I'm having a hard time dealing with guilt. I used to lie all of the time to everyone about everything as long as it was beneficial to me. This life got started wearing me down as I was constantly overwhelmed by guilt and found that I was losing my sense of who I really was. I decided not to lie anymore about a year ago. This has forced me to live a life where I act in accordance with my conscience, as I usually don't do things that I will want to lie about later. My problem is that every so often, I find myself lying to someone to save them from pain or sadness-- is this acting in harmony with my conscience? I can't tell whether there are situations in which it is okay to lie. Are there shades of grey when it comes to lying or is it a black and white issue? is it possible to lead a life without having to lie ever?
I'm not a moral authority, but I do believe it's okay to lie in certain situations. In some cases you need to withhold the truth to do the right thing and help people. In other cases, you can avoid having to lie by posing a question, choosing your words carefully, or making a joke. For instance, if my friend asks me if I like her dress and I really don't, I might say "it's not my favorite, but I like the [color] [design] [animals its made of]." I usually say I don't have a strong opinion either way which is the truth. Other times my friends might ask how a certain guy or girl feels about them. In that case I might say "who cares?" or "I'm pretty sure they hate you." With that said, I think there are times where honesty is appropriate even if it hurts someone's feelings. Example, your friend is humiliating or abusing someone else (a kid, a spouse, another family member). In those situations, the right thing to do is to confront the person, gently but assertively.
So which do you use? Honesty? Lying? Redirection? I say do whatever it is you're already doing. Guide yourself using your sense of compassion and wisdom. If your intentions are pure your actions will be pure even if you occasionally fuck up here and there. I commend you for making that big change in your life; that shows a lot of class.
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