The reasons why you’re a liar.
Honesty reduces anxiety, makes you self-aware, gives you sex appeal, and in general makes life easier. The only thing honesty doesn’t do is make you a good husband or employee.
But most of us, myself included, still lie every day because of the emotional factors that get between us and the truth. Our superego wants us to be more honest, but then we go out into the world and act like teenagers with alcohol on their breath.
Therefore, an article that merely instructed us to be honest would be like an article about scoring touchdowns without discussing how to block the linebackers.
So here are some of the deeper reasons why you’re a liar. Confront and overcome these and you’ll find yourself telling the truth like the matriarch in a Tyler Perry movie.
You need to be liked
This is an obvious one, but it’s worth mentioning. It doesn’t matter how much you care about being honest—if you need to be liked, that need will take precedence over honesty.
To fix: Remember that people are morons, so being liked by them doesn’t feel that good anyway.
You have a wife or family
The whole “two become one” thing feels good until you realize the other one has a bunch of baggage if not annoyances you need to cover up or defend for the sake of the merger. Same goes for families, especially large families. This is why Italians lie so much they barely know when they’re doing it.
To fix: Remember that you probably only love your wife and family because of Stockholm syndrome. Treat them like the benevolent captors they are: as an object of your eye rolls, but also with the knowledge that you’re probably never going to love anyone else so oh well.
You’re out of touch with death
It’s easy to lose touch with the fact that you, the collective reader, probably have on average only 35 years left. This isn’t much considering it’s your eternity. Or worse, maybe you think that when you do die you’re going to heaven if you’ve followed the rules—ie lied to yourself. Either way, accepting your expendability keeps you from holding on to your lies too tightly.
To fix: Live well and you will want to be dead half the time anyway.
You have an addiction
It’s common for a pathological liar to have an addiction to something other than lying. So if you lie a lot, it’s safe to assume you have an addiction you’re unaware of. Even a borderline addiction compromises your free will. And without free will, you’ll only be connected to your thoughts and feelings to the extent a grizzly bear or law students are.
To fix: If someone held a gun to your head and told you to admit your one addiction, whatever first pops into your head is worth investigating. I’m not saying to quit your addiction, but at least become more in touch with it, even if it involves doing something totally insane like going to a support group for it.
Telling the truth means stepping outside your comfort zone. But if you go through life following the same, boring routine, and then you’re immediately put in a position in which telling the truth would be uncomfortable, you’ll be much less likely to do it.
To fix: Stop reading Huffington Post. It implicitly teaches you that boredom is natural.
You lack self-awareness
If inexplicable thoughts and feelings come up in your life at random and grab hold of your reigns, you will feel unstable. As a result, you’ll latch on to some semblance of stability by getting along with people, which often necessitates lying.
To fix: Write down every inexplicable thought and feeling and discuss with a therapist where these impulses might be coming from.
You think therapy is lame
If you don’t think it’s important to express yourself in confidentiality, then you’re lying to yourself. And lies are like Italians—where there’s one there are usually many more. The only people who don’t benefit from therapy are the people who think therapy solves everything.
To fix: Don’t be such a meatball all the time.
If you’ve never learned to think about an issue on a deep, complex level, then you have no chance of being honest about the issue. Same goes for yourself.
To fix: Stop reading HuffPo.
When you’re smart, you can come up with fantastic reasons for why it’s okay for you to lie. These reasons will seem so good you won’t even feel like a liar.
To fix: Hang out with dumb guys—you call them “douchebags.” They understand they’re too dumb to get away with lying, which will eventually teach you that everybody is too dumb to get away with lying.
You’re an advocate or activist
When you join sides, you necessarily sacrifice your own thoughts and beliefs in order to belong. Plus you become blinded by the success of your side over another side, and you’ll fail to see the subtleties of whatever you’re fighting about.
To fix: Talk about ideas, not groups or people or sides. Not reading HuffPo is a good place to start.
Honesty is repulsive at first but so is heroin. There’s nothing inherently difficult about telling the truth—you’re brain simply isn’t used to it.
To fix: Start small. Begin being honest about one thing you previously lied about. Wear that hat for a month. Then go on to the next. You’ll think it’s a big deal, but you’ll be surprised by how little people care.
This isn’t intended as a moralistic article; I barely believe in the words “right” and “wrong” anyway. Though I do like the word “power,” and there is power in honesty. Even knowing this, you’re probably like me in that you’re going to always lie about a few things no matter what, especially if you’re an Italian who reads HuffPo.