Why We Lie

Why is it so hard for everyone just to tell the truth? ~Thea

 I’ve often observed when reading stories or watching film/tv how frequently the problems presented in the plot are due to characters who do not tell the whole story.  As viewers we catch ourselves repeatedly thinking, “if they only knew (fill in the blank).”  Yet the characters don’t tell the whole story and we (in real life) don’t tell our whole story either.  We keep things to ourselves and this probably complicates our lives just as the plot thickens in a fictional story when other characters are deprived information.  Why do we lie or stay silent?  I think it comes down to four main reasons…

  1. Fear of Rejection – We all know this and we all keep quite at times for fear that the other person/people will not still accept us if they knew (fill in the blank).
  2. Fear of Broadcast – If we tell someone something then we cannot control what they do with that information.  They can spread it around and they can use it against us.
  3. The Scandal – Why do people really want to know?  If you tell them are they just listening for “the scandal” of the story or are they really going to be with you as you are working through this story?
  4. No One to Tell – Difficult stories are difficult to tell…it can be challenging to find a person who is willing to listen to the whole story…the good, the bad, and the ugly.
  5. Preventing Harm – People who have been through life changing events have gained an understanding that what they need or want to share might actually harm the person they are sharing with.  For example, Thea probably couldn’t handle knowing about Oliver being tortured, and Laurel would have a hard time dealing with the details of what her sister or Oliver truly went through on the island.  Some details we keep to ourselves because it’s not good for others to know.

 So silence continues.  Thea knows nothing about what’s really going on.  Laurel doesn’t know she is talking to her sister.  We don’t know the life’s details for those around us. (for more on this check out a Harry Potter essay – The Silent Champion)


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