Sometimes people lie.
Now I’m sure that’s not a new observation, but this is not one made in reference to the big problematic, convoluted, always-going-to-come-out lies that are so often brandished in lurid colours as the most generic plot of a PG rated movie. Typically designed to impart the wisdom of honesty.
Because honesty is wise.
But the thing is, I’m not even sure that people are always aware of when they lie. It occurs to me that sometimes one is not conscious of the fact that they just withheld the truth, a modicum of it though it may be. I know there are days when I've looked back on a conversation only to be halted by the startling realisation that I've been less than honest with whomever I was talking with.
The thing I've come to realise? It’s not generally deliberate.
More of a reflex.
It may not be something that has crossed your mind for more than a moment in passing, but we lie all the time. We lie in greeting, when saying hello in the mornings, in the afternoons, after school and after work.
So often we have this conversation:
How are you?
I’m good, how are you?
I’m fantastic, thanks for asking!
…walking away the smile turns into a grimace.
Or something of a similar sort. We almost automatically respond with a positive response, so as to not upset the person we’re talking with. We could be tired, sick, hungry, thirsty or considering pitching ourselves off of floor number thirteen and unless it’s a family member or one of our very closest friends, we feel the need to withhold the truth of how we are feeling. How our days have been.
You okay? You’re looking a little pale.
Oh yeah, I’m fine, I’m fine. Just tired. Nothing to worry about!
Perhaps this is just me, but it’s me observing and this is a conclusion I have come to.
Humans lie every day. Big and small and grand and tall.
Ouch that sunburn looks like it hurts!
Nah, it’s just a little sting.
…turn away to hide a wince.
That’s a fact. One we have always known, and one that we probably always shall.
Hey, you know what I said earlier, I didn't mean it in that way. It’s just that, sometimes, you can be a bit… You know I’d never mean it in a mean way. You know that right?
Yeah, of course! It’s fine.
…duck head and push back tears.
It’s the little lies, the white ones we say while passing by, which shape some of our darkest days. When, honestly, we could really do with someone to talk to. Someone upon which to vent our frustrations or gain a warm hug. But most of the time, we don’t let them see the hurt.
Just grit your teeth, smile and they’ll go away. They don’t want to know, they’re just being polite.
They don’t have to know you’re not okay.
These mutters of assurances and jovial façades chip away, slowly eroding a little bit more of that thing that’s falling apart inside. Crumbling like a cliff’s edge into a dark, swallowing abyss.
The truth is that among the majority of human beings, when honesty is needed most, we lie. Reflexively, almost fundamentally. We bury it inside, grit out teeth, and struggle on with life.
And it hurts.