There’s no question lying is a horribly destructive habit. And any destructive habit leads to painful consequences. When we choose to lie, we choose to suffer. Think how much better off we’d be if we would stop lying and live in the truth. Listen to the words of Jennifer: “I was lied to my whole life by my mother…everyday it was something new. After living with her for 14 years, I sometimes find myself exaggerating, and making up stories to seem cool. I don’t ever want to be like my mother, so how do I stop before I hurt my family, friends, and myself?”
Jennifer realizes lying can go from one generation to the next. One hurt person will then hurt another person, because the curse of lying is not stopped.
Once we see how easy it can be to lie, and to control what other people think about us, we start sliding down that slippery slope leading to a miserable, addicted place. So the most important question we can ask today is: How do we stop lying?
8 Practical Steps to Stop Lying
1. Admit you have a problem. This is always the first, biggest, and most difficult step. Find someone you trust and tell them about your lying habit…no matter how big or small you think the problem is. The fact is you don’t want to lie anymore, but you can’t stop lying on your own. You need help to stay accountable. Megan said: “When I met the man who is now my husband, I knew I needed to work on [my lying] because I wanted/needed to be completely truthful with him. I told him that I wanted his help, and was amazed that he loved me enough to stick with me (even the few times I lied to him) and fight it out with me.”
2. Remind yourself how lying messes up your life. Lying destroys relationships and adds a tremendous burden to your life. Understanding that there will be consequences is a powerful deterrent in breaking the habit of lying. Phillip suffered the consequences of his lying in a big way: “I used to lie all the time, and I would normally end up getting caught in the end. It took me going to prison to find out that the truth is a much better way to go then to lie about everything. Take the time to think about what the consequences are going to be of what I say or am about to do?”
3. Try to figure out what pressured you to lie. What were you trying to hide? What would have been a better way to tell the truth? For example, all addicts feel they must lie to cover up their addiction. The more they cover up their addiction, the better they get at lying, and deceiving. Almost every lie has a reason behind it. Wrong actions almost always lead to lies. The reason Hannah lies is to control people around her. That in itself can be an addiction. “I try not to lie but if I see someone that I like pulling away from me because they think I’m weird I’ll start telling lies to get me closer to them. I end up living this horrible lie.”
4. Tell someone when you lie. Admitting a lie can make a world of difference, and while it might hurt your pride, it’s far better than being a liar. Even better, confess to the person you lied to immediately and seek their forgiveness. This is humbling, but it will cause you to stop and think before you tell another lie. Someone once said, Confession is good for the soul. And it is also good in helping us break bad habits. It would also be wise to confess your lying before God. After all, He’s heard every lie you’ve ever told.
5. Be realistic about what you promise others. Deliberately broken promises are lies that lead to broken hearts. If you promise to do something and never intend to follow through, that is a lie. Additionally, many lies begin as a way to cover up the fact we can’t possibly do everything we promised we were going to do. Be honest about what you’re capable of doing, admitting to yourself and others your limitations, and you won’t feel a need to lie.
6. Talk to others about their expectations of you. If you find yourself lying to cover up how you have fallen short of others expectations of you have a conversation with your parents, friends, or teachers in order to come to agreement about what is reasonable for them to expect. Don’t sell yourself short. You may not be expecting enough of yourself, but an open discussion to get everyone on the same page is important.
7. Practice telling the truth. When you start to feel the urge to lie, stop and think for a moment. Think about what the other person would feel about you if they knew you were lying. Think about how you would feel if people lied to you all the time. And then, as painful as it may seem, tell the truth. The more we tell others the truth, the easier it is to continue to do it. Lying is a bad habit. Telling the truth is a good habit. Work on breaking your bad habit by replacing it with a good one. Angel said: “It spreads like wildfire when someone is caught lying. Then when the person is actually telling the truth, no one will believe them because they have told so many lies. For the sake of your family, friends, and loved ones, always tell the truth even if you are afraid of the outcome!”
The more we tell others the truth, the easier it is to continue to do it. Click To Tweet
8. Commit to a life of honesty, at all costs. Telling the truth might be horribly uncomfortable for you, but you’re starting to walk down a path of honesty and integrity, turning yourself into the person you desire to be. If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t lie and make something up. Say, I don’t know. The freedom of the truth will be liberating.
Let’s be honest…it is going to be very difficult to stop lying. Claudia admitted: “I have learned that when you start lying it is hard to stop. It takes a lot of hard work and determination to get over a habit that has been a big part of your life.”
However, as you wake up to the reality of what you’re saying and doing and put a stop to the lies you are telling, you will soon reap the benefits of living a peaceful life. I promise, if you put forth effort to stop this toxic and destructive habit right now, you’ll be grateful forever.
Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear what you think are some of the rewards of being honest?