Nobody likes to be lied to. Some people lie to others and still don’t like to be lied back to. Lying is something some people do all the time and they don’t even think they lie. What would be the best way to handle a situation where someone lied to you?
Secrets & Shame
We all know that honesty is a virtue. Yet honest people at times lie. Sometimes the lies are big. Why do honest people lie? Why does anyone lie?
In my quest to understand the affects of living a shame based life I discovered the answer to lying.
What is shame and how do some people live a shame based life? Perhaps it’s better to answer the question of shame with the use of the word “ashamed.”
A shame based life is a life that others do not like the way they are and believe others don’t like it either. They are ashamed of things about them self. Perhaps they’re ashamed of secrets they hold about them self that they fear letting other’s see. It may be small shame and as simple as they don’t like the fact that they’ve gained weight and don’t want others to see it. Or they think their job isn’t to a standard of the crowd they want to run with and they’re ashamed to let anyone know what they do. Maybe they’re ashamed of some personality traits. Shame has many dimensions.
Toxic shame is much worse. Toxic shame are deep rooted beliefs that they hold inside that they are not at all good enough for connection, acceptance and belonging. It may be shame that they received due to a traumatic experience(s) in childhood that caused a great deal of pain and suffering that they still hold inside. Unfortunately shame is an awful way to parent yet seems to be the standard for most families today. Perhaps they inherited the shame their parents held. Toxic shame leads to addictions of all forms. Toxic shame is painful and acting out or in, through an addiction, like drug, alcohol or pornagraphy, is used to numb the pain.
What ever kind a shame a person holds, they hide the source of it and do not feel good about them self. They forsake their otherwise important values they believe in, like honesty. Internalized shame is the source of otherwise honest people lying.
A lie is used to deflect the truth away from facts or a situation that is linked to the shame. As an example, if a person did not believe in them self and their abilities and thought others would not accept them, they will lie to avoid, in their mind, the pain of not being accepted. Perhaps they made a mistake at work which the shame would intensity. So to avoid the discovery and facing the fear of not being accepted, they lie to deflect the situation away from them. Another way to describe this is that the person is embracing who they think others want them to be, in this case “Joe Perfect” who is only accepted for his perfectionism because he doesn’t make mistakes. In the above situation Joe Perfect thinks he has to be perfect to be accepted and forsakes being authentic and real. Joe Perfect is said to be a “human doing” instead of a “human being.” Perfectionism is directly correlated to living shame based. This is why I believe most politicians lie.
The reality of a shame based lie is that the person who lied actually intensifies their held shame and would actually move away from being accepted because most people do not like being lied to even when they lie to others.
A final perspective of shame. People who do not embrace who they really are and try to be who others want them to be, are living a “lie” for a life. They pretend and also work to please others. And as I mentioned, they become perfectionist. Therefore, saying a lie is just a part of that unauthentic life.
There is Hope
Shame can be overcome!!! Even toxic shame and addiction!!!
Shame moves people away from being authentic and forsaking who they think others want them to be and embracing who they really are. It takes work though to overcome shame and be real and authentic. It starts by recognizing that they have some form of shame and secrets. It takes full disclosure and getting out in the open their secrets and who they really are. It’s being vulnerable and they may have to pass though some dark times to get to the light. Being vulnerable takes courage because others may still not accept you for being real and that might be painful.
By living vulnerable, the cause of the shame in their life has no more power over them! People love honesty in every situation. They embrace authenticity with a much deeper connection knowing of their humanity when their true self is transparent for all to see. Being vulnerable is powerful! Being vulnerable means never having to lie because they unconditionally love them self, including all their imperfections.
How to React When Someone Lies
I hope you already know what to do when someone lies to you and it’s not to pound on them and judge them. They need to be held accountable for sure but being forgiven may help them be able to embrace who they really are and help them overcome their shame.
People living with shame have a hard time with compassion and understanding. Many are very judgmental and it’s symptomatic of embracing who you think others want them to be and not being their true self.
Lying is not good for sure but the cause of the lie is worse; shame. Overcoming shame is one of the most powerful things you could ever do for yourself because it will lead you to unconditional self love and acceptance! That is living whole! That is being authentic! That allows you to accept all your imperfections as gifts!