I was once a habitual and pathological four-type liar. Why should you believe me? You shouldn't. The mere suggestion of a lying past is enough to conjure up a pondering such as, "I wonder if they have ever lied to me?" And they would have every right in the world to question me.
The mere suggestion of a lying past is enough to build up distrust and harm inside any and every relationship. If people matter to you, chances are you matter to them, and they have a right to know about your lying past. Confess any lies now, no matter how hard it is, and begin to work towards a life of telling and living the truth.
How to Start Living a Life of Honesty
A lie is always harder than the truth. I have provided a list of steps to follow to start a new life of honesty for yourself and everyone around you. Telling the truth is the best thing that you can do.
1. Ask people to join you.
Find your support group among friends and family. This is quite possibly the hardest step. However, finding people to join you on your journey is always important because you can't do it alone. I want to personally remind you that you are not alone in this journey.
2. Find an accountability buddy.
Allow your personal accountability partner to ask probing questions so as to keep you honest. There are going to be times when your accountability partner makes you very upset, but remember that it is their job to keep you accountable and possibly to keep themselves accountable as well.
You might also want to remember that it is your job to be completely honest and open with your accountability partner. Honesty is hard, but it is always so much easier than lying. Honesty saves time and pain. Your accountability members should not consist of all members of your support group. This has been known to cause overwhelming feelings and may cause a possible relapse.
Find one or two people to keep you personally accountable, but remember to use your entire support group as well. Before you select these individuals, write down the reasons why you are choosing them to help you.
3. Think about what you say before you say it.
I used to hate hearing this because I would always argue with those people in my mind when they were standing right in front of me. The mouth tends to run faster than the brain and we can get into trouble if we don't slow down and think. That leads me to my next point.
4. Slow down.
Life might be moving a little too fast for you, or you might be moving too fast for your own life. Slow down and enjoy it. Do something every day for yourself. Be as selfish as you possibly can without lying. Learn more about who you are and what you want. It is very important that you figure out what you want. Don't become complacent in life.
5. Stop saying yes to everyone.
We need to stop stacking commitments. This can almost always spell trouble. I'll get into this point later.
6. Get to know the types of lies you tell, and the characteristics of those lies.
You will find below that there are 4 main types of lies.
The Four Main Types of Lies
There are four main types of lies. A four-type liar is someone who encompasses the whole spectrum of lying. They leave nothing out. I did this at times, without even knowing it.
1. White Lies
White lies start absolutely everything in the entire lying universe. In my journey towards ending lying, I learned that I used white lies to sensationalize my life out of boredom and dissatisfaction. There is no excuse for white lies or any lie at all. I often struggle to find satisfaction in life even now, and I'm always pushing myself to move forward. It's a struggle.
The main thing I learned is that white lies can actually hinder progression towards goals. I learned that telling white lies about my goals only hindered me from meeting those goals entirely. White lies about my goals also lead to a very dangerous form of procrastination. This nearly guarantees you will never meet your goals and you will build an all-talk-no-action reputation.
If you relate to white lying, ask yourself this question: Do I really want to keep lying about my goals, or do I want to do something about my goals? Why do I tell white lies anyways? They are unnecessary.
2. Overarching Lies
An overarching lie is known as a general lie; the habitual or instinctual lie of the moment, universally applied; not always having to do with lies used to sensationalize. Overarching lies tend to be a comfort, or go-to, zone. We use overarching lies the most.
3. Geographical Lying
In my experience with geographical lying, I have said yes to a lot of people without considering other life events I already previously agreed to. This takes us back to thinking before we speak. This is where geographical lying can hurt you: I ended up lying to one person in order to be at the originally planned event, or I ended up lying to someone at the originally planned event to be at a different event. What could I have done?
At times, I was the guy that went to one event, and then went to the other event for a while, and finally return to the one event. That's a lot of work because of one lie. Tell the truth even if it's hard. What preventative measures could I have taken? I could have referenced my planner when being asked about an event to see if it conflicted with something else.
People who are known to tell geographical truths instead of lies are organized in many aspects of life, especially when it comes to time management. In the end, we only have ourselves to blame if we hurt people because we didn't tell the truth in the first place.
Keep in mind that geographical lies can occur as a result of wanting to people-please everyone. Remember that you simply cannot please everyone.
4. Maintenance Lies
Maintenance lies are self-explanatory. A maintenance lie occurs when one tells a lie to cover up another lie. They will then tell another lie to cover up the previous lie, and so on. Maintenance lies tend to be the most dangerous and the most sticky of lies. Maintenance lies are universal and apply to all situations if we don't immediately address the truth following a white lie, an overarching white lie, or a geographical lie.
Maintenance lies, unfortunately, can be kept by certain people for months if not several years, and in my own experience maintenance lies can prove to be a direct source of severe anxiety, sleeplessness, and depression. Maintenance lies can steal every ounce of your physical strength as a result of the space it occupies in one's brain, and it can have negative effects on your job performance, relationships, etc.
I've had nights where, if I was lucky enough to fall asleep, I only got 2 or 3 hours and it wasn't quality sleep. I'd be awake all night staring at the ceiling wondering why I can't sleep even after taking a pill. With severe anxiety, I would have panic attacks at work because of the fear of being found out. It was nearly impossible to function well enough to satisfy work demands.
Finally, depression is not always a result of maintenance lying but it is a heavy contributor. Maintenance lying is the absolute worst kind of lie you can tell, but that is one we tend to make use of the most. Maintenance lies can cycle endlessly and continue to reach anyone in the line of fire, and they continue to gain momentum until somebody finally puts a sudden, and oftentimes ugly, stop to it. I am not trying to scare anyone, but sooner or later, a maintenance lie will expose you. Do you know what the beautiful thing is? You can put a stop to your dangerous lies.
Here's a Challenge for You
I actually want you to lie to someone you know tonight, and then tomorrow, I want you to tell them it was a lie. You're probably thinking, "Wait! Where are you going with this?" That will be revealed.
At an earlier point in my life, I was very sensitive to milk and other dairy products, but I knew that I enjoyed those things, so I increased my intake of milk and dairy products. The intake increase is what helped build up my tolerance for these products.
Making a change does not happen overnight. In this case, you will be weaning yourself off of the dangerous habit of lying. Your challenge is to tell someone a white lie tonight and then confess that white lie to them tomorrow. I want you to take note of how they feel. This part sucks.
Most likely they will be hurt, but this is so important to do so you can remember their reaction. Let that be a motivator to always tell the truth. Wait a minute. Forget about all of that 'challenge' talk. What you really should do is think about the person closest to you, and then remind yourself that if you ever lie to them, they will be truly hurt and it will not be a good thing at all. Let that be the motivator.
Tell the truth the very first time, but if you fail, confess your lie immediately and then tell the truth. Losing trust is something that no one should ever have to experience on either side.
Remember that the second lie you tell will always be a maintenance lie. It doesn't matter if you started with a white lie, an overarching lie, or a geographical lie. It is imperative that you never conform to maintenance lies. If you accidentally lie the first time, don't let it become a maintenance lie. Confess it as soon as humanly possible.
Habits will prove that we accidentally lie the first time, but habits can always be changed. End the lie right away. Don't let the lie fester and grow. It's like a weed in your garden. Weeds are easy to maintain if they are caught early, but it is best to prevent them from coming up in the first place. Prevent maintenance lies, but also prevent all lies.
Every day when I'm putting on my shoes, I have a tangible reminder to tell the truth and make the world around me a better place. You have to make a conscious decision each day: to tell the truth no matter how hard it is. Use your own shoes as a reminder.
It Takes Time to Change
The truth is that it takes time to rewire your brain to tell the truth because it takes time to drop a bad habit. Sometimes you have to live minute-by-minute, or second-by-second, but if that's what it takes to remind yourself to tell the truth, then that's what you should do. You have your reputation on the line after all. You have your legacy on the line. Do you want to be known as a liar or as someone who tells the truth? You have to decide that. You have to drop a bad habit. You have to change; I did.
Why is a lie harder than the truth? It is because it's harder to keep track of where it goes. Tell the truth the first time, and you will never have to worry about what happens next because your part is already finished. A lie will always be harder than the truth, so remind yourself every day to tell the truth.
I am no longer a habitual and pathological four-type liar. I got to this point by following the steps rigorously, and I repeated the process as many times as necessary. It is all worth it in the end. I still have lifelong friends from my support team. It takes time to change a bad habit, but that doesn't mean you should not change. Deciding to tell the truth now will make all the difference in the world.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Jeremy Daryl (author) from Iowa on August 18, 2020:
All very good things to be mentioned, Sp Greaney, I agree. Maintenance lies are so very difficult to keep track of, and in my past I've experienced anxiety, crippling anxiety, and depression. I'm thankful that I was able to come out of my struggle with lies, there is so much freedom in truth. I am still learning to say no still. Thank you for your contribution.
SP Greaney from Ireland on August 18, 2020:
I think we have all told a white lie to get out of something. But I agree that the maintaince lies would be very hard to keep track of long term.
I think learning to say no also helps, there is less chance of you agreeing to go to one thing and having forgotten you promised to go to another thing like you mention in number 3. But it can happen to anyone.
Jeremy Daryl (author) from Iowa on August 14, 2020:
Thanks so much, Abby. I know that we can all inspire the world and the people around us with what we have here. Honesty and living in the truth is so freeing. Sometimes, the truth hurts for a little bit, but it does not hurt as much as a lie. May we all strive to live honest and wonderful lives. Thanks.
Abby Slutsky from America on August 14, 2020:
This was interesting and honesty is important. I am more of a lie by omission person than an actual lie. You are right though, Honesty in the long run is easier.
Jeremy Daryl (author) from Iowa on August 14, 2020:
Thank you so much, Eric. The road to honesty is so incredibly difficult at times, but we know it is worth it in the end. I forgot to mention it in the article, but in the past I've lied to protect people's feelings but that ended up hurting them in the end. I'm far from perfect. Ha, ha! It is my genuine hope that a lot of people read this article as well. I believe that my unique experiences can help so many people. Thanks, Eric! God bless you today.
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 14, 2020:
Outstanding. My road to honesty was less structured. And I am not perfect, YET. I hope a lot of people read this.