By Cindy Yantis
How often do we just kind of fudge the truth, or tell a little white lie to make someone feel better or to make things a little easier on ourselves?
How about several times a day?
Research by social psychologist Robert Feldman, who has studied lying for over a decade, showed 60% of people lie 2-3 times during a 10-minute conversation. He also found that most people lie to be more likable or appear more competent.
According to behavioral scientist Dan Ariely - in the documentary “(Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies” - it’s all about rationalization. The “fudge factor” leads to people rationalizing that a little lying is okay. He also says that self-deception takes place everywhere. It’s the biggest lie of all. He said, “We convince ourselves the deception is actually truth.”
Well, that piece about self-deception gave me the chills. It got me thinking about Truth, not only as a philosophy of life but also as a GPS system – Truth from the inside out.
Plato was one of the foremost and passionate philosophers on truth. He said:
“Truth is the beginning of every good to the gods, and of every good to man… The true lover of knowledge naturally strives for truth, and is not content with common opinion, but soars with undimmed and unwearied passion till he grasps the essential nature of things.” And, “There is nothing so delightful as the hearing, or the speaking of truth. For this reason, there is no conversation so agreeable as that of the man of integrity, who hears without any intention to betray, and speaks without any intention to deceive.”
Okay, brilliant, but easier said than done, Master Plato.
Fear filters the truth. I came to this shocking realization a couple of years ago when I saw this in my own behavior. I have an aversion to conflict and as a result have often manipulated the truth, just a little, in order to avoid conflict. As soon as I recognized this, I made a commitment to use my words carefully but honestly, even if in the face of
conflict. It’s continual work, but my voice has become stronger and managing conflict has become smoother. And, the truth is, I have a lot more self-respect because of it.
Here are some more thoughts about truth: understanding, reframing, speaking, assimilating and living it.
Truth recognizes its own fences, knowing that manipulation and fudging are but a
whitewash over untruths.
Truth listens inward first.
Truth is ancient ancestral wisdom that we know deep in our root, in our bones and in our solar plexus.
Truth can be couched by fear and hidden beneath humor. Conversely, truth can be softened by love and can make us laugh, or cry, hysterically.
Truth has a lot of fancy aliases, such as authenticity, transparency, clarity and realism.
Truth just is.
Truth wants to be remembered.
Truth wants to be asked. Truth doesn’t need to be answered.
Truth lives in our dreams, in our breath and in our voices, grounded and lowered half an octave.
Truth doesn’t ask for our respect, but fully deserves it.
As a writer, one of my mottoes is, “the unvarnished truth, well told.” That helps me to be honest with my characters and true to their stories.
The unvarnished truth, well told. Now, that's a true tenet for daily life.
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Cindy Yantis is the Thought Changer Blog creator & curator. She is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. For more info: CindyYantis.com