You are a liar. It probably started around 3 or 4 years old. You were having a blast playing with your toys, and then suddenly without warning, your parents were all, “time to clean up,” and you were pissed. Here you are enacting an extremely dramatic plot twist between your dolls and action figures, and your rents go pulling things out of your hands and tossing them back into your toy box.  How dare they break the creative thought process mid-swing. You start glaring at them, locking them in your death stare, when your mother walks over and says the words that you know means she ain’t playin’, “you better fix your face.”

And just like that, it starts, you are forced to turn your frown upside down and express an emotion that you do not feel. They don’t tell you then, that this small maneuver will change the makeup of your brain for the rest of your life. That the echoes of mother’s voice will haunt you well into adulthood when your coworker gets a promotion, your best friend gets married, or your sister moves to the sunshine state. In each one of these situations, you have been trained, since childhood, that even if you aren’t happy for someone else, you had better fake it; fix your face.
(How do you decide what is and isn’t true? Check out Heather’s video and find out!)
These may be innocent lies, but they act as gateway drugs to the hard stuff. In 2002 Robert Feldmen found that the average person tells 2-3 lies per every 10 minutes of conversation. Other studies find that you yourself, are being lied to roughly 200x per day, and that your ability to detect deception has a pretty poor success rate of 54%. 

And by the way it is actually more difficult to detect lies in people who are close to us, as opposed to strangers. We want to believe our husbands when they say they were just held up at work, and so we convince ourselves it’s true. One of my favorite chapters to teach students is nonverbal communication. Ever heard that liars avoid eye contact? That’s a myth. Liars tend to give more eye contact than people who are telling the truth. This is because, unless you are a psychopath or sociopath, as you are lying, something inside your conscience is panicking. All you can think is, “I’m lying, I’m lying, I’m lying, I’m lying,” and in order to sell those lies, you try to over compensate. You stare your victim in the face and you watch to see if they are buying what you are selling. Also, a fun fact, liars tend to include more details in their stories than people who are telling the truth. We oversell, by overcompensating for the feelings in our guts that are causing us to sweat.

Basically if you are a human being, you are also a prolific liar. But why do we do this? Why do we lie to ourselves and others about who we really are or what we really think? Some experts say that we lie to avoid facing the truth, and that the lies we tell others, are actually mimics of the lies we tell ourselves. And so when people ask us how we are, we say things like, “I’m fine!” When they ask about our relationships we tell them “we couldn’t be happier,” and when they ask us what we are going to do with our lives we say, “we have it all figured out.”

The problem with all this is that lies cause stress. Lie detectors don’t detect lies, they detect the stress your body exhibits while you try and tell lies. In questionnaires, it’s been found that people who report lying less, also report better mental and physical health. They report improvements in their relationships, less trouble sleeping, less tension, fewer headaches, and fewer sore throats. 

Lies hurt our relationships. Dr. David Smith says, “One thing we deceive ourselves about is that we’re lying to protect others’ feelings. That’s not usually true. We often lie because we want another person to love us—we’re trying to protect ourselves from others’ disappointment, anger, or abandonment.” But here is the thing, while we assume that circumventing the truth will keep others closer to us, the more frequently we withhold information from them, the more isolated we may end up feeling. Studies show that keeping secrets also keeps us from intimacy. It makes us feel less committed and less content with a relationship. Essentially the same lies we tell in order to keep someone loving us, end up distancing us, from the same people we wish to be close to.

So that dirty little secret you are keeping from your partner, and the truth about your relationship that 
you have been withholding from your parents, those lies aren’t helping you, they are hurting you. 
They are causing you to mentally isolate yourself from the same people you desperately need.

So today, I am going to tell you something you may have never heard; you don’t always have to fix 
your face. Pretending is exhausting, but the truth will set you free.  
Heather is the author of 5 Christian books including Life AfterEden available now.

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