The Truth About Lying

Posted on September 9th, 2013 by in Life Lessons

telling_truthTelling lies—to ourselves or to others—makes us feel icky, causes stress, and saps us of endless energy. In a recent edition of Goop, Dr. Habib Sadeghi talks about the importance of honesty. Habib, founder of Be Hive of Healing, says that if we’re not honest with ourselves, we’ll never be honest with others. Dishonesty isn’t about protecting others—that’s part of the lie we tell ourselves. It’s actually the result of trying to avoid a painful or uncomfortable situation and inevitably leads to its twin sisters: secrets and denial.

Kripalu presenter Maria Sirois, PsyD, says facing ourselves honestly opens up the path toward wholeness. She finds that when people come to Kripalu and take a look inward, they often realize that they have not been fully honest with themselves. Self-deceit can show up as fooling ourselves about how unhealthy our diet really is, or how out of balance our time commitments are at work. The untruth that we uncover most often isn’t a direct lie, but rather a deeper lie that tells us we are somehow less than or unworthy.

Sure, introspection is scary. We may not always like what we find. Know that feeling when you tell a white lie and don’t want to get caught? Sometimes you start to avoid that person, or blame them when things go wrong. But what you’re really avoiding is the reminder of your own actions. The truth about truth is that even if others don’t know you’re lying, you do. And that takes a psychic toll on how you view yourself.

Buddhist teacher and Kripalu presenter Noah Levine says a deep commitment to honesty doesn’t mean we have to be perfect, or even holy, but we do need to tell it like it is, even when that’s painful. When we’re out of sync with our belief system, we can feel it, deep down. The bigger the lie, the more it weighs on us. But when our actions, thoughts, and words are aligned, we become free, especially of self-judgment.

Through meditation, wise actions, and self-less service, we learn the tools necessary to help us speak honestly but with kindness, generosity, and compassion. “Coming clean can be the most radical stance one can take,” Noah says.

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About Jennifer Mattson

Jennifer is a journalist, writer, yogini, and kirtan junkie. A former volunteer resident at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, she’s a former broadcast news producer for CNN and National Public Radio. Her reporting and writing have appeared in The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, USA Today and the Women’s Review of Books.
  • pam

    The neurological effect of an untruth in the brain is dock enter and beginning to appear in many places. Not only just lying but intentional verbal attempts at misleading people have a very specific response in the nerve synapses.

  • pam

    It is documented! I think I need a new spell check.