How to Lie and Why you should

  Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky


I grew up believing that honesty is always the best policy. As an adult, though, I realized that was not true at all. I was raised in a family who were honest to a fault. Honesty can sometimes be brutal and often hurtful. And a lot of folks are simply dishonest with themselves. Raised to be completely honest, I was preyed upon by people who would use my honesty against me. And I was frightened and horrified by lies whenever I discovered them.

Mother nature's lie

Mother nature’s lie

During my shamanic training I learned that lies are not evil nor necessarily harmful. I learned that the natural world is full of misrepresentation, illusions, and untruths. During my hypnosis training I realized that the truth is always ever subjective. I learned that we can go back and rewrite our history because truth is fluid.  Ultimately, I realized that lying is not wrong, hurting people is wrong.  If you’re lying in ways that hurt people that’s wrong.  If you’re telling the truth in ways that hurt people, that is equally wrong.

The lying Cowbird

The lying Cowbird

I went on to raise my children with that understanding.  I taught them to lie appropriately and well.  It always makes me angry when I hear an adult berating a small child for lying.  Adults lie all the time.  Children see this quite plainly.  We demand that our children lie to Grandma and say they loved her gift then we punish them for telling their version of an event if it seems outlandish.  Even what seems like a tall tail by a child is probably closer to real truth than adults dare to think.

Rather than confuse the issue by labeling some lies “white” some “big” or “fat” and others “small” its best to simply accept lying as necessary and keep in mind not to hurt people.  If you are already confused by labels and friendly well known sayings about honesty, if your lies are getting you in trouble or if you are just new at lying you should learn and understand the Four Rules of Lying.

Four Rules of Lying  (adapted from Oprah Magazine, April 2014)

1. Always tell yourself the truth.

Denial is not just a river in Egypt.  It can really undermine your existence if you allow yourself to live with too much of it.  So always examine your life, your relationships and your choices honestly.  If you make a mistake, admitting it to yourself keeps you from perpetuating the problem.  Your most important relationship is the one with yourself.  Lying to yourself makes it harder to really like or respect yourself …and it only goes downhill from there.  Lying to yourself makes it hard to trust yourself and learning to trust yourself is what keeps you from being jerked around by other people’s lies.

Da Nile

Da Nile

2. Tell loved ones as much truth as you can.

Truth builds intimacy.  It is the basis upon which we are able to form lasting heart to heart bonds.  So share the truth to the degree that your want real lasting love relationships.  Choose those relationships wisely.  But realize that your relationships with your spouse, your children, your friends, and other loved ones WILL unravel and fall apart if you do not continually deepen the bonds by sharing your true thoughts, feelings, struggles and victories.

The truth becomes too much when it is hurtful and unsupportive, so please continue to tell loved ones that those jeans make their butt look GREAT – just be honest if the fly is open.  These sorts of observations are the subjective, fluid sort of truth.  The real truth is that if a person feels good about their looks, that’s all that really matters.  Besides, its not just Sir Mix a Lot who thinks big is better.

baby got back

I cannot lie!

3. Tell acquaintances enough truth to maintain connection.

Say you just walked out of a scathing review by your ogre boss when a colleague meets you in the hall and asks how it went.  If you want to keep your relationship strictly business just say, “Fine.”  If you want more of a friendship connection, tell the truth, “I’ve had colonoscopies that were more fun.”  Then she can either respond with bonding, “I know what you mean! I was depressed for a week after mine.”  or she can choose to keep distant, “Oh, gee! Sorry to hear that! Got to go!”

Some people like to keep their work lives and personal lives separate, and that’s fine.  But if you are feeling a bit lonely or would like to make some less superficial connections at work, sharing your truth is the way to real connections.  The way to do it is with a little truth at a time.  Share a candid thought or feeling, see if your co-worker responds with the same.  Then share a bit more.  You can choose just how deep the connection goes by the depth of your honesty.  And you can always backpedal with small talk if you decide they’re not bosom-buddy material.

Share if you dare to bond

Share if you dare to bond

Just try to avoid the common trap of connecting with co-workers over snarky comments.  Sure, in a bad work situation it is easy to connect over a common obstacle, “Is this guy a dictator, or what?” But if the only “truth” you are sharing is negative comments or complaints, people are going to start avoiding you.  Or you may end up buddying up to some “Frienemy” types who just want to spread juicy bits of news on the grapevine – including YOUR news!

4. To kill a relationship: lie.

Some people will use your truth against you.  These are the people you want to lie to as a rule.  If your co-worker known for stealing creative ideas asks you what you think of the new system, feel free to be vague or superficial.  Or even make something up!  If the boss uses people’s family problems as an excuse to pass them over for promotions, don’t mention your divorce OR your engagement.

When I was in a particularly cut throat pre-med program, I learned to add ten points to my score whenever classmates asked me my grade.  Most people were either looking for a study buddy to leach off of or they were looking to make themselves feel good by putting others down.  Its also a good idea to memorize a few replies to deflect probing personal questions from questionable people.  If a colleague asks if you use botox, smile and reply “That’s funny, why do you ask?”  If she’s a new friend looking for a personal recommendation, she will say so.  If she can’t share her truth first, she’s not friend material.

Neither the truth nor lies are guaranteed to set you free.  But understanding that personal truth is the currency with which we buy depth,  trust, and respect in relationships CAN be very liberating.  Use them both wisely and well.


People of Power


Week after week in my office I meet amazing people of power.  And by “power” I mean the only true power that exists: the power of an open heart and an open mind.   Real power is the power that comes from empowering others and from challenging ourselves to learn and grow in confidence, wisdom, and compassion.   Each time I meet one of these people they present the same way: very reserved and modest, somewhat hesitant and unsure.  And they usually ask a question that sounds like this, “Am I a terrible person?  It feels like everyone is out to get me.”

The reason people of genuine power are reserved and modest is simple.  If power goes to your head you quickly become arrogant and arrogance consumes power.  Arrogance is simply the idea that any one person is somehow better…or worse, than any other.  This includes all concepts of inequality from racism to hero worship.  So its fine to be proud of your accomplishments & it’s important to appreciate your strengths and skills, but it’s equally important to remind yourself that others have strengths & skills and CAN accomplish what you have, given the right resources.  In short, people become and remain powerful by recognizing and supporting the power of others.

empower bill

The reason these genuinely powerful people come in feeling put down, brushed aside, criticized, and condemned is a bit more convoluted.   But the simplest answer is this:  they are NOT imagining it or making it up.  Forces of evil really do rise up to stop people who persist in growing in authentic personal power.  These “forces” may take the form of a bully boss, a bad manager, a system that stifles creativity and justice, family members who undermine one another, and religions or religious leaders that become self-serving.  These are all simply vehicles for the same principle.  Great good attracts attacks & criticism.  Great power always reflects on and corrects itself first.  So if you are self reflective, always trying to be better and feeling isolated, attacked or condemned, you may actually be a person of great power.

As an example of this principle, consider my dog.  I have adopted a dog who is on the large and powerful side.  You can see the power ripple through his muscles and his jaws.  You can hear the power in his deep bark.  You can feel the power in his pace, stride, stamina and assertive demeanor.  But the dog cannot see himself.  This powerful dog feels, within himself, that he is an equal to all other dogs he meets.  So if a tiny dachshund or yorkie barks a challenge, my dog feels attacked and wants to bark back.

If my dog begins to behave like the little pocket dogs along our walk, barking, jumping, running & pulling, he frightens people.  Humans and other dogs alike react by condemning or attacking my dog.  They think he is a Bad Dog, a scary out-of-control dog.  My dog is behaving EXACTLY like his smaller peers.  But because of his power, this behavior frightens others. Because of their fear, they react by condemning, attacking, or isolating him.

bark dog

When I first met this dog I could see his power and his potential to be dangerous.  I could also see that this dog had been badly abused every day of his life and still had an open heart and a willingness to self-correct, learn and become a better dog.  I was afraid of him.  But I didn’t let my fear stop me from befriending him, supporting him, and teaching him.  Now I am training my dog in the basic rules of the powerful:

1. Let others lead, even if you must teach them how.

2. Never bark, but never cower.

3. Empower and support those who are weaker.

4. No matter how well, or how poorly you did today, determine to do better tomorrow.

And most importantly-

5. Never be bothered by the small dogs yapping along your path.



Today, like never before, people are waking up to their own true nature as people of real power in a world that condemns the great and  embraces the corrupt.   I am not saying that the world is evil or even that some people are evil.  I am saying this – we are all evil and we are all good.  Good and evil are the very nature of existence.   But when we choose to do good, especially against great odds, we become great.  And when we choose evil – we choose to see others as separate or distinct from ourselves, better or worse than ourselves, we become less and less powerful.  We consume our own power by seeking to destroy the power of others.  Evil is an idea, a persistent and pervasive idea.  While good is not just an idea.  Good is an action, it too persistent and pervasive.

A wonderful and powerful client of mine recently suggested that I begin a support group for the beleaguered and browbeaten people of power in our area.  If you think you might be a powerful dog with a heart of gold surrounded by small dogs nipping at your heals, please click on the links below and come to the meeting.  If you stand up for justice and equality only to be criticized and condemned, do the same.  If you’re tired of being told you’re too sensitive, too optimistic, or too nice, click and come.  If you’re unsure but curious, if what I’m saying here makes a profound sort of sense, if you don’t like to join groups because it usually turns out badly, click, or call, or text, or email.  You may just be one of the hidden persons of power that the world so desperately needs now.  You may be the key to empowering someone else who feels exactly as you do.

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Text:  504-312-3097