Lessons from Pinocchio – Why You Should Value Truthfulness
We all know what happened to Pinocchio when he chose to tell lies instead of being honest. However, while we certainly won’t see our noses grow bigger when we lie, the effects can be just as devastating. For one, you hurt the person you’re telling a tall tale to. At the same time, you also hurt yourself when you throw honesty out of the window.
Of course, we are not a perfect species. We can all admit to instances when we have withheld the truth. However, realizing what we’ve done and the consequences of our actions will make us remember and appreciate the value of honesty. Let’s delve deep into the negative effects of lying and how it impacts others and to yourself:
Why People Lie
There are situations when lying might not be as bad as you think. For example, if someone hands you a birthday gift that you don’t exactly like but you want to spare the giver’s feelings. Blurting out “I don’t like your gift” will make you sound ungrateful. In this case, you don’t necessarily have to lie but you can practice diplomacy so you don’t hurt the giver’s feelings. You can politely say, “I appreciate the gesture, but I am not sure the gift suits me.” Saying that may still sting, but at least you soften the blow and you can discuss options on what to do with the gift, whether to return it or give it to someone else.
In other situations, lying is outright not advisable. This is especially true when you lie to influence others to make a decision that benefits you, avoid a negative outcome, or to impress others. For example, telling your parents about your plans with your study group when in truth you will be hanging out with your friends. Another lie is when you take credit for something you didn’t do so you look good in the eyes of the teacher.
These lies may seem unimportant but they could have a huge impact if you look at the bigger picture. For example, your mom could have given up a work shift so she can watch your little brother since you’re not around because of the alleged study group. And your mom may have been up for a promotion where she is now in danger of not getting because she didn’t fulfill her work shift commitments when she was needed the most.
The lie you told may even get more severe when you are tempted to tell another lie to cover your initial lie. Say you got a failing mark so you have to lie to your mom about not having enough time for the study group when there was no study group to begin with.
How Lying Affects Relationships
Say your mom found out the study group is non-existent and you’ve just been hanging out with your friends the whole time. The next time you ask to go somewhere, even when it’s honestly a study group, your mom will likely be reluctant to say yes. This is what happens when one lies; the trust in the relationship diminishes and one really has to make an effort to make the other person regain the trust.
When you tell a lie, you also tend to build a wall between you and the person you told the lie to because you fear being found out. This results into feeling isolated and you miss out on opportunities to bond with the person.
Just Don’t Do It!
Fortunately, it’s possible to erase lying from your life but it does require effort and dedication. Next time you find yourself tempted to bend the truth, think about how the other person might feel. How would you feel if you were the one lied to in the same situation? Putting it in this perspective would definitely help you assess the situation better and you probably can say goodbye to truth-bending for good.
Resorting to falsehood is something we’ve all done one way or another. The important thing to remember is to understand its impact to yourself and others.