Everyone lies and if anyone tells you otherwise, they’re lying. There are the little lies that we tell ourselves and others routinely. Why yes, that dress looks great on you! You haven’t aged a bit! You can’t touch the Elf on the Shelf or he will lose his magic. I didn’t realize I was speeding, officer.

There are the big lies, the ones that we desperately try to hide because if others were to find out, the consequences would be life-altering. I had to work late and I lost track of time. I don’t know where the money went. All I know is when I woke up, my daughter was gone.

Lying is devastating to the mind, body, and spirit. Even if no other soul on this planet knows the truth, there’s still one person you have to contend with…yourself. The chess games and mental gymnastics that must be done daily to protect the lie all take time, attention, and energy. Those are the very things you want to give to the loved ones you so desperately are trying to protect, yet no longer have the ability to do so. A person only has so many resources and when safeguarding a lie, those energies are diverted. You are in a prison of your own making.

Authenticity and intimacy are impossible when one is living a lie. Every thought and action has to run through a filter and like an outdated computer – it slows everything down. Your world is tempered by the lie. It colors every aspect of your being.

Reactions to people and perhaps even ourselves are changed. We are suspicious of everyone’s motivations. Everyone’s actions. Everyone’s words. Suddenly, the world is a threatening place. Trust in others is gone because we cannot trust ourselves.

The lie becomes your life and your slow death.

All of the effort expended is wasted because you can’t get away from the one person you want to please the most, the one person you don’t want to disappoint, the one person who knows you best. Yourself.  Shame becomes your constant companion.

The bigger the lie, the higher the chance that it turns into a multigenerational problem. It will change the manner in which your great-grandchildren are raised. Even after your death, others will have to contend with your lie. They will have to clean up your psychological mess. The ripples in the pond are impossible to predict. Will your lie lead to the suicide of a great-great-grandchild? Will it lead to self-hatred in your child? Will it lead to the death of a loved one as they inadvertently put themselves in harm’s way while leading a risky lifestyle? Only time will tell.

One can justify a self-preserving lie in many ways. One can also choose to live with the mental freedom that comes from living a life of truth.

You’re only as sick as your secrets.