Yesterday someone told me a lie. It was a small and foolish one, badly executed, the kind of lie I could have easily poked holes in if I had been so inclined. It was also unnecessary, a lie meant to cover up something so small that it was hardly worth lying about.
Stuff like this used to make me furious. But my reaction was different this time. I used to think that being lied to made me a fool, that the liar had some power over me. I used to think that lying, when I lied, gave me the power to control what truths were known. But I finally understand the power of the truth and the weakness in the lie.
The person who lied to me wanted to not make me mad. But it’s such a position of weakness to walk through life that way. We think we’re controlling the situation when we lie – getting what we want, not having to put up with people’s anger – but lying corrodes a little something inside us every time. It diminishes us. It fractures the wholeness of us. When we deny something we’re doing, we tell ourselves there’s something wrong in it. Putting things behind a curtain, away from others, gives us a heavier and heavier burden of shame. Our trick meant to make life smoother winds up making it infinitely worse.
I was filled with compassion for this person who lied to me, for how heavy it must feel to lug a lifetime of lies around. I have been that way too, sometimes, molding a version of myself for others instead of looking inside and being brave enough to be me.
I have lied in my day. I have also told the truth. The truth feels infinitely cleaner. Not better, always, and certainly not always easy. But lighter. I’ve realized that I can only have love and appreciation that is real if I share the truth of me. Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes the cost of telling the truth feels vast. It courts rejection and loss. But what I gain – what I finally have learned – is that in revealing our truths we own all of ourselves. And there is such power in wholeness.