48 hours without lies

KNOW YOURSELF


Monday evening

On the eve of the experiment

The bright thought that one should always tell only the truth and nothing but the truth, my friend admitted, does not belong to her. And not even her magazine.

“There is an American psychiatrist, Brad Blanton,” she explained to me, “who is absolutely convinced that we would all be much happier if we stopped lying. Moreover, he argues that we should literally force ourselves to speak only the truth. Anytime and anywhere. Remove the barrier between your own thoughts and words. “

Her call rang in my office in the morning, and for the remaining working day I managed to share the idea with others. It is noteworthy that several acquaintances reacted in exactly the same way to my plan not to lie for two whole days. They asked to notify them in advance about the dates for which the triumph of truth is planned, so that “it is not even time, do not call, do not go.”

Let’s say the lie is at the zero level of truthfulness, and the truth is at the hundredth. What if you’re stuck somewhere in the middle?

I think it was a joke. But there was a clear hint in it, firstly, that they did not doubt my unrelenting lies, and, secondly, that the truth, which I am probably hiding, is unpleasant. This is not true! Not this way. In general, I prefer to tell the truth, and this is the absolute truth.

However, before indulging in this useful habit non-stop, I nevertheless made a list of possible risks. Where, with whom and when may my truth be misplaced?

A friend may call and ask if I liked his book. I didn’t like it, but I would prefer to answer evasively. A close friend, who now has big family problems, will definitely call. She asks all the time: “What should I do?” For me, her husband is disgusting, and it is high time to expel him, but we never give such advice to each other. But can my silence be considered a lie?

Difficult reflections on what is true and what is false led me to the following conclusions: there are many halftones, intermediate stations between truth and falsehood. Let’s say a lie is at the zero level of truthfulness, and the truth is, say, at the hundredth. But who should you consider yourself if you are stuck somewhere in the middle? The eternal question: is the glass half full or half empty?

Tuesday morning

Before leaving home

The first truthful day began with a truthful showdown with my 19-year-old son, who had asked me to wake him up at half past seven the day before (“Be sure to wake him up, I have a very important business!”), But I barely managed to kick him out of bed until a quarter to nine.

The story is typical, we always have it. Again my traditional question: “Why not just say that you will get up later?” – he shrugged his shoulders: “Is it difficult for you?” And I answered, for the first time in several years: “I would calmly drink coffee, read a book, and I run to you every ten minutes and play the part of a talking alarm clock.” The son looked at me in surprise.

Tuesday midday

At work

The difficulty arose in the middle of the day. I must say that I tensely forced myself to think about my high mission: the truth and only the truth. But I kept forgetting about her. It seems to be easy and even natural not to lie, but problems arise when you do it on purpose. It is easy to run down the steps, and if you think, “First your right foot, then your left,” you will definitely start to stumble.

So, in the middle of the day, a very specific journalist called me – more precisely, the press service of the department where I work. She writes about us, if not nasty, then nonsense, and at the same time all the time demands special attention and respect for herself. We try to maintain neutrality, to her unrealistic requests (an urgent interview with our infinitely busy leader) we answer that of course, of course, as soon as he is free …

She called with another complaint: why didn’t we remind her that we would have an interesting event? She generally has a tendency to suspect everyone of being maliciously and deliberately ignored.

I honestly answered that the announcement was sent to everyone, and she did not ask us for additional reminders. She falsely stated that she had not received the announcement. I expressed my confidence that she was not telling the truth, because we send the announcement to three addresses: by e-mail, the journalist’s personal mail, and fax. She was offended, claiming that she always speaks only the truth.

An interesting observation: the aggressiveness of the interlocutor greatly increases the level of one’s own truthfulness.

Always! It’s incomprehensible. And why do people make such strange statements? Nobody will believe it anyway. “You,” said my interlocutor, “generally treat me badly.” She probably expected objections. Not a declaration of love, but at least a polite one: “Well, what are you …” Without waiting (I was deafly silent), she assertedly asked: “Isn’t that so?”

An interesting observation: the aggressiveness of the interlocutor greatly increases the level of one’s own truthfulness.

“Excuse me, Alexandra,” I said, “but you also belong to us … how can I put it more precisely? With deepest dislike. Judging by your publications. ” The journalist was confused. “But … I write what I think!” – “Of course. But, you see, it would be illogical and impolite not to reciprocate your feelings.

She muttered something and hung up. Result: the journalist was offended. One could say that we have made ourselves an enemy, but this is not so. She herself, without any effort on our part, long ago enrolled in the camp of our enemies.

Tuesday evening

Not so scary

Towards the end of the day, a colleague of mine dropped in to our press service. “To look” in his understanding is to sit in a chair and talk about his life for a long time. To his misfortune, he asked a rhetorical question: “Won’t I interfere?” Usually I say that, of course, there is a lot of work, but … This “but” he equates to “Make yourself comfortable and tell, tell!” “Honestly, you will interfere,” I admitted, gathering my courage.

That he would be offended, I did not doubt for a second. Nothing like this! He was surprised, but no more. And he even came up with a reason: “I understand, urgent work.” It turns out that the consequences of the truth are not so destructive.

48 hours without lies

Wednesday noon

Coffee with consequences

I jumped out for half an hour to drink coffee with a sluggish admirer who “just passed by and …”. His courtship is more than five years old, so they can already be called a tribute to tradition. For me – and for the last three years for him – this is more of a ritual than progress towards a conscious goal. However, he demonstrates loyalty to principles and loyalty in general, and at his expense I increase my self-esteem.

Somewhere in the middle of the second cup of cappuccino my husband called. I wonder if I hadn’t answered the phone, would it be a lie? “Where are you?” He asked. “In a cafe,” I answered honestly. “I have a short meeting.”

It should be noted that my spouse is not that strongly opposed to contacts with fans, but certainly does not approve of them. He has been well aware of this particular for a long time, at one time they even had difficult male conversations with each other. Therefore, I prefer not to talk about our rare meetings.

“Yes? And with whom? ” The husband asked for some reason. “With Sasha N” – as I admitted in spirit. And then she began to make excuses: “He ended up in our area, and we …” “I see,” my beloved interrupted gloomily. “Well, I won’t bother you.”

The consequences of my heroic truth are obvious: the evening will not be the most pleasant conversation. However, as they say in such cases, I did nothing wrong.

Wednesday evening

Tomorrow I will lie!

The rest of the day passed relatively calmly: no one asked me any uncomfortable questions, and towards evening I felt relieved: it was over! It was then that my old friend called and invited me to visit.

I didn’t want to go scared. In a peaceful life, I would come up with some good reason: the evening is busy, I’m sick – so that he gets the impression that I want to come to him with all my heart, but, alas, I cannot.

In my opinion, telling the truth is always a pathology. There are situations where she is inappropriate, cruel and harmful to everyone.

Sighing heavily and thanking for the invitation, I said, “No.” Just no, no explanation. “Can not?” – for some reason he clarified. “Not in the mood at all,” I replied. “And we will raise it for you,” he assured me. “No, no,” I refused again. “Another time, okay?”

He said goodbye to me without the usual warmth. And although the truth-lover Blanton argues that the bitter truth is the best gift that can be given to a friend, I think he (friend) would have liked a deceitful version with excessive employment more.

And in the evening my mother called. The traditional question was asked: “How are you? How are you feeling?” This test of veracity was the most difficult. Instead of the usual “Everything is great!” I confessed with a heavy heart that things are not very good and the mood is so-so. To avoid clarifying questions, I promised to tell you more about everything tomorrow. Mom was upset. I, listening to her sad voice, too. Who needs this truth?

I think we shouldn’t burden our parents with our troubles. Parents must be protected. And if for this you need to lie a little – lie. There will be no harm, only benefit and concern.

***

I think that in order to finally understand the attractiveness or harmfulness of naked truth, the experiment would be worth continuing. Fasting for two days is not a question, everyone can cope with it. And a two-day hike to the nearest forest is also not an indicator. But a three-week abstinence from food and a month-long kayak trip will clearly let anyone understand all the charm or disgust of tourism and cleansing starvation.

But still, the truth “a lie has a right to life” became a little closer to me. Probably, we can tell the truth more often, and in a number of cases we exaggerate its expected negative consequences. But to tell the truth always is, in my opinion, a pathology. There are situations where it is clearly inappropriate, cruel and harmful. And for everyone.

It seems to me that our lies in most cases are just a means of protection. And it works. How can you be happy if you don’t feel safe, and even more so if you yourself, with your own hands, with your own words, make yourself vulnerable.

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