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Can We Ever Get Away by Telling Lies?

The truth lies within you. If you are true in what you do, you will meet with the truth. If you are not, you will meet only with things that are fake and imitation.

Ajahn Fuang Jotiko

It is said that in order to live in this real world, we cannot run away from telling lies. When you go to the market and try to bargain with the seller, he may said, “I am already selling this item for very cheap- you know, I only make RM1 profit.” We all know he makes much more than that- how can one survive on RM1 profit per item?

And so telling such seemingly harmless little lies has become an accepted norm in society. But is there any cause and effect that comes with telling untruth? I’ve heard many people telling me that we just cannot run away from lying in this real world- if you always tell the truth, it will be only a matter of time when someone cheats you.

Let me share with you my personal experience that shaped my belief about why we should always remain as truthful as we can:

Years ago, I would say that I am an extremely good liar. Very good, in fact that I can look someone straight in the eye and tell an outright lie without even battling an eyelid. I was in the service industry and initially I thought that I had to tell some white lies to cover up instead of admitting the company’s mistake. So both in my personal and working life, I must said that I had told a number of untruth. But in my personal life, it was basically to cover up some vulnerability that I did not want others, even those close to me to see.

And then, things begin to happen in my life….

I started meeting a few people who I trust with all my heart but ended up betraying my trust. At first, I took offense, felt hurt, hated and blamed those people. I wondered why bad things seemed to happen to good people- after all, overall I consider myself to be quite a kind and helpful person.

I only know how to look at flaws of others and blame them- but I never look within myself.
Till one day, this phrase dawned on to me: ‘if you want truth in your life, you have to be the giver of truth.’

That day, I made a vow to myself to learn to tell the truthful. Instrinctively I felt that it would take a few years before I could see any results. That day happened about 8 years ago. But through the years, the changes I’ve seen have been just as I felt it would- that eventually, I began attracting truthful people into my life. Yes, of course there are people who were untrue or insincere, but somehow, they would always end up doing something that made me find out.

Instead of telling outright or white lies to save my skin, I’ve learned to admit my mistake and say sorry. Even people that I don’t see eye-to-eye at work- if I am in the wrong, I will still apologise. Over the years, it got very easy with practice- in fact, I would rather admit that I’m wrong than to say something to cover up for myself.  When we lie, we always have to remember- and life gets complicated as we need to have one lie to cover up for another lie. And when we lie and the other person finds out, we lost the trust of the person- sometimes forever.

Perhaps it is just the way my life tends to work- I tend to see the effects of my wrongdoing coming back to bite me very fast. But I am grateful for that for it made me want to change. Today, if I ever be a little untruthful, I will feel a persistent nagging at my conscience that will take quite sometime to go off.

It is opposed to people that I’m sure you have meet- wicked or nasty people who harmed others but never seemed to get what they deserved. These are probably the kind of people who make you wonder whether there is a God or justice being served. And why bad people get away doing bad things while the good had to suffer.

However dear friend, let me tell you, sometimes, you do not see the effect of a bad deed immediately. It does not mean that bad people get away doing bad things. When the effect comes, it comes in huge waves- and it can be scary that even make you feel sorry for your worst enemy. I’ve seen a few cases with my own eyes.

For instance, in the case of the seller above who told a harmless little white lie about earning very little to avoid giving in to your bargaining- or the case of the employee who always took sick leave when she is not sick. The seller can make that sale from you but may end up losing it in other areas of his life- for instance, being cheated at a business deal. Or the employee who forged her sick leave may end up getting a more serious illness that requires long term treatment. A person who ‘cheat’ working time by taking long lunch breaks, using company phone to make lots of personal calls, putting in bad quality of work- ended up having her house broken into and things stolen or her handbag snatched.

A lot of people cannot make this type of connection- but give this a careful thought- aren’t both are ‘stealing’ but in a different form? She stole from the company and someone came to steal from her back.–> folks, this may not be applicable to anyone as the universe works in complex ways. It is just one of the causes- I hope I did not offend anyone.

Furthermore, being truthful gives you more inner peace and makes you sleep better at night. In life, I’ve learned that in order to become better or happier, you constantly have to venture into the unknown and let go of things you are accustomed to. It’s like letting go of a branch and reaching into another higher branch- uncertain what is up there. And when you reach up there, you will really wonder to yourself why you stayed down there for so long.

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  • LSC December 15, 2009, 11:34 am

    IMHO, sometimes people lie to protect their privacy, should we do that?
    there is controversy: if telling the truth it may hurt others.

    also,some people using ‘truth’ as excuse by hurting others verbally.

    The world is complicated until I can’t even differentiate which is truth or not.

    • Yin Teing December 16, 2009, 5:17 pm

      For me, I usually politely tell someone that my privacy is important to me- and so far, people respect that. I do think that if a person technically told the truth to stir up trouble, it’s unkind thing to do to others. I’ve seen people like this and years down the line, they ended up lonely. I guess a good guide is our conscience- we would normally know instantly if we’ve done/said something wrong. Thanks, I do appreciate your thought provoking comment.

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