Have you seen this quote?
“The worst part about being lied to is knowing that you were not worth the truth.”
I saw that in a recent Facebook post by a friend who found out her husband lied to her about his internet use and the kinds of sites he was visiting (I’ll let you guess; it rhymes with corn).
But I actually disagree with the quote.
The quote basically says that lies hurt because it makes you feel like you’re unworthy of the truth. But I think the quote misappropriates the injury. Someone can only injury our sense of worth if we believe that our worth can be compromised by another person.
Aren’t we already worthy?
What’s really being injured is the integrity of the relationship.
Being lied to hurts because it’s a breach of trust. The liar leads a person to believe one thing while actually doing something different.
But lies have nothing to do with the worth of the person being lied to. Lies are really about the sense of self worth of the liar.
Think about it.
Lies HIDE the truth.
And a person lies because they are ashamed of what’s true.
So ashamed — and scared — that they feel they have to make something up in order to avoid the perceived consequences of telling the truth.
Lies are based in fear.
Fear that their truth won’t be accepted.
Fear that there will be a backlash for telling the truth.
Fear that they will be punished for being honest.
Lies are a way of coping with shame.
But they only further deepen the poisoning effects shame and the effects of withholding the truth.
It takes tremendous energy to uphold a lie because the liar has to remember all the constructed details of their lie and carry it with them throughout the relationship.
And the energy spent protecting the lie is energy that could be spent nurturing the relationship or nurturing the self.
This is why lies feel so depleting and awful to live with. They drain the vitality out of relationships and they shred the fabric of true intimacy.
So the worst part about being lied to is that the liar didn’t think highly of himself enough to show up authentically.
He didn’t love himself enough to show up in his truth.
Integrity takes guts.
It takes courage to face the fear and move through it anyway.
It takes faith, courage, and hope to be able to see the possible consequences of telling the truth, but share your truth any way.
In standing in our truth we open ourselves up criticism, but we also open ourselves up to the possibility of authentic relationships.
We open ourselves up to the possibility of change. Authentic relationships and deep intimacy only come from being in our truth.
This is how lies poison relationships.
They erode trust and create a relationship based on fear, rather than a relationship based in love and trust.
The antidote to the poisonous effects of lies is to create a safe space for the truth, a safe space for authenticity in all your relationships.
Creating a safe space for true intimacy in your relationship
1. When you’re lied to, stop and see it for what it is.
Lies come from people who are so desperate for approval that they would compromise the integrity of the relationship to deny the truth.
Lies are a tactic born from fear and shame.
2. Feel your feelings; it’s ok to be angry.
It’s never healthy to meet denial with more denial.
If you’re angry and hurt, it’s ok to feel angry and hurt. It’s ok to feel your feelings. If you feel betrayed, feel betrayed.
Those are normal emotional responses and to deny them in your self would also be an act of denying truth.
Acknowledge what feelings may surface.
3. But it is important to respond peacefully, rather than to react.
It’s easy to react to a lie uncovered with drama and fury and punish the other person with your anger.
But creating drama is a fear tactic, too.
Punishing the other person is really an act of trying to control and intimidate them. It will only breed more fear.
4. Courageously stand in your own integrity.
Don’t play games back with them.
Honor your own feelings and truth by showing up authentically.
The antidote to lies is truth.
Have an honest discussion about how the breach of trust hurt you.
Have an honest discussion about what their trust means to you and your relationship.
And bring to light the kind of relationship that you want.
Word of warning: expressing your truth might not change the relationship.
The other person may continue to lie. But what’s important is that you did not fuel the fire, you did not continue the drama of distrust.
You did not perpetuate the Soap Opera! (You notice how Soap Operas are just one betrayal after another? It makes for entertaining TV, but translates into unhealthy, miserable real life relationships).
You stood in your wholeness and integrity.
Meeting lies with truth opens the door for having more authentic relationships.
But it begins with honoring our own truth.
Step by step.
Little by little.
Like flower petals in the spring opening to the warmth of the sun.
We reveal our true beauty.
And, in turn, open the possibility to be appreciated and loved for who we truly are.