Living honestly in a dishonest world

We’ve all heard the term “keep your friends close and your enemies closer”.

How many people actually do this? This creates three very distinct dilemmas for me.

Firstly, if everyone of your friends thought like that, who’s to say that YOU are even a friend of that person? This then becomes confusing as to who’s who within a friendship circle.

Secondly, you need to continually lie to that person (or those people) to maintain the disguise of friendship, yet this has become, for most of society, an expected and accepted form of “normalised” behaviour.

Thirdly, once found out that you lied (and you will be found out) this absolutely kills trust!

Unfortunately this seemingly innocent act of lieing has become so widely used by society that lieing is now accepted by most as normalised behaviour. If a lie saves someone from embarrassment or being found wrong, hurting someone’s feelings or even disliking something or someone, we lie.

We see it every day in the media from news readers for ratings, right through to politicians for votes. Lieing has become such a part of human interaction now that we live in a fake world where only the liars succeed (the fake it until you make it types) and the people who question everything, only believing in the truth, get shunned, usually by the people who’s feelings always get hurt by the truth.

Now, opinions aside, from a mental health standpoint. Every time we lie we think no one is getting hurt right? WRONG! Every time we lie we are hurting ourselves by suppressing in our brains the knowledge that we just did a despicable act. And despite what you may think, your brain won’t forget this, so two things will happen here.

You will slowly, over time turn into the liar you aspire to be (and yes, your friends and colleagues will figure you out to be a liar, it’s not that hard, and you will no longer know if you are the friend or the enemy), or you will have a continuous struggle with your brain over the fact that you are a liar and you may very well succumb to a mental illness.

But don’t despair, there are things we can do to keep our mental health in check and on balance! The first being (and this is a no brainer). Be truthful, firstly to yourself and then to others around you.

If people get hurt by the truth then that is a perfectly normal emotion that the affected person needs to learn to deal with.

As the person sending that truth, maybe it would also help the affected person to understand the truth if it was not delivered harshly, and if the time was taken to explain it to them along with the reassurance that you aren’t picking on the person or that you don’t hate them, you would just rather not lie to them.

You would be surprised at how well people begin to respond positively when you are honest and remove an abrupt scalding tone of “you’re wrong” and replace it with “ I’m not sure that is correct, and here are the reasons why”. Most people don’t care if they’re wrong, as long as they are shown why and even learn the truth about it, this honesty will also help to build trust.

Hate, hurt, pain, anguish, despair, heartache, these are all perfectly normal emotions to be felt and shouldn’t be covered up by lies to save anyone’s feelings.

We need to be able to feel these emotions from time to time to grow to be fully functional able minded adults who are able to manage, and conquer our emotional state.

Honesty may not be the best policy in business and politics, but if we hope to live a life of good mental health we need to stop lying to ourselves.