Why is it that our human race has such a difficult time telling the truth? The politician scandals mount each day as our own leaders think the best way to get through something is to lie about it. Almost always, especially with today’s technology and media resources the ones who lie get caught one way or another. Videos on YouTube, cell phone records, internet emails and texting have found ways to expose all the little and big lies that are told. Those in government office or celebrity status are at the most risk for public humiliation, but it continues with our family members, school officials, local law enforcement and the common folk like me. I have to ask WHY?

We all learn at a young age that the truth shall set you free and it couldn’t be more true. Just ask someone you know who has lied, that one little lie leads to many more lies and before you know it, you are trapped in a sea of deceit. The only way out of that prison is to come clean and tell the truth. So why is it so hard for us as humans, to avoid such angst?

Is it our need for approval? Is it our need to present a different persona to the rest of the world, then how you see yourself? Is it a need to maintain an image? Perhaps it’s the grey area that we have such a hard time negotiating? There is little doubt that this is difficult for all of us. Do we actually say how we feel when some one asks what we think about something? Or do we find a way to soften the blow with a gentle ‘harmless’ white lie? This particular grey area of truth gives us an opportunity to either sink or swim in the sense that some of us can do it well and understand the moral lines of what needs to be said and what can be slightly fabricated. And some of us just cannot seem to get it right. But, where do we draw the line? I can speak from my own experience; the grey area was a tough lesson! There was nothing but black and white. I was in high school when I lied all the time (mostly to get out of trouble) but by the time I got to college I realized that lying was just ‘wrong’. I struggled to find the “grey.” Only with age and wisdom I found that balance where sympathetic diplomacy can be inserted into my dialogue with others.

My own moral compass is one I am seeking to pass onto my children through example. We as a family are on an incredible learning curve as my girls try very hard to bite their tongue or spill it out. The bottom line in our family is trust. Trust is built on keeping your word (another entire article can be written on that one) and telling the truth. There are no easy ways to teach moral reasoning…all we can do is lead through example and help them to make good choices in their lives so that the grey areas are easy for them to negotiate. Children learn what they see and experience, and not necessarily what we tell them.

The truth about telling the truth, as I see it is that it builds character no matter how old you are. It strengthens an internal sense of self. It increases ones ability to stand up, and stand out. It reinforces integrity and gives one a solid ability to endure life’s never ending curve balls.

And on the contrary, lying kills self respect, damages family, professional and personal relationships. It also turns you into a person you can no longer identify in the mirror. Lying can make you untrusting of others, it can make your volatile in expressing yourself verbally, and finally, it can cause depression and anxiety.

It is very hard to tell truth sometimes. I just had this discussion with my own two girls this morning over breakfast after a family member lied to me about something trivial and ridiculous. That little lie I was told turned into a mountain when I caught the lie… It prompted me to have an open honest discussion with my children and ask myself WHY was telling the lie an alternative to a truthful answer?

Accountability is what we call holding someone responsible for their actions and words. However, I have learned recently through this family matter, that even though I caught the lie and held that person accountable, the lie remains in the middle of our relationship. I may have caused the truth to be exposed but for some reason, the fact that I didn’t believe the lie became the bigger issue. How does that happen?

At last, there are more questions then answers but a few more before I let you decide what is important. Are the lies really worth the internal and subsequently, the external trauma? Why not avoid the possibility of damage from the inside out and just tell the truth?

Author's Bio: 

Sarah was born in Boston, MA, raised in New York City and graduated from the University of Connecticut with two degrees. She obtained her degrees in Communications and Psychology. Through her own personal tragedies and struggles Sarah married young and had two beautiful girls. Even though her marriage failed, her devotion to her graduate education and her girls was unsurpassed. With her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in analyzing foreign markets, and a new career opportunity in MD, she moved to MD where she met and fell in love with Enrique. Today, Sarah lives in Maryland with her husband and their children, researching, writing and publishing articles and books