Our lies give us access to the person we wish we were or could be.
As early as episode one of season one of “Mr. Robot,” Sam Esmail writes, “I’m not saying anything new. We all know why we do this, not because the Hunger Games books make us happy but because we want to be sedated. Because it’s painful not to pretend, because we’re cowards.”
Because the truth is too painful.
Most of us struggle with thinking that we are not enough. Our survival instinct is to reach out to whatever offers most comfort, and most of the time, truth does not offer comfort. Consequently, we make up the difference by lying.
Sometimes, these embellishments are to impress others. Other times, these lies are to soothe ourselves from the pain that comes with secrets and failings, from the trivial to unmentionable. Almost always, these lies build an illusory sense of self and, therefore, placement in and relation to the world we live in.
We are often told to, “fake it until you make it,” and some of us eventually make it, but that isn’t the only output from following this mantra. A lot of us end up stuck just faking it, while others develop imposter syndrome. “Making it” is the bull’s-eye—but there’s a million other places we often land and injure ourselves. What are those places? We don’t ever share those stories, the more common ones.
Our lies are a function of the shame we carry.
This is because our deepest truths—truths laced with shame—are not always comfortable. But being punished for the lies we tell doesn’t bring us closer to the truths we seek.
If truths are shamed into lies, more shame will only bury us deeper. It’s easy to say that “the truth will set you free”—of course, we all want the truth and I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t want to be free—but has anyone looked closely at what is actually shackling us? Because it’s not lies, it’s shame. It’s shame that make things unmentionable, whether it be lies, secrets, failures, or regrets.
So to say that truth will set us free, we must ask: has shame been addressed or handled in any way? We simply cannot arrive at truth without addressing the shame factor.