We've all lied at some point, and I'm the first to admit that I am no Mother Theresa but have you ever considered that an even a small lie could be a cover for a deeper pain?
When you have removed yourself from the pain of either telling a lie or being told a lie, you will see the truth.
For many people, lies are a false-self or identity that people use because of their fears. Lies are a protection mechanism designed to deflect attention from the real issues of insecurity, of feeling unprotected in a group or community.
Commonly, we believe that a lie is told to gain attention, to cover up a fault or because the liar has something to gain from the deception but what if a lie arises because of how you made that person feel. Is it their fault, are they to blame for the lie or is there some ownership to acknowledged elsewhere?
I know an adult who lies all the time, who manipulates their surrounding, including people, to get they want. This person would tell a lie to cover a lie, and would probably fake their death rather than being proven a liar. Lies seem to make up 60 percent of this person's personality.
Now, part of me wants to blame this person for their behaviour, wanting nothing more to do with them, but my compassionate counterpart, the heart, kicks into gear and wants to understand the reason why this fully grown adult feels compelled to lie constantly about themselves, their life and daily interactions with others.
Under the surface, liars feel that they are unacceptable and unlovable to everyone. They are also afraid of their faults.
They feel insecure in the world; every moment reaffirms that they are not good enough.
It is likely that if you track back into the "liars" childhood, you will find an event which is the source of an unhealthy level of shame. At some point in this person's life, feeling accepted and loved was replaced with feeling unacceptable and unlovable. Feeling these emotions so deeply caused the "liar" to create an alter ego; one that may be more acceptable, courageous, and magical to others. This alter ego becomes their full-time personality; they become the lie that they create.
So how do we support the "liar" to feel comfortable with who they are?
We accept them, faults and all!
I bet that this sounds counter-intuitive to accept someone, warts and all, but it is not until you accept someone for who they are that they feel safe enough to cut the crap and start being real.
Having a positive regard towards others means that no matter what they've done you accept them and their choices, but you also hold them to account for their reasoning. This creates an open line of dialogue, and a discussion may follow.
There are many different interpretations of "unconditional positive regard" that float around scholarly papers and parenting forums, but at the end of the day, my sole job is to show compassion to others knowing that there is an underlying cause for behaviour, fear.
If you can accept and love unconditionally, then your job is done. The person lying will feel safe in your company and at some point realise that they do not need to work so hard to be your friend, boss, employee or child. Lying is stressful after all, and no one needs that.