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You Lie to Yourself. No Really, You Do! And It’s Costing You…

9 min read

Fess Up — You Lie!

If you are human, and I presume you are given you are reading this, you have red blood cells and white blood cells, and you lie. As a human you need oxygen to survive, and you lie. It is that simple. We humans are all liars, especially to ourselves about ourselves. Before you go on, just notice your reactions your thoughts, feelings and opinions about that assertion.

We were born with a built-in capacity to lie. Even as babies we lied; can you believe that? Fake crying is one of the earliest forms of deception to emerge, says Dr. Reddy of the University of Portsmouth in the UK. Infants use fake crying to get attention even though nothing is wrong. You can tell, says Dr. Reddy, as they will pause their crying while they wait to hear if their mother is responding before crying again.

Maybe lying is a much more widespread and natural phenomenon than we realize. We now know, with at least one clear example that gorillas lie. Penny Patterson has spent years teaching Koko the gorilla to communicate with sign language at the Gorilla Foundation in Northern California. One day, when no one was around, Koko, who weighs 300 pounds managed to rip a sink out of the wall. When asked who ripped out the sink, Koko signed, “The cat did it.” Yep, that sounds like a lie to me.

Maybe lying serves many purposes; Dr. Reddy thinks children use early lying to discover what kinds of lies work. In early childhood we also learn the benefits of lying and the negative consequences of lying too much. Pretty soon we are adept at discerning what lies work and what lies get us into trouble; a skill we hone, as we get older and more experienced.

From our earliest beginnings most of us have been told that we shouldn’t lie. Raise the topic in just about any group and you will soon have a consensus that lying is bad and wrong and good people shouldn’t do it even though we all do it. But is it that simple? Well, no!

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