4 Lies We Tell, the Mental Health Benefits of Honesty, & How to Stop Lying In Your Relationships

Episode Notes

Are you ever tempted to lie to spare someone’s feelings or avoid conflict?

You're not alone. Research shows that most people tell at least one lie every day, even though honesty significantly benefits our relationships and mental health. In today’s episode, we explore the science and Biblical wisdom behind lying, and I'll share practical strategies to foster more honesty (spoiler alert: it involves setting boundaries!) in your relationships.

Here’s what we cover:

  • How often do we lie?
  • 4 mental health benefits of honesty
  • 4 types of lies we tell
  • The link between lying and boundaries
  • 3 reasons why we lie
  • The most important question to ask yourself about the lies you tell

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Additional Resources:

Related Episodes:

  • Episode 103: Name, Frame, and Brave Gossip
  • Episode 104: Overcoming the Fear of Vulnerability—Strategies to Stop Feeling Alone and Build Meaningful Connections
  • Episode 20: Making Peace with Yourself (& Facing Your Fear of Disappointing Other People)
  • Episode 72: Overcoming Failure, Handling Adversity, and Telling Yourself the Truth

Music by Andy Luiten

Sound editing by Kelly Kramarik

© 2024 Alison Cook. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Please do not copy or share the contents of this webpage without permission from the author.

While Dr. Cook is a counselor, the content of this podcast and any of the products provided by Dr. Cook are not specific counseling advice nor are they a substitute for individual counseling. The content and products provided on this podcast are for informational purposes only.


Hey everyone, and welcome back to this week's episode of The Best of You Podcast. I am so glad you're here. I'm so excited for this episode today. There is so much to unpack as it relates to lying, but before we dive in, I want to remind you to please pick up your copy of I Shouldn’t Feel This Way if you haven't already,

I lay out the three step framework, name, frame, and brave, in detail in the first few chapters of the book and this framework is designed to help you find your way through some of these more complicated sort of thorny challenges that we all face that don't have a quick fix solution. 

In today's episode, we're going to apply this three step framework to this very prevalent phenomena of lying.

I did a lot of research on the topic. It was fascinating. It was convicting to me personally, and it was really illuminating. And my goal for this episode today is really to not only inspire and encourage you to name, frame, and brave more honesty in your relationships, but also to give you really practical tools and scripts and strategies for how to do that in especially tricky or tough situations.

In the research, I discovered two competing facts that I think are really profound. Number one, there are tremendous psychological benefits to honesty. Studies have found that people who are more honest tend to experience less stress and anxiety. They have improved mental health overall. They enjoy healthier, more intimate relationships. They experience higher degrees of personal integrity. 

This idea of who you are on the inside matches how you show up with other people. And lastly, people who practice honesty tend to make better decisions. Their decisions tend to reflect their true needs, their true desires. And as a result, they tend to enjoy greater satisfaction in their lives.

I'm calling honesty a practice for a reason. It doesn't always come naturally. But here's the thing: as we practice honesty, starting by getting really honest with ourselves and with God, and then moving into our relationships with other people, we come into that alignment with the truth, which is so critical for a healthy, whole, meaningful, purpose-filled life on this earth.

No matter what our circumstances are, it's one thing we have some control over. We can live with a lot of integrity, no matter what is going on around us.And I really believe this is what we need most right now is to dig in and lean into being people of honestyI truly believe that creating a culture of honesty is so vital to the health of our world today. And it starts with you and me making a commitment to it in our own immediate spheres of influence.

Here's the thing. Honesty is so good for our mental health, and yet the statistics on the prevalence of lying reveal that most of us are lying at least daily. Here's some basic statistics about the prevalence of lying, and this doesn't even get at the culture of lying and gaslighting in the larger systems around us. This is getting at our own individual selves.

An average person lies one to two times a day. 60 percent of people lie at least once in a 10 minute conversation. This is from research done by social psychologist, Bella DiPaolo and her colleagues. Men tend to tell more self-serving lies, lies that aggrandize or sort of puff up their accomplishments, whereas women are more likely to tell those lies that try to save other people's feelings or smooth over social interactions. 

90 percent of people lie on their online dating profiles, 40 percent of people lie on their resumes. And I thought this one was really interesting. People are more likely to lie over the phone than they are face to face. And if you think about this, I don't have a stat on it, but if it's that much easier to lie over the phone, imagine how much easier it is to lie on the internet. 

As we move away from these human to human interactions in our real lives, in our neighborhoods, in our communities, in our church groups, and move into more digital or more virtual relationships where it's easier, frankly, to be deceptive.

Even the research reveals this dissonance where on one hand, it is so healthy and freeing to be people who practice honesty, and yet we're in a culture where lying is incredibly prevalent and there's no way that prevalence of lying doesn't affect us as individuals. 

So in today's episode, that's what we're going to focus on. We're going to unpack what exactly is lying? What are different types of lying? Why do we lie? Is there ever a benefit to lying? And then we're going to get into some really practical strategies and tips, and even some scripts for how to bring more honesty into your interactions with other people.

Because naming, framing, and braving a path out of lying is a truly counter cultural move. If we can become people who practice honesty, that is an incredible way of following Jesus in the work of becoming namers of what's true.

So number one, what is lying? The basic definition of a lie, according to the dictionary, is to simply make an untrue statement with intent to deceive. The American Psychological Association defines a lie as “a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth or falsehood”.

If we break that down, there are three key elements of a lie. Number one, there's a falsehood. There's information conveyed that is not true. Number two, there's intention. The person making the statement knows it's false and intends to deceive the listener. And number three, there's that element of deception, which means it includes another person. 

The goal is to make the listener believe the fault statement is true. We actually want the other person to believe what we're telling them. So there's a falsehood, there's intention, and there's deception of another person.

Before we dive deeper into lying, I want to pause and give the definition for honesty, because I think it's really important to hold in the background as we go through this conversation about lying. Being honest in relationships means consistently expressing your true thoughts, feelings, and intentions with kindness and respect.

And every part of that definition is important. We are not talking about being harsh or being cruel. We're talking about a practice. This is a skill we develop it takes some commitment to be someone who consistently practices honesty,

If we think about the three key elements of honesty against those three key elements of lying, they're the exact opposite. Instead of falsehood, honesty involves truthfulness. The information that is conveyed is accurate and factual. It doesn't mean we tell all the details, but what we do share is accurate. 

Number two, the intention of someone who's making an honest statement. It's simply to communicate without hidden motives. We're trying to convey the facts about what we think or feel. And then lastly, instead of deception, honesty is characterized by transparency. The goal of honesty is to be open and clear, allowing the listener to understand the true intent and content of the communication. 

Now, I want you to imagine for a minute, if all of our relationships were really built on honesty. Can you imagine if we lived in a world where we can actually trust what the person in front of us is saying, where our leaders were honest and we trusted that what they were speaking about from behind a podium was actually, in fact, the truth of what they believed without intent to manipulate us or to deceive us? 

Where marketing gurus in advertisements that we see on TV are actually presenting us with facts that we could trust in order to help us make informed decisions? Where our friends, where our spouses, where our parents, where our pastors, where our leaders were, to the best of their ability, conveying information in a way that actually matched what they think and feel and believe in any given moment? What a world would that be where we could trust the words that are being communicated all around us.

I honestly think that kind of honesty in the workplace, in the town square, in our government, in our media, in our social media feeds, in the news that we watch, is somewhat inappropriate. It is really hard to find factual, authentic communication in the broader world around us, and while we cannot solve all the problems in the world around us, we can start in our own lives, in our own friend groups, in our own families, inside ourselves, to be as honest as is humanly possible for us to be.

Here's the thing. Honesty doesn't mean we are experts. It doesn't mean that we have all the answers. It also doesn't mean we stop thinking or caring about other people's feelings. There's a lot of nuance to this. And so I want to distinguish what I mean by honesty and some counterfeit versions of it that are out there.

Honesty is not oversharing. In fact, honesty might be showing some restraint in our responses. You can be honest without revealing a lot about yourself. Honesty shows discretion. It's not oversharing. 

Honesty is not bluntness. Bluntness means speaking harshly or in an insensitive manner, without regard for the feelings of others. Honesty involves sharing the truth as best we can understand it in a way that is respectful of the listener.

Honesty is not being an expert. In fact, often the most honest response we can give, especially about more complicated topics, is “I don't know”. I think about this a lot when I try to vet a new healthcare provider or a new mental health provider or a new expert that I'm seeking wisdom from–can they say, I don't know, I'll look into that further? To me, that's an indicator of somebody who's being honest with me. And I far prefer that than someone who pretends to know everything or to be an expert about something they actually don't know.

Lastly, honesty is not the same thing as vulnerability, which we discussed in last week's episode. Honesty doesn't have to involve emotional risks. It can be surface level. And this is really important. I want you to hear me say this. When I'm talking about being honest, it doesn't mean divulging personal or sensitive information. That's vulnerability and vulnerability is something you really want to safeguard with entrusted, safe relationships. 

We're going to have different degrees of vulnerability with different people, but that doesn't mean we can't be honest. Honesty is a practice we really can strive to adopt universally in most of our lives.

So what does the Bible say about lying? Most of us have this idea that lying is wrong. It's built into our moral code, which is why a lot of us experience dissonance when we're tempted to tell a lie, but also in our culture, when we're aware that there's lying going on around us, we have this sense that it's not good, that there's something wrong with it, even though we don't always know how to name it or identify it.

Here's some context from the Bible to undergird our conversation. It's one of the 10 commandments. Exodus 20:16, you shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. And if we look at the context of that time period, false testimony was really important because justice was really dependent on people's words, people's narratives, about what happened. There was no such thing as video evidence or a paper trail or an email trail like we have today. 

If you needed to go to someone and say, hey, this person has done this thing to harm me, it was your word against theirs very literally. And so in ancient Israel, legal systems relied heavily on the verbal testimony, on the honesty of witnesses to make fair judgment. 

We also see admonitions for honesty in Proverbs. Proverbs 12:22 says, the Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy. And then we get to the New Testament, Ephesians 4:25, therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor. For we are all members of one body, and then Colossians 3:9-10, do not lie to each other since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed and knowledge in the image of its creator.

We see Paul encouraging believers to become people of integrity with one another, to let their honesty characterize this new Christian community that was forming, that was to be different from the culture at large, that was wracked with lying and deception and manipulating other people. We are to put that off. We are to become people who are honest with each other. 

And then we see in John 8:44, Jesus referring to the enemy of our souls as the father of lies. He says there is no truth in lies, and he's referring to the devil. When he lies, he speaks his native language for he is a liar and the father of lies. There's such a stark contrast between the father of lies and the truth that sets us free that we find in the person of Jesus. 

And so this idea of becoming people who are truthful, people who are honest, people with deep integrity, people whose yes means yes, and whose no means no. People who present themselves on the outside as who they really are on the inside is incredibly important to those of us who are seeking to follow in the ways of Jesus and differentiate ourselves from the ways of the culture all around us.

It reminds me of a book that's a little bit older. It came out a few decades ago by M. Scott Peck. It's called People of the Lie. And the book is a really profound, incisive exposition of the way deception is at the root of so much evil, so much toxicity, so much abuse, so much of the interpersonal trauma that infects relationships and neighborhoods and communities and cultures.

Lying is so insidious and it can start really small. And that's where we're going to focus most of our intention today. But if we're not careful, small, tiny, even little white lies grow and erode our integrity, our honesty, and keep us from bringing the goodness, the beauty, the freedom that we are meant to have in our own lives and we are meant to bring into the world around us.

I want to touch on what the research in psychology says about lying. It underscores what we know to be true from the Bible. There's some very recent research published in the British journal of social psychology that reveals that lying is not only unhealthy for our relationships, but it's not healthy for us.

Number one, it tends to lower our self esteem. It's a little bit of a self-perpetuating cycle. At its most basic, we often lie because we're not confident in ourselves. We might feel shame about ourselves. We don't trust that people will still love us if we were to show up honestly as who we really are. So lying often stems from feeling bad about ourselves, but it actually then decreases our self-esteem.

Instead of healing that root, when we lie, we stay stuck in that loop. I don't feel good about myself, so I lie. But then when I lie, I feel even worse about myself. And so then we stay trapped and stuck in this cycle of self defeat.

Number two, lying actually increases negative emotion. There can be a hit of relief immediately after a lie, especially if it gets you out of a tricky situation. But what the study found was that no matter whether you're telling lies to get out of something or to puff up your own ego, or if you're telling lies to please someone else or to protect someone else's feelings, regardless of the type of lie, it tends to increase negative emotions over time.

It increases dissonance inside, it increases anxiety; we don't actually solve things with the people to whom we're lying. Over time, those negative feelings continue to fester inside of us because we're not actually bringing what we really feel out into the open where we can work through it with someone else. 

In fact, there was one study I thought was so fascinating, where the people in the study were given an honesty challenge to not tell one lie for 10 weeks. And I remember the Jim Carrey movie, Liar, that is similar to this study. But what they found is that the folks in the study who were challenged to not tell a lie for 10 weeks experienced significant improvements in their physical and mental health. 

Lying isn't good for us. It's not good for our relationships. And in contrast, honesty is so good for us. And it's so good for our relationships. 

I do want to touch on the question, are there ever any benefits to lying? This is an important caveat because if you're in a dangerous situation with someone who is threatening you psychologically or physically, or they're going to emotionally blackmail you, or for any reason you need to get out of that situation, or you have to keep up a lie until you can get out of that situation, that's a very different thing. 

In that situation, you are using a lie and deception strategically and systematically to keep yourself safe or someone you love safe. And that's a very different thing. I hope that goes without saying, but I do want to say that if you're someone who's in an abusive situation or a toxic situation, and the only way to keep yourself safe is to lie in that setting until you can get yourself to safety, that's a very different thing.

Please know that there's been a lot of studies done on the ethics of that, that it can be a very strategic way to create enough safety until you can find your way to safety. Also when it comes to lying, there are situations where telling the truth might cause unnecessary pain. A lie can be used again, strategically, to protect someone's feelings. And I'm using that word strategically because there's a conscious awareness of it. I'm going to lie in this situation. And so in those situations where you're protecting yourself or protecting someone else, you're not deceiving yourself. You're not deceiving God. And hopefully there's at least one or two other people in your life that knows what you're doing and why you're doing it in this case.

Okay, what are some different types of lies? So I thought this was interesting to touch on. These are the four most common types of lies that people tell. Number one, the little white lie. This is the one that is the most common. 72 percent of all people admit to telling little white lies. I'm pretty sure it's possible that the other 28 percent who say they don't tell little white lies are potentially telling a little white lie. 

Here's the thing about white lies. They're the least harmful of the different types of lies. They're usually told in order to avoid hurting someone else's feelings, to be polite, to smooth over social situations, common little white lies. Someone asks you how you're doing. Maybe you're having a terrible day and you say, I'm fine with a smile. 

Or maybe your friend or your spouse or your child is wearing a new outfit and you don't think it looks that great, but in the moment you don't want to hurt their feelings. And so you tell them, oh my gosh, I love it. You actually are trying to get them to believe you like the thing you don't really like.

Another common example of when we tell little white lies, someone asks you to do something that you don't want to do, or for whatever reason, you don't want to tell them the real reason you can't do it. And so you make up a lie. You feign an illness.

You suddenly magically have guests coming in out of town, out of nowhere. Whatever the thing is that you make up, it's because you don't want to hurt their feelings. Little white lies are more common in some cultures, more than others. They're more common in some parts of the US than other parts of the US. Regardless, a little white lie does still meet the criteria for what a lie is. 

You're saying something that's not true. There's an intention to deceive the listener. You're not saying something neutral. You're not saying, wow, what an interesting outfit. The lie is, I love it. And you're actually trying to make the listener believe that faulty statement is true, that you actually love it. Even in these cases with little white lies, we still want to practice honesty with ourselves. Somewhere you've got to tell the truth. I call it a practice because we have to practice this skill, this muscle inside of ourselves. It's a very counter cultural practice for most of us.

Okay, number two, another big category of lies are lies we tell about our personal accomplishments. 64 percent of people admit to lying in this way. These are the lies where we exaggerate our achievements, our skills, maybe lie about our weight or our height. Maybe we take credit for something we didn't really do. Maybe we exaggerate something in a job interview.  Again, you might have a good reason to do this in a given situation, but in general, why not try to be as honest as possible? 

Number three. The third most common type of lie that we tell are lies about our emotions. And I think this one is so interesting because the practice of honesty requires us to be honest about how we're actually feeling inside of ourselves first, and a lot of the work that I do in The Best of You and I Shouldn’t Feel This Way and Boundaries For Your Soul is trying to teach you how to get to the root of what you are actually thinking and feeling in any given moment.

Not necessarily so that you go tell everybody that, but so that actually, here's how I feel about this thing. I'm going to figure out how to share that in a way that is constructive, not destructive. But if we're in a habit of lying or covering over, or even deceiving ourselves about our emotions, that bleeds out where we don't have emotional truth in our relationships. 

We tend to do this, especially in social situations or intimate relationships to avoid conflict. We don't want to deal with the actual hard conversation that we need to have. And if we make a habit of this, we lose sight of what we actually feel or think inside of ourselves. So for example, we pretend that we're happy when we're really upset or frustrated or angry. We bury those negative emotions instead of naming them honestly. 

Maybe somebody hurts you, and instead of saying, yeah, that really hurt, we shove it under the carpet. It's really a lie. It's not emotionally honest when we say, no, it was fine. It was okay. It didn't bother me at all. When in fact, the thing that happened did hurt me or did bother me. Another example: let's say there's some friction with a family member or a friend. And we deny it. We say, I'm not mad. I'm not frustrated. I'm not bothered. But in reality, we are. When we do that, we dig a hole for ourselves, because what if down the road, we actually want to have a conversation about this thing that's been bothering us, but we've spent weeks, months, maybe years denying that the thing bothers us.

It makes it really hard to earn the trust of that person that you want to have an honest conversation with, if for years, you've been denying the very thing you actually finally realize you need to name and discuss.And so again, we can find our way out of these things. It's never too late to start being honest. It's never too late to say, you know what, I haven't been honest with you. I actually have been bothered by this for a lot of years, and I'm sorry that I wasn't honest with you sooner, but I do need to have this conversation.There are ways that you can approach that, but I will say that's why a practice of emotional honesty is so important early on in your relationships. That baseline practice of, at the very least saying, I'm not sure how this makes me feel. I need to think about it for a little while and then get back to you.

Finally, another big thing we lie about, and this is a tricky one because we might even have a really good motivation–maybe you don't want a friend to know what you did over the weekend because you don't want to hurt her feelings that you did some things with people without including her. 

So you might be tempted to lie, or you might want to have some privacy at a social gathering. Someone asked you a question and you don't really want to answer it. And so you might be tempted to lie. Again, there's an understandable motivation for all of these different types of lies. Lying doesn't actually get us the real thing we want, which is honesty and transparency, even when honesty and transparency means saying, I'd rather not answer that question. I'd rather not share that information with you. I'm not comfortable divulging that. It gets into boundaries. The more honest we become, the healthier our boundaries are going to become with other people. 

Because typically in all of these cases, if we're lying to protect someone else or to protect ourselves, we're not doing the harder, deeper, holier work of getting to the root of how can I show up authentically? How can I show up honestly, authentically, because that's ultimately what's going to be good, not only for me, but for the health of this relationship, even if this is a relationship that needs to have more healthy distance, because I don't want to answer these questions this person keeps asking me.

That brings us to, what are the different motivations for lying? 

Number one is self protection, self preservation. We might want to avoid a consequence that we actually need to face. Sometimes we are trying to protect ourselves from hurt. We don't want to feel rejected by the other person. We don't want to feel judged by the other person. We don't want to feel criticized. 

These are all really valid reasons to want to do something to put a barrier in that conversation with that other person. The intention there makes sense, but the strategy of lying is not the healthiest strategy, typically at that moment.

Number two, we want social acceptance or approval. We want people to like us. We want to fit in. We want to make a smooth social environment. We're at a party, we're at church, we're in the neighborhood, and we don't want to be weird. We don't want to be odd. We want to play along, play the social game, answer the questions, but we don't actually really want to share what's really going on. So we make up lies to keep the social norms of civility going. Again. Understandable, right? You don't want to  feel socially awkward.  I get that. And also we have to really think about a healthier way of being honest.

Lastly, the last motivation, this is the least common, but very real, is we're trying to be controlling and manipulative where there's actually a malicious component for the lie. This might be where there's a gaslighting component or a narcissistic component where someone is lying to get power over you, to try to manipulate you, to try to control you, to try to create a narrative that's untrue, to keep you feeling small or to sustain their own narcissism. 

This is the most toxic kind of lying. This is where we get into abusive lying, and it's important to name and this is very real. We do see this from time to time where there is a really malicious motivation behind the lying.

So I want to close today by giving you some practical tips and strategies to name, frame, and brave lying in your own life. As you listened, you probably were resonating with some of those examples, some of those motivations more than others. So how do we become people who are honest?

First of all, name it. And this is a quote from chapter two of I Shouldn’t Feel This Way, name what's hard, start with yourself. Notice, when am I lying? You might even think about as you're listening today–was there a moment that you told a lie?

Maybe it was at a store, at the grocery store checkout line. Maybe it was with a boss. Maybe it was with your own child. These are all common places that we lie. There's no shame in this, but to notice and become aware. Yeah, that's a place I am tempted to lie. When I talked about that neighborhood barbecue, if that's a place for you where you're like, man, that is a place where I, those social gatherings where I'm really tempted to lie because I can't stand social awkwardness, but I also don't want to answer the questions. Notice that. Naming without shame is the first step to braving a better way forward. 

And then number two, do some framing work. Ask yourself, why did I lie? In that situation, what is the motivation behind it for me? Whatever the situation is, you might ask yourself a really powerful question. I think this is one of the most powerful questions we can ask ourselves when we're framing something like this: what am I afraid would happen if I were to tell the truth?

You might even ask yourself, what's the worst thing that could happen in this situation, if I told the truth? In contrast, what's the best thing that could happen if you were honest in that situation? That question can reveal a lot. You might notice that there's actually nothing you really fear. It's a habit. You've gotten into the habit of lying as a coping mechanism for social anxiety or you've gotten into the habit of lying when you feel embarrassed, or when you feel fearful of conflict, even as you recognize that's not necessary, that the person is someone you could actually have a really healthy conversation with. 

Sometimes we fall into the habit of lying as a conditioned survival response that lingers all the way from childhood where maybe we learned to lie as a way to survive as children because we were fearful of judgment or shame or repercussions. And this can happen if you're someone who's high on empathy or highly sensitive, and maybe you had parents or caregivers who were shaming or who were critical. And so you learned to lie really quickly to keep yourself protected from that.

And that conditioned response has followed you into some of your adult relationships. You might notice that. And then you've got to ask yourself, wait a minute, how do I heal that in the context of my current relationships? Because the people around me now aren't actually unsafe. They're not actually shaming or judging or criticizing me.

So I actually want to work on being honest with them. As you frame it, that might be something that surfaces for you. Or maybe as you ask yourself what you're afraid of, you realize, oh my gosh, I'm actually afraid that this person's going to get really angry with me. And they actually are unsafe. The reason I lie in this setting is because they're not safe. That's actually a very real threat. 

And that's a very different way. of framing it, because if that's the case, then you might need to think about talking with a therapist or a trusted advisor or a friend about this relationship that's unsafe and how you either get help creating more safety in the relationship or put more boundaries around your relationship with this person so that you're not being exposed to their toxicity.

In that case, the framing is very different. It may be that lying is helping you to survive. And so we've got to get you to safety. Framing is so important to understand what's going on behind lying behaviors.

Another framing question is asking yourself, who do I find myself really being honest with where it's so easy to be honest? See if you can identify, what are the ingredients in that relationship that bring out that honesty inside of you. What's that about? And notice that and move toward that.

And then finally, once you've named the lie, framed it and understood a little bit more the function that lying behavior is serving in your life, you can then take brave steps toward more honesty. You might brave healthier boundaries. As we've said, if there are certain situations or certain people who evoke that lying part of you as a survival strategy, you might need to implement some healthier boundaries. 

In those situations or with those people, if you've identified there's a habit component, you might need to brave more mindfulness. And this will feel awkward at first, but maybe you brave a pause when someone asks you a question and you get really aware of that feeling inside of, oh, a lie is about to come out of my mouth. I'm going to take a deep breath. Pause.

And see if I can say something honest, it might be as simple as saying, I don't know how to answer that question, or I'm not sure what happened. Or I'm not sure how to respond in this situation. 

That pause and that breath can really help you connect to that Holy Spirit led self inside of you that is yearning to bring forth more truthfulness, even if what's truest in that moment is, I don't know, I need more time. Can I get back to you? I'm not sure how to answer this right now. I'll need more time. 

You're showing up more authentically when you give yourself the gift of that pause. Practice finding one thing you can say that is true.

And then lastly, along the lines of that pause. Practice being really honest, especially in those situations where there's an opportunity to give a written reply. Take your time. Don't text right back. If you need to turn down an invitation, think about it. What's really true here? What am I trying to convey? 

Because I can't go to this event. And the truth is I don't really want to do more things like this with this other person. So I don't also want to make up an excuse or pretend I'm sick or pretend I have company. What I actually want to say in this moment is something like, I so appreciate your thinking of me. I'm not a big fan of X, but I love to find other things that we could do together. 

That's an honest reply that honors the invitation, but also honors the truth about how you really feel. Or if someone asks you for help and you really care about that person, but you don't have the bandwidth to provide the help they need, instead of telling one of those little white lies, honoring them with the truth where you say, man, I am so sorry for what you're going through. 

I need to be honest. I am also going through a lot right now, so I don't have a lot of margin. I want you to know I'm with you in spirit. I am rooting for you, but I don't have a lot to give during this time or season. These are hard things to say, but in those relationships where you really want to develop more authenticity, more truthfulness, I promise you if you give yourself the spaciousness, the pause, the time to really look inside yourself and notice what is actually true and formulate a response that is both honest and kind, you will start to experience the joy, the freedom, the confidence of knowing that you are aligning with what's true. 

You will start to bring more goodness, more beauty, more authenticity into your relationships and into the world around you.

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