The brutality of honesty or the easiness of lying

Why you should take the hard way

“ We often behave in ways that are guaranteed to make us unhappy.
Many of us spend our lives marching with open eyes toward remorse, regret, guilt, and disappointment.
And nowhere do our injuries seem more casually self-inflicted, or the suffering we create more disproportionate to the needs of the moment, than in the lies we tell to other human beings.
Lying is the royal road to chaos.“ — Sam Harris (2011)

I once read a short book called Lying by Sam Harris.
He made an amazing discourse to never lie, even when you think it might be worth it.

I view this book as my mini bible for one of my core values, honesty.
I will use it as a base for this article.

 Honesty is one of the hardest values to live by.

All of us struggle with full honesty, every single day.
We oftentimes sneak in some lies because it’s easier than the truth.
This goes from: “Cool story!” to “You look great in that dress!” or “You are not fat at all!”

The goal of this article is to make you a more honest person.
You might want to stop reading if you like being delusional.
If you enjoy setting up realities that aren’t really true, this might even sting.

But if you’re up for a challenge and want to have deep relationships, based on integrity, confidence and straight up realness, please continue!

Lets drop some wisdom!

Quotes out of Lying:

“ The liar often imagines that he does no harm as long as his lies go undetected.
But the one lied to almost never shares this view.
The moment we consider our dishonesty from the point of view of those we lie to, we recognise that we would feel betrayed if the roles were reversed. “

“By lying, we deny our friends access to reality — and their resulting ignorance often harms them in ways we did not anticipate. Our friends may act on our falsehoods, or fail to solve problems that could have been solved only on the basis of good information. Rather often, to lie is to infringe upon the freedom of those we care about. “

“ When we presume to lie for the benefit of others, we have decided that we are the best judges of how much they should understand about their own lives — about how they appear, their reputations, or their prospects in the world. “

These paragraphs make the smallest lies sound arrogant and disrespectful.

If we come out of a place of love, we should give others the freedom to make their own decisions.
Some lies might feel harmless, yes.
But would you not want the freedom to make your own decisions, with the complete truth at your disposal?

Big problems with NOT being honest:

One of the greatest problems you have to deal with while lying, is keeping track of your lies.
Some people are good at this, most people aren’t.
Especially when the lies are small and 'harmless'. I’m pretty bad at it.

Another sad truth is that suspicion often grows on both sides of a lie.
Research indicates that liars trust those they deceive less than they otherwise might.
And the more damaging their lies, the less they trust, or even like, their victims.
It seems that in protecting their egos, and interpreting their own behaviour as justified, liars tend to deprecate the people they lie to.

Another consequence of lying is the illusory truth effect.
This effect makes you view something as true or correct, because it has reoccurred a couple of times.
If you keep calling yourself fat, your brain eventually thinks it must be true.
If you keep telling yourself you are amazing… the same thing will happen. 
Familiarity breeds credence.
And we humans have the tendency to look for confirmation according to what we believe.
This is called the confirmation bias.

If you believe in aliens, you’ll see a helicopter in this image.
If you don’t believe in them, you’ll view it as a logical coincidence since so many hieroglyphs can resemble a modern aircraft at some point. Just like winning winning the lottery is a coincidence.

Do you know someone who started believing his or her own lies?

Oftentimes, when lies are uncovered, people still remember them as true. This isn't good.
If you spread a lie about two of your colleagues having an affair, people won’t forget it.
Even if the lie unravels, it will linger, and people will never lose the idea.
This might even have implications if the colleagues get into discussions with each other.

And finally, an obvious problem with lying is the damage it that does to your relationships.
Nobody trusts a liar. Its too risky.
If we catch somebody lying, we feel like this person doesn’t deserve our trust anymore.
It shuns the possibility of deeply connecting with someone. 

Lies are like socially toxic waist.
Everybody’s hurt when they’re used and they linger like cancer, destroying our relationships. They even haunt us in our future.

OK OK, lying sucks, where are you getting at bro?

Talking about how a negative behaviour affects you, usually doesn’t motivate you to stop it.
Look at smokers. They know it is bad, yet they still use or abuse these cancer sticks.
I strongly believe that people that don’t quit smoking, don’t because it isn’t harming others, just themselves.
Despite the harm they enjoy it.

You often times drive A LOT faster when you’re alone, compared to when you have company.
Endangering your own life is usually fine, because it’s YOURS!
You can do whatever you want, right?

Well, the problem with honesty (and driving) is that others are always involved.
Your personal consequences will always have a rippling effect towards others.

Movie: Into the wild.

If you genuinely love the people close to you, don’t you want to give them the real thing?
When you lie to spare their feelings, think about how you would feel.
Would you want others to spare your feelings, or would you like the truth?

Think about that. Do you want pity or honesty, even if it hurts?
Do you consider yourself too weak for the reality?

Being honest is about treating others like you want to be treated. 

Would you want to know if your partner is cheating on you?
Would you want to know if your boss hates you?
Would you want to know if your friends really like you?

The answers are probably yes, even if they might sting.
And if they are, you’d better start living truthfully.

If you don’t mind living in illusions because reality might be to painful, you should probably work on other things.
I’m going to assume you have a basic level of self-esteem that craves reality and that wants to penetrate life with it’s essence.

(From a deeper philosophical viewpoint, any reality could be an illusion - this is called the cave of Plato, but it’s not really relevant for this article.)


Ancient Greeks concluded that there are few things mankind wants more then being happy.
And truth is one of them.
We don’t want fake happiness. We don’t want the pity of others.
We don’t value a fake painting of The Mona Lisa.

Do you want a relationship with someone who is faking it or always lying?
If you don’t, why would you ever do it to others?

Imagine two scenarios.

- In the first one you put a device on your head that simulates the reality.
In this device your life is amazing and you have everything you’ve ever wanted, and it feels completely real.
But you know that it’s an illusion.

- In the second one you have the real thing, no device on your head.
You live your life, and it’s a battle with ups and downs.
It might not be as easy or fun, but you have your own life in your hands.

Which one would you choose?

Most healthy people would go for option two.
If you want to battle the real world, know that you should do it with honesty and balls.

Work hard, play hard.

If you would prefer the illusion, you might not give a single f*ck, or you might need help.
But this article probably won’t help you in that case.

So how do we go about it?

The intent to communicate honestly is the measure of truthfulness. Reread this.
Leave ambiguities aside. Treat others like you want to be treated.
A half truth still isn’t true. Leaving out parts of the truth still isn’t being truthful.

But, there are different ways in how you can be honest.

Example: A friend asks you if he’s fat.

- You can tell him that you read something about honesty, and that you think he’s fat, lazy and clearly incapable of doing something about it.
- You can tell him that you genuinely care for him and that he could lose a couple of pounds in all honesty.

He’s asking the question because he wants to know. And you show respect by being honest.

Marshall Rosenberg dedicated his life towards communicating honestly, in a way where both parties needs are met.
In short, how to not be an asshole about it.
You can google ‘non violent communication” if you think you have trouble with this.

So in conclusion you should always intend to be honest, and tell the full truth.
This is how you would like to be treated yourself.

Honesty trough authenticity

Honesty starts with being yourself.
With being authentic and true to what you believe in.
This is one of the hardest things in life.

This article is getting long, so before we conclude I’ll leave you with four more reasons to be brutally honest.

1. It makes you goddamn attractive!
People love being around you because they’ll know that what they see is what they get.
They don’t have to play the mind games, they can relax around you and they’ll know that you will say what’s on your mind. Which brings us to the second reason.

2. It is freaking relaxing!
No more, OMG what would this person think of me?
No more, OMG does this person like me? Did he mean what he said?
Others have space to be themselves around you.
An honest person doesn’t judge, and he knows people are all a little strange.

3. You learn to care less about what people think of you.
You only have one face now. The real you, which you will like.
When you look in the mirror you’ll be proud of yourself.
You will love yourself! Forget the haters!

4. This also solves the common problem of lying because you don’t want people to judge you.
It helps you accept yourself.
Being honest is a hard thing to do. We ain’t about that easy way of living.
Get on our level B*tch! You'll be happy after you've done it. (Hooray for team honest!)

I kinda hope you read anus instead of ain’t us.


Remember that you attract what you are. If you lie, you will attract liars.

If you are honest, you will create a filter for people who appreciate your honesty, and you will filter out those who don’t appreciate it.
And quite frankly, you should not be having those people around you anyway.

You are always doing yourself and others a favour by being honest.
There are plenty people just as crazy as YOU are.
But you will only meet them if you are YOU. If you’re being your authentic self.

Acting like someone you think people will like will not get people to like you. 

And trust me, if your authenticity creates awkward moments, they’ll be worth the amazing human beings that you’ll deeply connect with because of it.

It's okay when somebody doesn't like you for who you are.
But when that person doesn't like you for who you're pretending to be, it sucks! — Terry T

Don’t let others miss out on the opportunity to meet the real you.
Be the one giving others permission to be themselves, by going first.

Take up that responsibility. One step at a time.
Good luck!

As always, dearly yours,

Willem V.

Willem V.

Willem V has a background in philosophy, psychology and now studies sexology.
Losing the 'nice guy syndrome' saved his life. He now helps others shake it of to improve their (love) life.

Comments 2

Sun, 15 Nov 2015 10:43


This has been on my mind lately, when a girl asks you what you think about her new look and you know your real opinion may hurt her feelings it's all too easy to say she looks 'awesome'.

Maybe from her perspective she wasn't trying to honestly get your opinion, maybe she just needed some validation because she 'needs' to hear she looks good with her new look.

Knowing that your opinion is just another opinion and depending on how sensitive the person is i personaly agree with the article but sometimes also calibrate depending on the situation.

Great article and food for thought !

Tue, 17 Nov 2015 19:39

Mike Vegas

Good job bro!

Sam Harris is a genius and Lying is a perl! :ok_hand:

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