Everyone lies. I watched a program about lying and how people lie. As it pointed out, lying is a human condition. We all lie at different times for different reasons. It showed through various tests and research that on average...70% of everyone across the board...male, female, children, men, women consistently lie all the time and mostly.....don't even realize it. Out of everyone tested...there were those who lie completely aware of their dishonesty but this only accounted for 15% of the total of all lying done by humans. These were the worst offenders and the ones everyone heres about. Corporations like Enron, Banks and Politicians were amongst the worst offenders in this category but that still leaves the rest of us with only an extremely small number in each test group who failed to lie on the tests but this does not account for the lies we tell ourselves. This was pointed out that lying to ourselves is the biggest reason why we all lie and we lie consistently all the time.
This is because of what the researcher found....has to do with our inherent God given (or whom ever you prefer) make up that is inherent in human beings that causes us to lie. The biggest lies are actually the ones we tell ourselves because there are normally few consequences for telling these lies in the short term. In the long term however....these lies catch up to us eventually over time because they actually increase in number over time instead decrease over time which is what we actually believe ourselves. The reason for this has to do with intensity and duration. The more intense we feel the shame of our lies....the less apt we are in making them. This accounts for only the 15% who continue to lie beyond the average where shame or accountability are overridden by motivations of things like greed and especially money seem to over ride our ability to feel shame after too long because this effect of that duration has on us. It seems....the longer we lie....the more apt we are to lie even more not less over time. With each lie that we tell ourselves or make...the consequences for lying go down over time until there are no consequences anymore in the immediate moment for lying any more. Not until we feel the consequences for our lying...do we realize the lies we tell ourselves and then do anything about it.
But as the research studier found out....dishonesty has very little to do with it except in the case of the the extreme 15% of all of us who lie.
There are white lies we make for the benefits of others.
There are lies we make in order to please others on their behalf
And there are lies we make to protect ourselves from harm
None of these lies start out being dishonest and are there to serve both ourselves and others to protect humans from harm. Namely preventing our selves and others from feelings of shame. The problem with these lies are that they are intervening or preventing shame from happening by reducing shame which is the purpose that shame exists which is to motivate us not to lie. The consequences of these lies suggest that the very reason we make these lies...is the very reason why people lie more not less because shame needs to be present on some level to keep us from lying in the first place. This means these are the lies that do the most damage of all because they are of the longest in duration over the greatest amount of time.
Compared to the worst offenders who we consider "liars" who we see as dishonest only account for the 15%...actually lie less often but with more intensity (bigger gain for themselves) but for a shorter duration and actually account for less damage and harm in over all comparisons when money was used as a criteria. These worst offenders who we see as "liars" who many go to prison for their crimes eventually....do less harm overall to the general public and ourselves....than the smaller lies we all make everyday over the course of our lives and cause more damage to others and ourselves as the researcher finally concluded by adding up the figures and tallying the total damage done over time.
These numbers (that I can't recall exactly) were astounding if you looked at the millions of dollars stolen or cheated in comparison to the biggest but fewer offenders (singular or short duration but larger amounts to gain per incidence of lying) who we see as liars.
Yet....for the rest of us (the other 70%) who are not these offenders, who will never go to prison and who view ourselves as honest, good hard working people....are the most responsible of all and cause the greatest harm overall when compared to the lies we tell ourselves on a daily basis.
And this all boils down to shame. Too much shame will cause us to lie to protect ourselves and others from it. Too little shame will cause us to lie ever more because there are no consequences that we can see or feel in the short term....but actually cause us more harm over the longest time due to duration and the minimizing effect that takes place which is part of the human condition.
As it appears.....honesty and dishonesty as we understand it...has very little to do with this unless we take this into account. And as the researcher also pointed out...fear has little or nothing to do with preventing us from lying. Fear can actually work against us...if shame is what we fear the most.
The more fear we feel...and the more afraid we are.....will actually cause us to lie more.....and feel less shame...than going in the other direction.
As I reflected on this and thought about it.....I discovered that this is absolutely true for myself. And then I immediately jumped to the conclusion that balance is the key here of course. As it appears.....imbalance is the real culprit when it comes to lying and since we all lie and a balance between shame and fear in healthy doses is required....it isn't too hard to draw the conclusion that all or nothing is not the answer here.
Avoidance or all shame and fear...or protecting our self or the ones we Love the most from all shame and fear....is the worst thing we can possibly do to ourselves and the people we love and care about the most.
I for one...can see how I have failed here on all accounts and can see exactly how I failed to see this and the amount of damage I done to myself and others in failing to see this in myself. I have to hold myself accountable for doing exactly what this researcher discovered and I am the only one to blame for lying to myself in this very way and can see how this kind of lying...is what causes the most harm to others each and every time I've done this. I have to take full responsibility for my actions and I have lied continuously throughout my lifetime out of my own fear of shame or trying to protect others from feeling shame and this I hold myself accountable for all the damage I've caused both to myself...and others and I truly and openly apologize for my failure to see this sooner.
I humbly apologize for all the damage I've done due my own failure here....and I am truly sorry.