Those of you who follow all my writings, not just the obvious health advisories, will know I write a lot about mental and spiritual wellbeing.
Those who joined my New Thought Horizons program, for instance, were treated to a talk entitled “Honesty, Lies and Truth”, with a strong message about not telling lies.
Lies undermine one’s own mental health. Lies also compromise your relationship partner; he or she cannot respond to you properly, if you are dishonest about what you are thinking, feeling or doing. In fact it’s a great way to make them look foolish and get them to hate you: just run rings round them with lies, till the whole relationship falls apart!
Then you run around telling more lies about how it was all his or her fault, not your own. Next thing you know—you are just average or “normal”, because they are all doing it too.
I published some startling figures. For instance, 96% of women admit to telling lies often, even daily. That was a survey of women, by women and published in a woman’s journal, if you are wondering about a gender attack.
I sometimes wonder about the 4%: whether they are the honest women or hardcore liars who won’t admit the truth, even on a survey!
You may have seen this 2004 survey, for That’s Life Magazine.
Eighty-three per cent owned up to telling “big, life-changing lies”, with 13 per cent saying they did so frequently.
Half said that if they became pregnant by another man but wanted to stay with their partner, they would lie about the baby’s real father.
Forty-two per cent would lie about contraception in order to get pregnant, no matter the wishes of their partner.
I don’t have comparable figures for men. But I do know this: if women lie to their menfolk to such an extent, they can forget all chances of health and happiness. They are creating their own relationship hell. The men won’t come off too good either—they are being derailed and confused by what they suppose to women’s quirks or “female intuition”, not realizing it’s just downright manipulation.
The really important point that most people miss is that if you lie, you feel a little sick inside. You know it’s wrong. If you lie a lot, you feel very sick and may make yourself physically ill. So beware.
I don’t buy the usual white lies stuff. Mostly, what respondents to the survey claim was “protecting a person’s feelings” was actually covering up their own bad actions; having done things they thought hubby would get upset about.
In other words, that’s shifting blame to the husband and saying his upsets were the cause of the lying.
That’s totally false. How do I know this?
Because when I take couples and make them start telling the truth, it is incredibly healing, because the hurts go down dramatically, not up, as the liars claimed would happen. People who are frank and honest with each other do not have spats and run-ins all the time. The opposite, in fact; love blossoms and flourishes.
Now an interesting new study, again conducted by a woman, puts telling the truth on a par with fresh fruits and veggies and regular exercise: it’s a health issue, she says! Hooray!
Anita Kelly, a professor of psychology at Notre Dame, presented her research Saturday at the American Psychological Association’s annual meeting in Orlando, Fla. Aug 11th, 2012. She found that there were tangible mental and physical health benefits among those who significantly reduced their everyday lies.
In Dr Kelly’s study, half of 110 participants were told to stop telling major and minor (“white”) lies for 10 weeks, while the other half (the “control” group) was given no special instructions about lying. The participants ranged from ages 18 to 71 and hailed from both genders, several ethnicities and all income levels. All came to a laboratory each week to complete health and relationship questionnaires and to take a polygraph test assessing the number of major and minor lies they had told that week.
When those in the no-lie group told three fewer white lies than in other weeks, they complained less of headaches, sore throats, tenseness, anxiety and other problems than those in the control group.
According to Kelly, the link between lies and poor health is clear. You could say three or more fewer lies a week was as good as eating platefuls of fresh food and antioxidants! You see, lies are really internally stressful.
In addition to experiencing three or four fewer mental health and physical issues in a given week that coincided with less lying — compared to one or two fewer among control group members who also happened to lie less — participants reported that their close personal relationships had improved and their social interactions had gone more smoothly.
So what emerges is, the “white lies” thing is really just a cowardly excuse. Tell the truth and take the consequences. But be nice about it. It’s your fault if you have done something you feel uncomfortable to talk about it—not your partner’s!
How can you tell less lies?
Easy: just simply tell the truth about your daily accomplishments rather than exaggerate; respond to a troubling question with another question to distract the person from your problem area; and stop making false excuses for running late or failing to finish tasks.
Those are the strategies the study participants came up with.
[SOURCE: Aug. 4, 2012, presentation, American Psychological Association annual meeting, Orlando, Fla.]