It is a famous saying – “If by telling a lie somebody is getting benefited, then it is a worth a 100 truths”. If I have to explain this to my child, I would probably tell him to never believe this. The reason is simple – we hardly ever tell lies for somebody else’s benefit, we almost always lie for our own selfish reasons.

Imagine you have messed up your finances badly. You are indebted for lakhs of rupees (in credit cards, loans, etc) whereas your income is only in thousands. In all good intentions, you are trying to come out of this situation; you are trying to earn more money or create funds from other sources. Your parents are not aware of this situation and you choose to lie to them because you know they will think bad of you, they will ashamed of you and probably will not trust you with the property that you are supposed to inherit from them. In this situation, you continue to lie to them because of your own selfish interest of looking good to them and also to avoid getting scolded and lectured even when you are an adult.

Consider another similar scenario. Imagine that you are in the same messed up financial situation. But in this case, your parents are really old and sick. They are probably not going to live more than a few months. You already have got all the inheritance that you were supposed to get from them. In spite of your financial situation, you are still supporting their medical expenses and you are trying to spend as much time as you can with them. In this case also you continue to lie to your parents about your financial situation but this time the reason is that you don’t want to hurt them. They are anyways not going to live more than a few months, why give them the stress by telling them your mess up. So, you continue to lie to them so that they can die peacefully and knowing that their child is happy and content.

Think for yourself – the first situation is most probable situation whereas second situation looks more like a scene from Bollywood movie – not so probable. We usually lie for our own reasons that only benefit us and nobody else. If at all you feel that you have to lie for somebody else’s benefit – think through over and over again. Is it really somebody else’s benefit or is your brain getting manipulative and creating situation to cover up your own selfishness? If you really be honest to yourself, you will realize that it’s the latter case in most of the situations.

Telling lies is like taking a shortcut in a situation. To get away from a scolding from parents or teachers or bosses or spouse we lie, to get away from police or banks we lie, and in numerous other situations. Shortcuts don’t work in life! Eventually, one has to pay back in some form or the other for taking short cuts. So, avoid telling lies in any situation. You might get the immediate benefit but in the long run that lie will come and bite you.