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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tell the Truth

I hate to lie.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I do lie. We all do. But that doesn't mean I like it.

A lie can be an innocuous thing, like telling someone you're "fine" when you’re really feeling terrible. (Yes, that's a lie. Anything that's willfully untrue is a lie.)

There are "white lies," like telling someone their new clothes look great when they don't. These are told to make people feel better. (In east Asia, it seems, harmony is more important than truth, so the "white lie" is a high art.)

And then there's the "noble lie," told for the benefit of a person or society. A Buddhist example would be telling your children there are things to play with outside, just to get them out of a burning house.

But I'm not OK with any of these. I've been accused of being "prophetic" (not as nice as it sounds) for telling uncomfortable truths. I just always find that truth, no matter how hard it is to tell, really does set people free.

The next time you’re tempted to tell an easy lie, ask yourself "Why?" Are you doing it because it’s easy? To make someone feel better? Or to get out of doing something?

Then ask yourself: Would the truth work just as well? Often it will, and you'll feel better for telling it.

So get a grip on the truth, and avoid the lie, whether big or little, whenever you can.

You'll be happier.

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