We cannot have a truly mindful lifestyle without examining the role dishonesty, for whatever reason, plays in our day to day existence.
For some people, dishonesty is as easy and common as breathing, for others less so, but I find that all of us engage in dishonesty to one degree or another.
Maybe it is when we are asked if an outfit makes someone look fat or if we are free later to finally come see their slam poetry at the coffee shop.
Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter, we all have our ways of being dishonest.
Much of the time, saying nothing would be honest and acceptable, but we say something anyway.
Much of the time, we could be honest and still be kind, but we choose to say the expected (and dishonest) thing. We have all these social niceties that we follow blindly, and they don’t just lead us to dishonesty, but we enable and feed other people’s poor behavior through them.
Notice what lies you are drawn toward telling today, whether they are big or small.
Make note of your motivations for lying.
Why are you doing it in the first place?
Are there other ways to meet that need?
Is there a way out of the situation without being dishonest?
Are you just kicking the can down the road by lying?
Could you simply say nothing at all instead?
I find that much of the time, a situation does not need our comment or opinion in the first place, but we are compelled to offer one, and to offer a dishonest one at that.
It is odd that we would rather engage in a small dishonesty than remain silent.
The situations in which we can justify lying – really justify it – are very few, and very unlikely. I doubt anyone will be coming to your door looking for the Jewish family you are hiding in your attic anytime soon, since this seems to be the go to example for this question.
Most of the time, we lie to protect ourselves from a minor inconvenience, no matter what we tell ourselves about our motivations.
Sometimes, we lie to allow ourselves to keep on engaging in behavior we probably shouldn’t be engaging in in the first place.
It is rare that it would not be better for us to be silent or honest, but we take the easy way out.
Notice what you lie about today.
Try to be honest about why you are telling this lie.
See if there’s a better way.
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I write, podcast and make videos about living in freedom through mindfulness, intentionality, compassion, and equanimity.
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