “Goody Two Shoes”. So, I did something (I don’t recall what it was anymore) that I wasn’t supposed to do and when my mother discovered it, I lied and told them my sister did it. So, she got in trouble, even though she hadn’t done anything wrong. She was sent to her room and she cried for hours until my mother finally thought that something was really wrong, for her to cry about this for that long. When she asked my sister, who was a year younger than me, why she was crying, her response was Krystalya lied and I didn’t think she knew how to lie or would ever lie.

It was the last time I lied for a great deal of years, because I couldn’t stand the idea of hurting someone else by lying. In fact the next time I decided to try out lying was because my younger sister was getting away with dating at 13.5 years old and I hadn’t dated at all. The reason I hadn’t dated was because I was too honest and did what I was told and dating wasn’t allowed until we were 16. So, I decided to lie, so I could start dating. It worked for a while and eventually I was old enough to date. By that time I had learned to lie quite well until the night that I told my parents that I was going to a movie theater that was closed early because of the Race Riots and a curfew, that I didn’t hear about because I wasn’t where I was supposed to be. By the time I realized that the curfew was back in effect, it was too late and I had been caught.

I’m sure we have all experienced lying in our lives at various times and we can easily make up excuses for why we “had to lie” or it was a “white lie” to keep someone else from being hurt, etc.

Well, today I am going to share why I don’t lie about anything any more, not even something that could make a person feel bad. No, I’m not “Goody Two Shoes”, I’m honest because it makes my life easier, less stressful and way less complicated. You see honesty pays in far more ways than most of us realize.

You see lying doesn’t seem all that harmful, until you look more deeply at what it does to you. There’s a saying that I really like to keep in mind when it comes to telling the truth. Oh what a  tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. Each lie requires another lie and another lie and soon we have no idea who we told what to. Our lives become more and more complicated as we do this and the stress becomes greater and greater.

Stress is one of the leading causes of illness in the US. In fact more than half of the US adults have one or more stressful event in a year and 25% suffer from high levels of stress on a regular basis. Not all stress is related to lying, but it is one area of stress that we have total control over to eliminate completely.

In 1998, I was asked to deliver a copy of a system my team was developing for a client to one of their competitors. I refused to do so, because of the fact that we had a signed non-disclosure agreement with the client. I was fired. Many people would think being fired from their job would be very stressful and it was, but living with the idea that I betrayed that clients trust would have been far more stressful. Image accidentally mentioning the other client in a meeting or having your client find out that you violated the agreement and suing you or your company. All of those things, just going through my mind, worrying about the possibilities of what could happen, can be far more stressful on the body that we are actually aware of.

Stress is known to exacerbate just about any health condition. Stress has been found to worsen conditions such as obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, depression, asthma and gastrointestinal issues.

So you might still feel that there are times that lies are better than being honest. Let’s say for instance a friend asks how you like their new haircut and you think it looks unbecoming. I’m not suggesting that you be so bluntly honest that you hurt their feelings, that’s not necessary, but telling them it looks great when that’s not you opinion leaves you open to accidentally saying something later that causes more hard feelings and puts one more thing in your head that you have to keep track of, so you don’t accidentally tell them later what you really think. Be tactful and kind, and remember just because you don’t like their new hairdo doesn’t mean you are right. So, my answer would be something like, I liked you previous hairdo better but it really doesn’t matter what I think, if you love it that’s all that really matters.

Here’s another thing about lying that isn’t helpful for your relationships. Once you are found to be lying, it is highly unlikely that the person who caught you or was privy to your lies will ever trust you again. That just added one more stressor to your life, because now you have to wonder if other people will trust you.

The next step after that is, as people begin to no longer trust you, you then begin to stop trusting yourself as well. After that you begin to stop trusting anyone else. It becomes a vicious cycle and gets more and more stressful.

When I am working with a client who has an illness, one of the primary thing we look at are the underlying psychological and emotional causes of their ailment. When the client insists that none of the things I suggest could be underlying causes by dismissing them at hand without even considering them, it usually means they are in denial and are lying to themselves, because of their own lack of self-love and self-esteem. They don’t want to admit that they could have a fear, that they could still have lingering hatred toward a parent, because they have “already dealt with it”, etc. All of these things are signs that they are lying to themselves because they don’t want to face the fact that they didn’t heal the issue totally, that they have more to look at and clear.

We want things to happen quickly, we don’t want to keep working on the same issue, yet many times these issues have multiple layers that all need to be dealt with in order to heal the complete issue.

When I removed the lump from my breast, I had been doing self-love work for more than 30 years. I thought I was being more loving and kind to myself and yet, issues with the breast is typically an indication of lack of self-nurturing. I tried to dismiss that fact, because I was sure that I had healed all of those issues, yet there it was once again, and I was faced with lying to myself, by saying that can’t be the issue, or looking deeper within to identify the underlying issues that were causing me to believe I wasn’t worthy of nurturing and self-love. Once I was finally honest with myself, and used the process and Krystagraphs I was guided to use, the lump was gone in 20 minutes. That 20 minutes seems fast, but it took me a year before I was honest enough to admit that I still had self-love issues to heal.

Are you willing to look so deeply into your own psyche that you will uncover and heal any underlying psychological or emotional cause of your health challenge? Sometimes the journey can be quite challenging, but what I have found is that embracing the challenge is the only way to true success in anything, including self healing.

Whether you are wanting to lose weight, stop smoking, heal from fibromyalgia, heart to disease, or any other illness, being honest with yourself about what’s going on inside of your head is in my opinion the most important thing you can do to get lasting healing. Stuffing your feelings, pretending that you aren’t still angry about something from the past, pretending that you aren’t afraid all contribute to your illness not your health.

I watched a dear friend act positive and happy all of the time die from cancer. Although I had some understanding of the psychological cause of cancer, being anger eating away oneself, I never told her, because she was always so positive and happy.  Three weeks before she died while I was visiting her she started spewing anger about her ex-husband and parents, etc. All of that anger was held inside, eating at her, yet on the outside no one knew.

If you are trying to heal and are stuck and would like some insights, feel free to comment below and I’ll answer any questions you may have. Remember sharing your questions and comments may help others who are afraid to ask.



4 comments to The Harm of White Lies

  • Michael,

    How very true about us lying to ourselves and giving and accepting them from everyone else. I agree with your mother about if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all, my mother also used to say that. I too agree that the minute we state an opinion it requires judgment. I’m not sure what your question is, can you expand on the part about insights that never happen, please!

  • Kathleen,

    Very well stated. Thank you!

  • Kathleen Wilson

    I believe that telling lies does effect us. I try to put myself in the equation, knowing I would not want to be deceived. Tell the truth, and it will set your free as my mother would say. it is less stressful……

  • We generally lie to ourselves… those who make and keep their promises are far more successful than those who don’t…. Until you can keep your promises with yourself, stop telling yourself falsehoods… you will give and accept them from everyone else as well. It all starts with me. And my mother always said, if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all. Opinions that empower others one way or another… requires our judgment but we operate in the present, from insight, that never happens…. how come?

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