As nice as it would be to live in a world where everyone is honest and transparent, the truth is, we have a long way to go with that still as a species. Something that can really help you on your journey is being able to distinguish between a lie and a truth. It is good to learn the ways to identify a lie NOW so that you don’t have to learn the hard way through experience later.
We all have an intuition and a built-in mechanism of discernment that allows us to distinguish between a lie and a truth. Knowing if someone is lying is generally easy to do. The hard part is knowing what to do about. How do you manage the feeling of being deceived? Should you say anything to them? How do you bring it up to them?
If you do bring it up to them, you run the risk of hurting them or embarrassing them. If you don’t bring it up, you have a feeling of dissonance inside you which pollutes your soul. You may also develop resentment to them down the line. And hey, maybe they will resent you one day for not calling them out on it to help them out.
So what is the proper way to call someone out when they are lying to you? Here are some good places to start:
1) Ask them the same question in a different way, implying you know that they are lying
Let’s say you want to know where your partner was last night because they got home extra late after work. You may ask something like “Hey why were you late today?” And they may say “Traffic was support awful coming home today. Went through a couple accidents”. At this point, if you know they are lying, you may want to ask a follow up question:
“Are you sure there isn’t anything else you did that made you late?”
At this point, you may get an answer like “Well I felt a bit hungry so I stopped off at a restaurant and got some food and a beer”. And then if you feel you are not getting the full truth still, continue to ask more questions.
There will come a point at which you know for certain they are lying, and that they will know you are aware they are lying. This is a great place to start with confronting someone.
2) Tell them you know they aren’t being honest, letting them know they are loved and it’s ok
Sometimes people lie out of fear. They are scared of what you think about them, scared to be vulnerable, scared to own up to their mistakes, and scared to look bad in front of people they want recognition from.
Maybe they need to put on a front to compensate for insecurities they have about themselves from being bullied in the past, or maybe they are really struggling with someone and want others to think they are ok. Have compassion on them, and let them know you love them and support them as a person.
Make it really clear to them that you are not here to judge them or condemn them for lying, but you just want to hear the truth. Then proceed to tell them that you can sense they aren’t being fully truthful with you and that you want them to feel comfortable being honest and open with you.
Don’t feel scared or intimidated to call someone out for lying to you or deceiving you. You have every right to confront them about it and question them, but lay an energetic foundation of understanding and acceptance before you bring it up to them.
3) Create a container
Sometimes peoples lies are rooted into extremely deep feelings of self-hate and feelings of worthlessness and need to be dealt with carefully. When confronting them about their lies, be sensitive to the fact that they are probably lying out of pain.
People only ever lie out of fear. Create a container for them by making them feel comfortable physically within their environment when you are talking to them. Don’t try to dominate them or interrogate them. Approach them at a time when they are relaxed such as after work or watching television.
Make sure you aren’t rushed or busy when you are confronting them so you can be fully present with them. Set the intention for how you want the experience to go before you start communicating to them.
A big part of calling people out on their lying is creating a physical and energetic container that both of you feel comfortable within to ensure that you remain energetically/psychologically stable and they feel safe being vulnerable with you.
We may feel its not our place to call people out for their lies, but sometimes we actually have a moral responsibility to ourselves and to the other person to demand the truth from them. It’s your place to know the truth and to respect yourself enough to know you deserve better than to be lied to. It’s just a matter of balancing that with compassion and an understanding that they are lying out of fear and pain.