I have always said:
“If we ever want to know the truth about something we must simply ask a young child.”
Children naturally tell the truth until taught to do otherwise. They say exactly what is on their mind and exactly what they feel. From temper tantrums to screaming their feelings or simply talking, children have a way of not holding back on their thoughts and feelings.
A young child will tell us if we got a bad hair cut, or if our shoes aren’t working with our attire. They will tell us if we have gained or lost weight, as well as how mom and dad really are. Unless children are being trained to be emotionally dishonest they will most generally tell the truth.
With children being as honest as they are it leaves one to wonder how lying begins.
What creates a liar? And how do we as a society create less liars and instead create more acceptance for others and their emotions?
As people we are taught at a young age to be emotionally dishonest with ourselves. We are told to say please and thank you whether we mean it or not. We are forced to say that we are feeling fine when that may not actually be the case. We are taught not to voice our opinions and at other times told to speak up. All of these things we are taught; when once upon a time we had the ability to be emotionally honest with ourselves and the world around us.
Because we train children and each other to be emotionally dishonest we have more or less created a world of liars. We wonder why people hide from their emotions, and why they lie to themselves. We wonder why people are not honest with people in their lives. When in reality, everyone is just doing what they were taught and told to do.
When we expect someone to think like us, feel like us, and react like we would we are merely creating a person who is afraid to be who they are. This causes a person to build walls and become distant. This puts a gap in the relationship, and is the beginning of not knowing that person anymore. That person begins to find friends and people in the world that accepts him/her as he/she is. They surround themselves with people who make them feel at ease. Somewhere that they do not need to wear a mask. A place where they can simply be themselves.
I will hear parents ask or say: “Who is this child?”, “What happened to him/her?” “I didn’t raise him/her that way!” and a series of other questions or statements when they realize their child has become a manipulative lying teenager. People making these statements are often unaware of their contribution in making that child be emotionally dishonest with himself/herself. Once emotional honesty vs. emotional dishonesty is approached by that parent, it will be easier for that parent to not only cope, but also correct the behavior in the child before it carries over into that child’s adulthood.
Once we grasp the concept of emotional honesty and the benefits of it, it becomes easier to see situations more clearly.
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