THE COLUMN

Issue No. 48/November 18, 1995


LETTING THEM LIE

IVAN HOFFMAN

Sometimes we just let people lie to us. We need them so badly that we let them tell us what we know are completely untrue stories just so we can keep them in our lives. We are willing to permit this lying because the feeling of emptiness we might feel if they were not in our lives is more painful than the pain of being with someone who lies to us.

It is not that they lie to us intentionally, although some might. Rather, they might not even know they are lying. They might not know they are lying because they themselves do not know what the truth is. They themselves do not understand who they are enough to tell themselves the truth. And if they cannot tell themselves the truth, then how can they tell us the truth either?

And we may not even know they are lying either. We may not know they are lying because we too have either forgotten or never knew the truth anymore than do they.

We feel that if we ignore the truth, it will go away but we usually end up with large, festering wounds as the conflict inside of us grows. If we do not follow our hearts about the unhappiness in our relationships, that unhappiness finds its way to the surface in another fashion.

When faced with fundamental decisions, decisions that we know are true in our hearts, we quickly turn away from those truths and find reasons, rational thoughts, to keep us from acting upon those truths. Change of any sort is difficult and so we put it off for as long as we can hoping that somehow we will not have to make the decision to tell the truth. But the longer we put it off, the longer we refuse to listen to our hearts, our truths, the more resentful we may become, feeling somehow that our "other" is to blame for our unhappiness. We are afraid that knowing the truth might cause us to have to tear everything up, start over again, redefine who and what we are. Very difficult stuff, indeed. Better, we think, to stay unhappy and complacent than to venture out into uncharted territory. Better to pretend it will go away. Better to think that since everyone else is unhappy, that must be the way life is.

Better, in the end, to continue to lie. In truth, aren't we lying? Certainly we are lying to ourselves because we are not being truthful to what we feel deep inside, in our hearts. We have been living according to the lies others have told us were true.

But we are also lying to the other person because we are not being truthful to him or her any more than we are to ourselves. If both parties are telling themselves the truth, that truth will likely be the same for both of them. It is because when both parties are speaking the truth, they are speaking from their hearts and our hearts do not lie. When we override our hearts and listen to our heads, to society, to the other rationales we have developed for lying to ourselves, we pretend we are in love when we are not and so end up lying.

In the end, it is better we feel to allow them to continue to lie to us because it is easier than accepting the truth.

It is only when one or both parties are lying to themselves that there can be a discrepancy of feelings. It is only then that one party pretends to feel love. But what that party may really be experiencing is probably something completely false. It is not love; it is something else. And if it is not love, there is no way that he or she can convince his or her mate that it is love. And I say this because our hearts know the truth all the time. Our hearts know when someone loves us and when they do not. And our hearts, knowing that our mate does not love us, can only pretend to love them. And we do that because we lack our own love. Feeling insecure, we pretend we love them even though we know they do not love us. In our private moments, we can only become angry, at them and ourselves, for the deception.

And so, in the end, we allow ourselves to be deceived because the pain of the truth is simply too difficult to accept. And if we continue to live this way, we may never get to the truth. And if we can never get to the truth, we are never truly connecting with God or our destinies.

We can never truly feel intimacy with anyone. We make certain of that.

© 1995 Ivan Hoffman


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