I recently discovered the existence of a kind of lie I had never noticed before. It’s sort of a negative lie : you lie about something, but you’re not trying to make yourself look better than you are. It’s actually quite the opposite. Let’s take an example where you are with someone and about to do something scary, say, jump off a cliff. You might have already done it in the past, but it’s still scary to you. You can lie and say that you never did it before, and that relieves pressure off of your shoulders as you now have the right to take it slowly, even not to do it if you don’t want to. I noticed that this type of lie doesn’t give me a lot of feelings : I don’t feel particularly bad or stressed out because of it.
On the other hand, there are lies where you give yourself more credit than you actually possess. For example, lying about having a certain skill, knowledge or knowing a certain person. These are quite classical lies, and when I practice them, I experience two feelings. First, I have a rush of adrenaline while I deliver the lie. And second, I feel constrained by that lie for the foreseeable future. I need to make sure that I will never betray myself in front of that person, and that’s quite a burden.
I noticed that the feeling I experience when delivering this second kind of lie is actually pretty close to doing something scary like jumping off a cliff. And I think these two experiences are actually somewhat related.
I think the first type of lie is a way to remain within my comfort zone : I don’t feel the adrenaline rush because I don’t pass through the limits of my comfort zone and I stay where I feel safe. I have mental barriers (fears, beliefs, rules, social pressure, …) that would be difficult to go over, and I prefer remaining a comfy prisoner.
When I do something like jumping off a cliff, I actually go from being a comfy prisoner to pushing through a certain mental barrier and freeing myself of that barrier. This transition is what feels like a rush of adrenaline.
When I use a type II lie, I give in to some internal or external pressure and I prefer to go back to being a comfy prisoner. I experience the same adrenaline rush when I pass through the mental barrier, but going in direction of the prison.
The long term constraint I feel afterward is actually the presence of this newly acquired mental barrier : I feel that I have surrendered to a belief that will in part cripple my freedom.
It is a useful compass to be able to point to a specific feeling and identify it as the process of emprisonment beneath mental barriers.
It turns out, we can go through this circle of fire in either direction.