My siblings and I lied a lot growing up; we’d forgo the truth whenever we got the chance. When our parents asked us if we had brushed our teeth, we’d respond with “we already did” out of laziness, despite the remnants of our day’s meals stuck between our teeth suggesting otherwise. When we pushed or hit someone on purpose, we’d explain our actions as an “accident,” saying that we slipped and fell. We’d constantly say “I’m not hungry” or “I’m not tired” so that we could squeeze in a couple more hours of TV time. And our personal favourite: “I didn’t break it.” We’d use this one so often that over time, we’d believe—with conviction—that we really didn’t break that vase/mug/plate/etc.
My parents rarely, if ever, told us any lies as children. We didn’t hear about Santa Claus and his creepy psychic abilities that allowed him to trespass and leave eerily accurate gifts, and whenever we removed a tooth, our parents rewarded us with a new book and a fun meal of our choosing; there was no tooth fairy involved. They saw these “people” as extrinsic motivators, a means to get kids to be on their best behaviour through bribery (money, gifts, etc.)
Though our parents were nothing but truthful and straightforward, we found ourselves lying to them and to others very often. As children, we didn’t understand the gravity of the consequences behind lies; we couldn’t even tell the difference between white lies and full-blown lies. As we grew, we started to differentiate between the two, and we tried to reduce how often we lied.
Over the years, I’ve learnt that lies can do more harm than good, regardless of the reasoning behind them. They change the way people perceive you. More often than not, the truth eventually comes out, and these lies stand as a constant reminder that you misspoke and presented yourself in a dishonest manner. With each lie, you’re giving people another reason to distrust you.
Humans lie. A lot. So much so that lies have become second nature to some of us, a knee-jerk reaction to difficult situations and a means to boost our egos with a little embellishing. For some, lies come out of our mouths just as easily as air enters them. Though we all feel the desire to lie, what differentiates us is how we react to that desire, and whether or not we cave in.
Hoda is a 21-year-old student currently in her second year at Algonquin College for Professional Writing. With an unintentional penchant for awkward situations, she can be found roaming the streets of Ottawa, falling over her own feet, facing everyone when riding an elevator and responding inappropriately to compliments. She spends most of her time with her family, friends, MacBook Pro and books. She is an introvert at heart, and sarcasm is her mother tongue.
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