Challenge Accepted: Eliminating lies provides insight


No. Yes. No. Yes. Just say it, you know its true. But – no you have to.

Often times when internal struggles like these appear, I often settle with the no and move on. But for a week I was forced to be honest with myself and accept whatever came along with it.

In this particular instance, I had to admit to myself that I didn’t understand the math lesson, which is something I am extremely adamant about never doing. I take pride in my easy grasp of concepts, and when a concept becomes something other than easy, I refuse to admit it.

Lying can be a defense mechanism, a survival instinct, or a deceptive tool to get what you what. It can be used to protect others, to hide a truth, or to avoid a situation. Either way, lying has become an instinctual human mechanism for getting by in life, and for some, like myself, the act of lying has become all too familiar and natural.

To try to break this habit of compulsive lying, I decided to be completely honest with others, as well as myself, for five days. It seemed easy enough, but I soon found out why I chose to lie in the first place.

The simplest question I get asked every day is, “how are you?” Usually I respond with a “fine” or “good,” without a second thought, but for those five days, I forced myself to answer that question truthfully, something a lot harder than it may seem. But it was also liberating to be able to respond with a “not so great,” for once, even if I knew I would have to answer an overflow of questions afterwards.

I also had to be honest at times when I thought my friends would prefer a slightly edited and polished comment. However, by no means did I use this challenge to be rude. Instead, it gave me the chance to stop covering my true opinions.

A select few who knew about this challenge decided to use it to their advantage and ask me questions they knew I had to answer truthfully. I revealed a lot I had never wanted to share with people. However, something I did not expect happened. After a while, telling the truth stopped bothering me so much.

There were also those people who refrained from asking me basic questions about how they looked, or what I thought about something because they didn’t want my honest opinion. I guess sometimes people rely on those little “white lies” for a type of temporary reassurance. Thinking on it, I do too, on occasion. I don’t want to be lied to, but I honestly don’t want to know the truth.

The hardest part of the challenge was being honest with myself. I had to be constantly remind myself to acknowledge what I was truly thinking, feeling, or wanting to do, and act accordingly.

I figured something out in those five days. Lying, despite the possible risk of people catching you, is more comforting. It allows me to mold, bend, and distort the truth to ideally fit my desires. However, candor does have some benefits. Though it involved stepping out of my comfort zone a bit, it allowed me to experience the freeing sensation of honesty.

Claire Grunewald is a Lifestyles Editor for The Patriot and