When you discover someone has lied to you, withheld information, or misrepresented themselves, you may feel hurt, angry, surprised, confused or even betrayed. These reactions are natural so validate them. Once you’ve nurtured your feelings, take a breath, and think about some other possible motivations behind the deception. Typically, there are a couple reasons why lies are told. First, to avoid judgement. And second, it takes a ton of courage and good communication skills to tell someone something difficult, something that will likely cause pain or discomfort.
With this in mind, if you want to go beyond what you’re feeling, force your reeling thoughts from emotional brain into strategic brain by trying to figure out what is, if any, your part of being on the receiving end of a tall tale. Ask yourself this question: Do you judge others? Either outwardly or in your head? If the answer is yes, then take time to consider if perhaps the liar withheld information due to fear of being judged by you. (By the way, this in no way negates their responsibility in the fib. Since there are two people in any given exchange of information, it only seems balanced to check accountability on both ends.)
If the answer is no, you don’t typically judge, then realize that even though the action was directed at you, affected you, hurt you, the motivation behind the lie had nothing to do with you at all. (Stay with me.) The truth is the lie was about the person who lied to you.
Let me explain. Know that the inability to tell the truth about something–how they feel, what they wanted to do—is theirs. There’s a good chance they’re not on stable footing and don’t have the confidence, the courage and self-awareness to accept themselves as they are and, in turn, speak their truth. Characteristics, you will grow to learn, that aren’t easily developed. Traits that come from hard work, experience, maturity and the benefit of others holding your feet to the fire. Not everyone gets the gift of people in their life that hold them accountable and therefore don’t get the chance to experience the sense of pride and humility and respect that comes from doing, saying and acting on feelings that you know will be hard and unpopular. My guess is you’ll struggle with these skills yourself. Don’t worry, though. Making mistakes and apologizing are all part of getting your honesty game on. So when you are on the receiving end of someone misrepresenting themselves, after getting past the initial sting, remember to look at the act with compassion and understand that the person opposite you is on the journey, perhaps just not as far along.
E.L. Chappel author of Spirit Dance/Storm Makers/Coming very soon: The Surge
Once you know and are comfortable with who you are, the desire to impress or please others falls away, making it much easier to accept everyone how they are and tell the truth.
Be patient, it takes awhile.
aka The Glamorous Wife