ToV 17 – What Liars Lose

Chapter 17 actually says some great things about leadership and humility and empowerment, you should definitely read it. However, a strange thing can happen when you read insightful texts, sometimes something oblique speaks to you. A single line did that to me today, so join me on a tangent!

If you don’t trust the people,
you make them untrustworthy.

I’m sure in the context of leadership and governance this speaks to empowering the populace (and how to avoid revolutions for that matter). But what tickles my brain is the idea YOUR lack of trust can make other people untrustworthy.

No one exists in isolation, who we are is inherently reflected in how we relate to the people around us, and what I find heartbreaking about lying isn’t the falsehood, it’s the failure of trust. When you lie (even the little white ones), you don’t protect yourself from somebody’s negative reaction so much as you fail to give them a chance to see you for who you are, what you want and need and value. They might disappoint you, but they might not, you won’t know till you risk.

I was watching 30 Rock last night, Tracy was telling Liz about goodbyes, how he didn’t know how to do them, and they discussed the shallow bullshit ways people often say them. Liz, instead of saying: “We’ll stay in touch.” said, with honesty, something along the lines of: “Tracy, we’re only friends because we work together, and for years you have made my life a living hell, but because the head isn’t connected to the heart, I love you and I’ll miss you.”

Now isn’t that a more loving and sincere thing to say than to just hit them with the classic white lie? She’s honest about her opinions of Tracy, honest about the fact the friendship end when the job ends, and yet, Tracy knows Liz sees their relationship for what is it, and isn’t hit with a disappointment later when  the don’t stay in touch.

When you don’t trust people enough to tell them what you really think (with some TACK though please! Less: you look fat in those jeans, more: hmm, maybe not a good cut for you) you lose out on them understanding you, understanding what you need, how you see the world. Inevitably, because of that lack of knowledge and understanding, they misunderstand you, disappoint you, and don’t offer what you need.

The truth will set you free …but first it will piss you off – a Gloria Steinem quote, and one of my favourites. Sure, sometimes the truth starts uncomfortable conversations, but without those conversations we never get to a point of understanding each other. Without a foundation of honesty we’re all moving through a false world blowing sunshine up each other’s butts. And we all know when it’s happening to us, that sick feeling when you know you’re being bullshitted, but everything continues to be left unsaid.

When you lie you miss out on authentic connections. When you can’t take the risk and trust others, there’s never anyone you can really trust and count on. And that’s a very lonely kind of way to live a life.

2 thoughts on “ToV 17 – What Liars Lose

  1. dear Valerie,

    I actually quite disagree. I’m in favor of quick, quiet breakups, with little white lies. Really, I’m only speaking from experience with friendship break ups.

    Mainly because most of us are able to mentally run circles around ourselves, most of us have huge capacity to lie to ourselves. I’ve been sort of told, “I love you, but I don’t like you anymore, because because…” And a month later, it’s the same speech, except for completely different reasons, so I get cut up in a completely new direction. I usually beg to stay in some kind of touch with people I love, but, after a few endings with different people to compare, the brief, no reason given and a quick ending is way better. (I guess some closure is better than someone who just starts avoiding you and your phone calls, but one sentence will suffice.) I’ve also been the dumper twice or more, and I am really glad that I never went into more detail.)

    Anyway, I love you, and I like you too!


  2. Ain’t nothing wrong with quick quiet breakups, like ripping off a bandaid. For a relationship ending, speaking your truth probably doesn’t matter so much anymore anyway – though admittedly I do spend a goodly amount of time trying to understand WHY and hope I’m not processing false data.

    Never could get that trying to be friends after thing. I figure, if we were any good at being friends of any sort of substance, we probably wouldn’t be breaking up.

    (and I love and like you too, darlin’!)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s