Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

White Lies

POR VIDA - Archie Modequillo - The Freeman

It takes a very special person perhaps to completely quell the urge to tell a lie, at one time or another.

It has become quite common for people to lie – adults, teenagers, and even small children. Their reasons are as varied as their individual motivations: to avoid trouble, to be kind, to save face, or just to be polite.

With many people it is a way of coping. Sometimes telling a lie is the practical thing to do in a situation. But even the so-called “white lies” have a dark side. These run against the human predilection for truth and can eventually harm one’s moral integrity and precious relationships.

Little children often tell lies in order to avoid being pestered into doing something they dislike. It is common among kids to bluff about taking their vitamins or studying their lessons or even saying their evening prayers. Lying is an effective way to silence a nagging mom.

Many lies are told out of good intentions. It’s kind to tell a losing contestant that her performance was good, even if it obviously was not. It may just save her self-confidence from slipping into eternal oblivion. Telling a frightened girl that the dentist has a magical, painless touch may save her smile for years to come.

Manners, too, often prompt innocuous lying. When the hostess asks the guest what he thinks of dinner, he should be polite enough to say it was great, even if he’s about to throw up. An ageing lady who solicits an “objective” comment about her latest facial reconstruction needs to be told that she looks beautiful, no matter what the truth is. She may actually be looking like a troll, but that’s not likely what she wants to hear. A little lie can make her day.

The lawyer’s secretary who forgot to fax an important document to the court may save her neck by saying the machine bogged down. A student who missed an important exam may fake an ailment or blame the traffic. People will create every conceivable story to save themselves from embarrassment and from imminent trouble.

Many people lie in order to get into a relationship or to remain in one. And often it is also lies that make them fall apart. It is common among young lovers to tell lies to each other in order to avoid quarrels, even more common among husbands and wives. The husband who comes home late to find his wife asleep beside a cold wedding-anniversary dinner will have to invent a good excuse for his slip-up.

Occasionally, there is more to lose by telling the truth. Yet, notwithstanding the underlying reasons and intentions, lies are deceptions. And when falsehood predominates in a relationship, the parties’ trust of each other soon wears away and their hearts eventually grow cold. No relationship can stand secure in the sandy soil of untruths. It may be practical to lie at a moment in order to avert a possible disagreement. But the truth has to be told, later when it is safe to do so.

It is not in human nature to lie. There is good proof to this. The body reacts to a lie in awkward ways. For instance, the voice changes when a person tells a lie. It tends to get shrill or shaky. The liar is likely to stumble over words. The facial expression reveals it, too. The eyes tend to be overly expressive, the smile oversized, lips and eyebrows exaggeratedly animated. General nervousness becomes obvious: repeatedly clearing the throat, nervous winks, twitchy hands or feet.

A lie can invite others’ attention by creating a desirable image for the liar. It can buy affection, goodwill, comfort, peace, and other benefits. But only temporarily. The fake front will not hold for long, especially in an atmosphere of intimacy. Telling the truth to a loved one may not be always easy. But it is the best way of communicating that the relationship is so precious that it’s worth whatever hassle.

It takes courage to tell a bitter truth. But like medicine, the good that the truth brings can far compensate the initial bitter taste. Supporting a loved one with the truth is much better than protecting him or her from momentary pain by telling a lie. Sincere honesty is a gesture of great respect not only for the other person but, first and foremost, for oneself. It is an admirable person who is not afraid to say the truth.










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