Dishonesty hurts. It doesn’t matter where it comes from, but it is especially hurtful when it comes from people we love. I would be telling an untruth if I said not one of us has ever lied before. Maybe we told someone that we couldn’t make it to a birthday party because we were (ahem) “sick”. We “forgot” about an important meeting. Trust is one of the most valuable things we have to earn that we dismiss it as if it means nothing.
Honestly (pun intended), I think people don’t mean t lie, but are uncomfortable with telling the truth. The truth may hurt, but a lie hurts more. When we are consistently lied to over and over, it makes anything that the person tells you questionable. From the get go. Everything from that point creates walls that are difficult to tear down. How does that work for relationships? When keeping up with the lies is a task in itself? Ever been in a situation like that?
You get to the point when the words are pointless and you become numb and immune to the meaning when the truth is really shared. You are done dealing. Unfortunately, I know people in these situations…that catching the lies that are being cast out become a way of life and secretly, you hope you don’t catch one. But you know that if you don’t today, that you will catch them another day.
When one of our sons was about 10 years old, he always tried to “skirt” the truth and usually he got caught. One of my favorite stories begins with him being asked to take a shower. Well, I was pretty sure this young man was upstairs all of maybe 5 minutes and told him that there was “no way that he could have showered” so I smelled his hair. Guess what? It smelled like 10-year-old boy — not shampoo. He promised up and down that he showered, so I asked him to bring me his towel. Well, he knows that he is wet when he gets out of the shower, so he brought me his towel…with just the corner of it really wet. Last time, I took a shower, I don’t just use the corner…if you know what I mean. (I knew he had just run the corner under the faucet, but we played along.) So, I commanded this young son of mine to go back up there and take a REAL shower and if he didn’t, then I would have no problem washing him myself. So, off he went to “shower” again. This time, he came downstairs, and I again smelled his hair and “pretended” to get upset with him…telling him that I told him what would happen if he didn’t shower and use shampoo. This set the kid off into tears, saying things like, “I really showered this time, Mom!” and “Please believe me!” He had created doubt and I questioned his words. I wondered if he really (really), did what I asked him to this time. Side note: when I smelled his hair the second time, I smelled shampoo, but pretended not to to teach him a lesson.
Being honest when it will hurt others is hard for the teller of the words too, but I would much rather hear the truth (even if it wasn’t what I wanted to hear) than a lie. If someone cannot be honest with me, then everything I thought I knew about that person becomes debatable. I wonder if any of it was true. I stop believing in who they are and if that happens then I stop caring. When our hearts have been tossed aside as if they don’t matter, it is really hard to trust again. Trust is not something that is just given. It must be earned. So to protect ourselves, we create walls. I get it.
Once walls are built…
…they are hard to tear down. We are left unaffected by any other words or deeds as they seem ambiguous and false. We lose hope. The integrity of that person is in jeopardy and we can feel humiliated for allowing this person or persons to fool us. No one likes to feel that way…it doesn’t matter why. Lies and mistrust create a lack of confidence and tear away at the relationship standing on any solid ground. It is going to be like sitting on a couple of tetonic plates near the San Andreas Fault in California…just waiting for some shifting to happen before everything falls apart and comes crashing down. We give people the benefit of the doubt until they create that doubt. Ever heard someone say, “Trust me.” What do you immediately think? I know what I would think — “I did until you just told me too.”
For those of you that mislead others, I hope you care more about the people you love to finally be genuine. It may not be easy, but it is going to wear on your heart too. People will lie to make themselves look better or sound better, but karma has a funny way of coming back to remind you of what’s right. If you have hurt someone, apologize and make sure that it will never happen again. Accept that some things just cannot be forgiven.
For those of you that have been misled by others, I hope you find the courage again to trust. Maybe not the same way or even with the same people. Don’t prejudge someone based on what someone else before them has done. Judge them based on what they show you and tell you. If someone you care about has lied to you, practice forgiveness, but also know when you have had enough too. If someone new comes to you, it is hard not to remember what was done before.
Have you been lied to?
With truth and honesty comes reliance that the words and actions have occurred or will happen. Without trust, there can be no growth. Only questions that may till be answered by are false.
I know it is difficult. I know what it is like to not trust people…in fact, it is one thing I struggle with every day. But even in the middle of that mistrust and lack of faith, something makes us want to believe. We want to have hope. Because it is so hard to let go and truly accept that we weren’t worth the truth.
Michelle A. Homme 2014 ©