Who has never lied? Who does not lie? Who has never told a “white” lie? It may seem as if we are getting away with telling lies rather than telling the truth so we keep on telling lies. But do we really get away with telling lies?
The truth is A and you tell B. You have told a lie. At that point there is a conflict in you whether you are conscious of it or not. Well, you have started by telling a lie, now you have to cook a story to keep the lie in place so that the truth remains hidden. More lies. More self-conflict. What you say does not correspond to what is. It does not end there. You move on to take decisions based on what you say which is a lie. You are not just telling lies now, you are acting a lie. It seems you are getting away with it so you keep telling and acting lies. You live your life this way for weeks, months, and years. At this point you have told many lies, made many decisions based on lies, and acted so much lies. You are now a stranger to yourself. Much of your life is a lie. There is a huge gap between who you are and who you think you are. It is in that gap that self-conflict arises.
Self-conflict produces fear, fear of what may happen. You fear what may happen if your lies are discovered. You start avoiding people and things.
Who you are knows what you should be doing but who you think you are avoids doing that. This state has some psychological implications. Little by little, through telling and living lies, you have created your hell. You may come to the point where you do not even know yourself anymore. What should you be doing at this point? Confronting what you fear – the truth. But what do you do instead? You keep avoiding it. Avoiding the truth got you into this situation where you are finding it difficult to live with yourself yet you still think the situation will be remedied by continuing to avoid the truth.
What do you think happens in psychological therapy? In essence the therapist tries to get you to confront the truth. He tries to get you to face what it is that you are avoiding that you know you should not be avoiding. What is happening then is that both you and the therapist are partaking in the process of attempting to get you to act out your deepest truth. This improves people’s lives. It improves people’s lives radically. If you expose people to the things they are afraid of or avoiding, they get better. This has to be done carefully and cautiously with their own participation. Clinicians have established this. If the two people who are engaged in a clinical process are both telling each other the truth, the clinical experience becomes redemptive because in the design suffering is addressed.
Let us say you have some problems and you come to talk to me about them. Just by coming to talk about them, you have admitted that the problems exist. That is a good place to start. Second, if you tell me about the problems then we know what they are and if we know what they are we may start to layout some solutions and then you can go act out the solutions to see if they work. But if you do not admit the problems are there and you will not tell me what they are, we may have a conversation that may be comfortable moment to moment but ultimately not helpful. We may end up deluding ourselves in the conversation.
Three things need to happen for therapy to be able to help. First, you acknowledge there is a problem. Second, you really desire a solution to the problem. Third, you are willing to tell the truth about it.
Sigmund Freud taught that repression is at the heart of much mental suffering. The difference between repression and deception is not much. Alfred Adler taught that people got into problems because they started to act out a lie. Carl Jung believed that you could bypass psychotherapy entirely by merely making a proper moral effort in your own life. Carl Rogers believed that it was honest communication mediated through dialogue that had redemptive consequences. If you carefully consider what the psychologists have said, you find that they are variations of what Jesus Christ said two millennia ago, “The truth will set you free.”
You have created your own hell through lies without knowing it. And now you do not know what to do.
What do you do when you do not know what to do?
Tell the truth.
Or at least, don’t lie.