Truth is almost always inconvenient. No one wants to think, speak, or listen to the truth if it means not getting what you want. Our collective love-affair with lies is part of why honest people tend to be taken advantage of. If you speak the truth about yourself all the time, you give others information that can and will be used against you. That's where privacy comes into play.
Being a "private" person is not the same as lying. Choosing not to share details about your life and relationships with others is a way to protect yourself and the people you care for. However, if you wish to build intimacy with another person, you must decide to share those details if you want the connection to stick. It's wholly unethical to withhold necessary information from an individual who needs it to make any decision in connection to you and/or your life. Withholding information (and/or affection) is a kind of self-sabotage but also, social sabotage--you're hurting yourself and others. Something to think about....
Speaking the truth is how we make ourselves vulnerable. If you want to build trust, you have to allow yourself to be honest. That means being truthful not just some of the time, but ALL of the time. When you are honest, you make space for another person to love you. However, that same space allows for you to be taken advantage of, too. Honesty can, therefore, be a tricky proposition.
Lie to protect yourself, but then, no one can love you. Tell the truth to gain love, but then, someone can hurt you. Discernment is the art of knowing who to share what with and when. Takes time and practice, and even then, there will always be a risk that someone you open up to will reject you, use you, abuse you...sadly, that's part of living in a world full of instant gratification.
Instant gratification (via technology) devalues the human experience. In other words, instant gratification devalues the truth. But the truth is that we all have to lie at some point in our lives to survive. Why? Because, humans almost always use judgment over compassion.
Judgment encourages dishonesty, while compassion supports the truth. If you want people to be more honest with you as an individual, you have to be more compassionate.
Lies help us to avoid social scrutiny. For example, if you want your kids to be honest with you (at least, most of the time), don't judge them for their humanity: "But, I'm the parent. It's my job."
No, it isn't. Your job is to support your child, no matter what. If your kid needs your help, your job is to provide it. It's really that simple. So is love...until lies complicate "true" feelings. Then, resentment builds.
Resentment can build in any relationship if one or more of the individuals involved use judgment over compassion. Judgment derives from having an attitude of superiority. Compassion derives from humility--showing gratitude by not taking anything or anyone for granted. Of course, there are exceptions where abuse is involved and resentment is actually considered a positive, healthy response (though the abuser will often try to push responsibility back onto the victim).
Know a few judgmental types? Deep down, they're ungrateful sods. Distance yourself.
The ingrates of this world have victim-mentalities. Anyone who scrutinizes others instead of celebrating them (aka prioritizing problems over people), is looking to start trouble. You will never have peace with ungrateful souls because nothing you say or do will ever be good enough. Using judgement over compassion is simply a manifestation of a strong lack of desire to take responsibility for one's own feelings, thoughts and actions. Making any judgment about others distracts from the disconnects of the person making them.
Casting social judgment is just another iteration of lying. It's equivalent to starting a rumor by discussing other people in a negative light when they're not there to defend themselves. Be wary of individuals who "cast aspersions" (make damaging remarks that hurt another's reputation)--if someone talks about others to you, rest assured that individual also talks about you to others.
"Honest" people are not always honest. But when you meet someone who tells you the truth whether it is convenient or not, keep that person close.
Telling the truth, no matter what, is a sign of courage, friendship, caring, and love. People who lie to avoid "hurting your feelings" are lying to avoid the truth--it has nothing to do with you or your feelings. It's either about their survival (or, what you can do for them--as with sycophants), or more likely, the dishonest individual simply doesn't want to put in the effort it takes to speak the truth.
Lies are always easy to tell (and even easier to believe) because lies tell us what we want, not what we need. Yet, the truth is still a constant. But when "honest" people try to filter truth through social lenses like theology (or religion), truth gets muddied by individual context. This is called "semantics." Semantics is the study of the relationship between words and how they're used.
Here's an example:
When an "honest" guy tells a woman he's single even though he's not, he's lying to get what he wants. Once he gets his "reward," he'll gradually begin distancing himself--not because he doesn't want to continue--but to hide his initial lie(s). Only after distance and avoidance fails, will that man resort to "truth":
"I'm back with my ex and feel it's disrespectful to talk to you now, even though I enjoy it."
"My "ex" is my partner, not my "ex." I cheated on her with you because I wanted to, lying to you in the process until you finally complied with what I wanted. Once you complied, I had to go back to my "real" life which means we can't talk or I'll get caught. You see, I'm financially and/or emotionally codependent so can't risk changing my relationship for anyone's benefit, including my own."
That's semantics in a nutshell. The guy probably sees himself as "honest" because he had legitimate interest in the woman he met, even though he was already attached to someone else. He initially lied because of these" legitimate" feelings--at least, that's what he told himself.
Most people can't live with who they really are or what their "real" lives are like and lie to manipulate others in order to get what they don't have (yet still feel is "deserved"). Even if this man had a bad life and deserved better, why does "better" require hurting someone else? The woman he wooed under false pretenses (aka lies) thought she was starting a new relationship with a single man. Had she known the truth, she likely would not have slept with him and if she still did, she would not have expected anything more from him. But once the lie was told and the "relationship" began, her expectations naturally shifted. Clearly, the man understands this and even acknowledges it by lying again to soften the actual truth.
To be honest, lies are often told with the best of intentions...that's why the road to hell is said to be paved with them. Believe it or not, the man in our example had no ill-intent toward the woman he lied to. In the back of his mind, he even hoped she was the Prince Charming to his Cinderella. Maybe she could save him from his so-called life??? But these fairy tales are fantasies, delusions--lies we tell ourselves to avoid confronting often unpleasant and painful truths.
When we lack self-awareness, we may not even recognize how dishonest we are being with ourselves, nor with anyone else. The example above shows a man who is in deep denial of his own feelings about his own life. Rather than work to resolve those issues, he looks for "band-aids"--like sleeping with other women.
People are not band-aids. But for a very short time, this man felt loved and desired. He felt important. He felt hope. He felt like his life had meaning. If his life is such that he cannot easily disentangle from it, seeking joy and happiness where and when he can is reasonable. Except, it's highly selfish and incredibly narcissistic to invite people into your life when you have no ability to maintain a real connection. That's the sad part...lies prevented this man from moving on to what could have been a "better" relationship. The real truth would have set him free. It can set you free, too.
Being honest with ourselves means embracing our truth--good, bad and ugly. If you're stuck, use the truth to find a way around your obstacles. As long as you understand your true motivations, you can move your life forward towards "better," not just for a day or a week...but forever.
Honestly, you got this....