Have you ever caught yourself lying about the smallest things? Like whether or not you remembered to go to the store the other day, or if you updated your driver’s license. If so, you might be what’s called a habitual liar.
Compulsive lying describes a condition in which a person tells falsehoods out of habit, sometimes for no reason at all. Many people feel that it’s easier to lie and give the desired response rather than the truth.
This often doesn’t seem serious because the lies are considered inconsequential, but more than the subject of the lies, what’s important is the motivation behind lying in the first place. Here are a few reasons that you might be conditioned to lie and how to undo that habit.
1. You’re afraid of being judged.
During your formative years it’s common to be ridiculed by your interests by your peers and your parents. This isn’t always done with malicious intent, but it still teaches you that when you talk about your passions, there’s always the risk of being ridiculed.
Being ingrained with this fear of judgment during this time can follow you throughout your life. Many people are afraid to admit to making mistakes because instead of valuing constructive criticism, they fear judgment.
For example, a person might lie about getting a bad grade on a test because there’s the risk of being called stupid. When they do this, though, they miss out on receiving advice on how to improve.
In order to combat this, you need to surround yourself with people who will not judge you for being honest. You should only be around people that will uplift you when you fail rather than tear you down. It’s also important to realize that the opinions of others have little importance in comparison to the opinion you have of yourself.
2. You want to avoid having difficult conversations.
Oftentimes the truth can be unpleasant. It’s natural to want to avoid difficult conversations, especially if you don’t yet know exactly how to articulate it.
People with depression often feel pressured to lie about their emotional well-being because it’s difficult to articulate negative feelings. If you’re unable to effectively describe why you’re feeling depressed, you might feel compelled to dismiss the feeling altogether.
A solution to this is to speak to a therapist who will help you to gain a greater understanding of your own thoughts and feelings. They can also help you to feel more comfortable with conversing about difficult topics.
3. You want to comply with other people’s expectations.
A prevalent motivation for lying is that we don’t want to meet the expectations that have been placed on us.
For example, your university years are expected to be some of the best of your life, so when someone asks you about your college experience, you’re both aware of and expect to hear positive things on it. You may feel pressured to lie so it seems as if your life doesn’t seem like it’s lacking that experience.
There are small occurrences of this that we engage in every day. For example, when we ask people how they’re doing, they may expect you to give a pleasant response and most people do. A lot of your acquaintances will be unsure of how to respond if you give a negative response to something as small as, “How was your day?”
When a friend or relative asks you the same question, you might think that they have that same expectation, but because of the nature of your relationship, they will probably expect you to be honest. If they ask you how your day was you should feel encouraged to be truthful no matter how it went. With close friends and family, you’ll find that honesty is more integral to a strong relationship than politeness.
There are ways that we have been conditioned to lie whether it’s to save face or to make others comfortable. Being able to overcome this conditioning is admirable and doesn’t have to be done at once. Acknowledge that there is power in sharing your honest thoughts and feelings with those you trust.