In a previous post, which can be found here, we asked the question: Is it ever okay to lie? Honestly (irony), there do seem to be some situations where telling a lie feels justified--like not wanting to hurt your spouse's feelings if they ask if wearing those jeans makes them look fat. (Oh, those dreaded conversations.)

The goal here isn't to belittle or judge those who lie--most of us have at one point or another in our lives. Rather, learning why we do the things we do can not only help us change, but may give us more empathy for our fellow human beings.

Continuing the discussion as to whether or not telling a lie can ever be justified, we discuss a few of the reasons why humans are compelled to tell a lie--from the whitest lies to the potentially most sinister:

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People may lie in order to feel better about themselves. Although this one may apply more to those who are pathological liars, sometimes humans are compelled to lie to make up for a lack of self-confidence. Like with the example of Tom Ripley in The Talented Mr. Ripley. He felt inherently inferior to the upper class, and thus felt compelled to lie his way to having a sense of value. If you've seen the movie, it clearly backfired on him. But, people do it every day.

Some may tell a lie if they worry about what people may think of them. Similar to the previous one, this is also a scenario where someone may think being honest will alienate or at least disappoint someone in their life that matters to them. For example, a kid lying about where's he's been after curfew.

If someone thinks telling a little lie will make them seem more interesting to others, they just might. This one breaks my heart a little. Humans want to feel seen and that they are lovable. If they don't know their intrinsic value, they may resort of embellishing or telling a "big fish" story to seem more worthy of attention.

Lies may be told to arouse positive (or negative) feelings in others. One clearly can more malignant than the other--although telling sweet lies to manipulate can be just as, if not worse, than telling a lie designed to hurt. One just has more of a delayed reaction.

For some people, lying has simply become a habit. Maybe they started in childhood and no one ever called them out on it. However it came to be, people who get caught in the habit of lying may come to embrace it as a way of life. Some people even lose track that they're lying completely. At this point, learning to be more honest take true intention--but there is help.

As tempting as it may be, there is almost ALWAYS a better reason not to lie. Barring truly bizarre circumstances, there is a better solution involving an honest approach to a situation. Yes, it take a bit more effort and perhaps practice. The pay off is huge. When you don't lie, you'll never have to worry about what you've said where and when. Integrity and honesty will bring you a peace of mind like you've never known.

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