Self-Compassion For Liars

3 Basic Reasons We Need Self-Compassion For Liars

“Why do I need self-compassion for liars?” you might be asking yourself.  There are three basic reasons.  First, we cannot control whether or not people lie to us.  Second, often when we are lied to, we experience suffering.  Third, we frequently misunderstand being lied to as a position of vulnerability for us, and a position of power for the liars.

Let’s look at the first reason.  We all hate being lied to, so we watch shows, read books, and follow movies closely, in which someone is lying.  How, we wonder, can we become brilliant lie detectors, so no one every lies to us again?  This process is stressful, and increases our sense of paranoia.  We find ourselves looking for these clues in many of our conversations, especially with new people or people to whom we are vulnerable.  This constant work is cumbersome, and exhausting.

Let’s look at the second reason.  Being lied to causes suffering.  We have certain expectation or wishes of other people.  We experience their truth as promises made to fulfill these expectations.  When they lie to us, we feel misled, disappointed, and distrusting.  We all desire to avoid conflict, so we avoid confronting the liars.  When we do confront them, they simply deny their lies.  We begin to wonder whether we are the kind of gullible person that people assume they can lie to.  All of these thoughts lead us to self-criticism, and weariness.  Both are forms of suffering.

Let’s look at the third reason.  When people lie to us, we often mistake ourselves as being weak, and the liars as being strong.  We internalize these feelings, and begin to search out others, who will treat us this way in an attempt to master this situation, which gives us no success, but many more concerns. 

Three Self-Compassionate Shortcuts To Manage The Effects of Lying

So, how can we handle these three harmful effects with self-compassion?

First, it is not our job to become better at comprehending lies.  Our job is to come up with core values, and establish a path that allows us to pursue them with self-compassion.  In other words, since we cannot control the motivation or action of others, the best way to manage the knowledge that liars are out there is to accept this truth, and persevere on our path.  Studying lying just extends the suffering caused by being lied to. 

Second, because we know that being lied to causes suffering, we need to access our self-compassion skills, so that we can acknowledge this pain, let it pass, and bring kindness to our experience to best care for ourselves. 

Third, people lie because they feel that their truth is not good enough, and by extension that they are not good enough.  They do not just lie to you.  They lie to a lot of people.  This is not strength, but rather a means of defending oneself against poor self-worth.  In this way, it is important to acknowledge that, so that we do not feel disempowered by being lied to, or at least, so that we can reclaim this self-agency after being lied to.

Some days you will remember these steps, and be able to take really good care of yourself, when others lie to you, and some days you will forget.  On the days that you forget, and find yourself in a cycle of self-criticism, simply notice this process, step back, and bring some self-compassion to your experience.  No one likes to be lied to.  Not enjoying it is part of life, but so is self-compassion, and making room to do and experience what you love with people you can trust.

365 Days Of Self-Compassion.  Day 216.  In The Books.