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    In light of the highly publicised, and much anticipated Lance Armstrong interview, and doping confession to Oprah Winfrey, I thought it would be poignant to explore truth and lies.

    There have been a multitude of studies into personality types that have a tendency more towards lying (narcissists, sociopaths etc), as well as there being statistics banded around left, right and centre about how many lies men and women tell each other each day.  And what’s the difference between a ‘little white lie’ and a pathological liar.  I could spend a long time picking through all the data and give you my view on it all, and yet that’s all it would be – my view.  Lies, and what we consider a lie, how we feel about the lies we tell (and we all do it, no matter how hard we try not to or think we don’t), and how we feel when we find out we have been lied to is all relative and, I believe, very personal.

    So rather than get involved in a debate about what is a lie, and where the ‘lie boundary’ should be drawn in relationships, marriages, parenting, friendships and work, I want to talk about the difference between the TRUTH and a LIE, and the emotions that can surround us when someone ‘comes clean’ and confesses a lie.

    After all, there’s nothing like a change to our reality to knock our confidence!


    How do we feel when we tell a lie?  When we tell a lie there are all kinds of physiological and physical changes that occur.  Body language is a great indicator of our secrets and lies.  However we also know that these things, such as maintaining eye contact, and being assertive can be enforced to make the lie appear more convincing.

    What can never be overcome is your conscience.  You, and perhaps you alone, knows the depth and gravity of the lie told, and that is your penalty.  Telling children that Santa exists is a lie, however not many people carry guilt for this.   Lying to your partner about how healthy the family finances are when actually you’re facing bankruptcy is far more likely to carry more guilt.

    Only you can decide where your boundaries are between truth and lies, however it is foolish to think that just because you can convince others of your lies / alternative realities, that you can convince yourself.  You can’t, and never will.  Just as Lance Armstrong is realising now, in the face of his children defending his reputation built on lies and financial ruin, his internal gauge has made him admit to lying.


    If, when telling a lie we should refer to our conscience, then, when suspecting a lie we should rely on our intuition.  Intuition is also known as ‘gut instinct’.  The reason for this is that there is a cluster of neurons in the stomach which are more advanced and sensitive than the neurons in our brain.  So your gut really is telling you something.  Intuition is made up of our life experiences as well as natural instincts (fight, flight, frolic).  If you’re gut tells you something is ‘off’ it probably is.

    However that’s not to say you have it right.  What I mean is, you may be right that something is not quite 100% in what someone is telling you, (for example, kid’s always question Santa’s existence) but that doesn’t mean that you have latched onto the motive behind the lie.  And this is the tricky part.  Your partner may tell you they have been somewhere and you suspect a lie, however their motive may be about organising a surprise for you rather than them having an affair.

    Suspecting a lie is tricky as it engages our imagination, and unfortunately, our imaginations are extremely powerful things.  At times like this, it is important to remember that you control your imagination – your thoughts, feelings and behaviours – so choose them wisely, and respond in a way that you will look back and feel proud of, regardless of the outcome.


    LISTEN.  After you have confessing to a lie, let the other party speak and listen to what they have to say, how they feel and what they need.

    Confessing a lie isn’t easy.  If you are the one confessing, think about what you want the outcome of your confession to be and put in place the suggestions and building blocks that you feel would help you gain back trust from the other person.  Let them know you are ready to listen and give them what they need.

    LISTEN.  If you are hearing someone admit to a lie, listen to them.  They are vulnerable and most likely ashamed and defensive. If possible, in these situations, explain how you feel without blame (start sentences with “I feel…”), and ask questions about why the need for the lie and how they would like things to move forwards.

    Finally, take time away to digest, think, and feel.  Even with your child, it is important that you have the time and opportunity to explore how you feel about being lied to by them.


    A child confessing they did break the next door neighbours’ window, versus a partner confessing to having a child with someone else have very different outcomes in terms of time and emotions as well as implications and consequences.  However, all confessions will change the dynamic of any relationship.  The end goal should always be kept in sight.  Is the shared desire one that the relationship builds on this new found truth, and that steps are taken to explain and rebuild trust.  Or is it that whilst the confession is appreciated, the damage is too much, the person’s identity too change for there to be a way back.

    Be aware that some confessions are brought about not to try to resolve the issue and move forwards together, but actually to create such a gap between the parties involved that there can be no way back.  And this is why it is so important to listen when a confession is made, because it is not always about building that first step towards reconciliation, but is in actual fact about trying to create an end and irreparable damage through the abolition of trust.

    5. THE TRUTH

    To this end I am reminded of the quote “The truth will always set you free.”

    And I believe this to be true.  It will set you free to be who you really are and accepting of yourself, and if necessary, it will set you free from relationships and situations that perhaps are no longer right for you.  And in turn, these changes will bring about a more in depth understanding of yourself and from that your confidence will grow and soar!

    As always, we come back to choice, so make your choices wisely and authentically.

    Lydia x

    Confidence Coach

    Velvet Evolution

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