Are we compromising personal truth when we choose to not respond to things around us? Sometimes, it is better to let some things remain unsaid… or is it?

Within a marriage, or indeed, a long standing friendship or relationship, should there be secrets? Can we really tell someone everything? Who are we protecting and is it really a lie if one is simply not disclosing everything about a situation, experience, event or thought?

Would being too honest ruin our relationships? Should we tell people how stupid we think they are at times because it is our truth? Can we say how bored we are with our partners and expect them to not be hurt or angered by such honesty? When someone tells you to be ‘perfectly honest’ with them, do you think they really mean it? Could one ever be completely and utterly honest or does one need the white or grey shaded lies in order to maintain relationships?

Walter Scott wrote “O what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive” and he was right. There is a lot to keep track of once a lie is told and usually, more lies are needed to cover the original lie. When we consider the intent behind the lie, we discern the purpose of the lie. If there was no ill intent, then telling the lie should be fine, should it not? Are we being too moralistic and puritanical to say it is not? Where then, in our relationships, does a lie stop and a truth unfold? Mark Twain said “if you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”

Is telling people what we think they want to hear lying? Is it a form of manipulation, control, appeasement or avoidance? Do we know when we are being lied to and why the other person may be doing this to us? Can we really be offended if we, ourselves, lie too?

The expression ‘the truth hurts’ may carry with it some justification for perpetuating a lie; to not hurt someone, to protect them from the truth and to save them the grief and heartache that no doubt we expect would ensue otherwise. We may not be ready to have someone tell us the whole truth either. To avoid being hurt, we actually may prefer not to hear it at all. Is it right to perpetuate a lie in the name of thinking you are doing the right thing? Is that a good enough reason to not be honest with someone?

And, what of ‘living a lie’? Who does this help? Is it right for someone who does not want to do or be something to continue doing so whilst pretending it is ok? Are they not as important as the other being? What damage do we do to ourselves if we live the lie and pretend rather than communicate our honesty and act upon it?

Is there then, a time to lie or can we always handle the truth? Can we classify lies from good to worst? Moral dilemmas are woven into life. How we deal with them determines our own moral code where, whatever standards we hold will dictate our responses to the situation. It is our responses that determine the type of individual we are.

What of the lies we tell ourselves? Are they deemed acceptable because they only affect us? What harm can a lie do, really, right? “To thine own self be true” … or not? Lying to the self places oneself in a state of denial and therefore, removes the self from reality. To continue believing in something that simply has no foundation in truth is delusional and harmful to leave undealt with. Part of experiencing one’s life is experiencing truth as it forms the basis of one’s actions and belief patterns and relationships.

Is a lie always a lie or are there just degrees of truth in life?