The Truth About Lying
(Column: Ask the Peer Specialists)
Peers on important topics
Jessica Banta & Paul Chipkin, Senior Peer Advocate, Staten Island Peer Advocacy Center & Jack Freedman & Mattie King & Delores J. Luker & Samuel Pirro
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Mattie King: This is such a hot topic since honesty and lying play such an important role in our lives today. Nevertheless, action speaks a lot louder than words. Therefore, I'd like to say that honesty is when what you say matches what you do. It's telling the truth with your actions. For an example, people can say "I love you" until they are blue in the face, but if they don't follow those words with the corresponding action then they are lying. Of course, there are different kinds of lies. There are lies of commission and lies of omission. Not all lies are spoken. One can lie to oneself. Therein goes the phrase "to thine own self be true." Sometimes without even thinking, we act a lie. If someone hurts our feelings and we don't want to show it, we often smile as if whatever was said or done didn't bother us at all. We learned this from the "I'm okay, you are okay" mentality that became so popular back in the 1980s. Just the same, it's always wise to be honest with yourself and others as much as possible. The Scripture states, "If you continue in my Word, then you are my disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31-32 (KJV). There is something very liberating about the truth.
Paul Chipkin: God made me do it! He made me free! I had to find my own way and slip and stay slipped ‘forever’ but somehow that endless state of desperation led to a place where I do feel like being honest while maintaining naughtiness as it pleases me. The Creator thrives upon naughtiness as we all do—many manage to incorporate the scoundrel within our play. It helps keep us interesting to our fellows. We all want to play. I am the scoundrel I like to be. I stay a scoundrel only in a loving context. My flaws are another matter.
Delores Luker: Depression is a liar. Yet, we often believe that voice inside our heads that does nothing but tell us things that are not true like "You're worthless; your family would be better off without you; you can't do anything right; so and so is going to leave you; don't trust him/her; you know death would be peace and rest; nobody cares." Depression is a lot like the Devil...the ole saying, "The Devil made me do it" equally applies to depression. We blame an awful lot on "depression" when we mess up. Well, at least I did. Two things have led me into recovery: learning to not believe the words that depression says inside my head, and learning to quit blaming it when I do mess up. Both of these have made me better and stronger, and a hell of a lot happier.
Samuel Pirro: My allegiance to the truth can be pretty elastic. I can be pretty shameless in these matters. If in need of smokes, for instance, a friend has the money to spare and wants to offer it, but might bridle if he knew the use I plan to put it to…well, a lot of grief on both sides can be skirted if I couch it as a need to do a laundry. Creative fibbing.
Jessica Banta: We all lie. We all tell fibs. But I find I am more inclined to tell the truth. In the end the truth always comes out. As Lyndon B. Johnson said, "Boys, I may not know much, but I know the difference between chicken shit and chicken salad." It is best to tell the truth, even though the truth may not seem to be the best thing for us.
Jack Freedman: There is always a way to be truthful without hurting someone’s feelings. Everybody needs a reality check once in a while and white lies do not benefit you or the person to whom you are lying. Since I am a poet, I often offer critiques on the writings of my fellow poets and vice-versa. We will not grow if we do not receive the constructive criticism we can use to develop our writing. With poetry, a lie will hinder the writer’s development, as well as bother the reader, such as when the word ‘supposedly’ is used throughout the poem.
Paul Chipkin: Or “I could care less…” That’s wrong! ‘Dad’ believed that he didn’t need to hear how wonderful he is (he knew that already). He preferred to be told how he might improve. He wanted truth (the more the merrier). Courage in how one ‘navigates those seas’ does serve a person well.
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