Honesty can lead to an all-around better life

Katherine Middleton, Opinion Editor

Lying isn’t anything new, or even shocking, but that doesn’t make it any less confusing when someone lies to you. Sometimes it seems like lying is the easy way out, and there are times when it is, but only temporarily. It takes way more work to lie than to tell the truth. First, you have to think of the lie, then you have to remember that lie…forever. Depending on the size of the lie, the consequences of getting caught in a lie can be moderate to severe.

So what constitutes as a lie? It’s debatable. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a lie as “an assertion of something known or believed by the speaker to be untrue with intent to deceive”or “something that misleads or deceives.” Some people, including myself, consider withholding information to be a lie as well. Telling someone most of the story and leaving out a part that might not be well received is something people do all the time, however they don’t view it as lying, when it actually is.

Recently, journalist and anchor, Brian Williams, was exposed for telling not one, but two lies while doing his job. Williams falsely reported that he was in a helicopter that was shot down during the Iraq War in 2003, and that he witnessed floating bodies in the area he was reporting from during the aftermath of hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. As a result, Williams was suspended from NBC’s “Nightly News”for six months without pay. Had Williams told the truth in these reports, he would not be in the situation that he’s currently in. Some people have tried to defend Williams, saying that he didn’t exactly lie, but instead he embellished his story. It’s a good defense when you don’t consider the fact that what he embellished didn’t actually happen. Embellishing is normal, but lying is not.

Lying is also kryptonite to relationships. Not only intimate relationships, but also friend, family and work relationships. Think about it: would you want to continue a relationship with someone that you don’t trust? Brian Williams has probably lost millions of fans, and their trust in him, as a result of him lying on air. Aside from his duty to tell the truth as a journalist, as a person he’s broken the trust of the general population. In order to have a healthy relationship with anyone, all people involved need to be able to communicate openly and honestly. When someone lies, it damages the trust, sometimes irreparably. If you don’t trust the other person in your relationship, it makes it hard to want to continue that relationship.

In my experience, telling the truth has been very beneficial. Not only has being honest lead to healthier relationships, but telling the truth also allows you to go through life with a clean conscience. Whether you believe in a “higher power” or not, being honest will provide you with a certain lightness in your head and heart. When you’re honest with someone and tell them the truth about something you did or how you feel, it makes dealing with any issues that might come after easier to discuss because it comes from an honest place. Not to mention, keeping up with lies can be incredibly stressful. When you live an honest life, there’s nothing to worry about except how people react to your honesty.

However, being honest is not an excuse to be rude or disrespectful. People consistently say that they lie in order to spare other people’s feelings. I’ve heard this mostly from men who are in serious intimate relationships with women and in order to keep them happy, they lie. There is a nice way to honestly express negative emotions, but not without careful thought and consideration. If you’re one of those people who habitually lie to others, challenge yourself to tell the truth and see the positive impact it has on your life!