What a paradox – we often lie but we value honesty in others. During a week, we tell many lies. Around 11 untruths per week are told by Americans! We tell lies to make a story more interesting, or we may want to avoid conflicts and hurt feelings.
Anita Kelly studied the relationship between health and the number of lies a person told. She found that it is possible to reduce the everyday lies and that this may be linked to improved health. Half the participants were told to stop telling major and minor lies for ten weeks. After around five weeks the participants that were asked to tell less lies began to describe themselves as more hones and they felt less tense or melancholic, and had fewer physical complaints such as headaches.
But how do you prevent yourself from telling lies? The participants in the group that was told not to lie found it difficult to stop fibbing. You have consciously to think of what you are saying. But also be creative and use new ways of expressing yourself.
What does not lying mean?
- Do you avoid sharing some truths?
- Do you leave out certain facts?
- Do you try to be creative with the truth?
I read this example and thought there must be a more creative way.
Instead of saying to a friend or colleague “You look terrible in this shirt”, you could say, “I loved how that other shirt looked on you.” Or instead of saying “That idea was terrible” you could say, “I liked the idea you had yesterday”.
Yet if you think about it, you might find something positive about the way a person looks while wearing the shirt. This may challenge yourself but you will end up saying something more fruitful. To be honest we do not really want to be told that the shirt we wore yesterday looked better. We want to know what is good with the shirt we are wearing today. Maybe the colours makes the skin looks radiant. Maybe the fabric. . .
The same is true with idea and suggestions. Instead of lying and saying that the idea is good or avoid lying and saying that the idea someone had yesterday was better, it is more fruitful for yourself to challenge your thinking and search for positive as well as interesting aspects with an idea. This may also lead to an improving of the idea and in the end; the “not so good” idea may become better that yesterday’s suggestion.
Spotting typical signs and signals that a person is lying is a skill that requires examining a person’s body language. For some great tips, watch the videos below.
Photo: “Abstract Smoke” by Worakit Sirijinda