When Lying Becomes a Virtue
– Sidra Mansoor
We all know how bad it is to lie about anything in our personal and professional lives. All our lives we’ve been told to be honest no matter what it takes. We grow up hearing our elders say how honesty is the best policy and how it saves you from the trouble a lie could cause you. But what we are never told is when a lie becomes a necessity and when should it be appreciated and not construed as an immoral act. Sure, lying to get out of trouble or benefit yourself is by all means an immoral wrong, but think about all those situations when your brutally honest opinion or a simple truthful answer can cause someone a great deal of emotional or psychological harm.
If honesty is the best policy and being true all the time is morally and ethically obligatory, why are we expected to say “Yes, grandmother I loved the sweater you sent me on my birthday, I wear it to school all the time”, when in reality, you don’t like it at all? And why in such a situation, when we choose to be the brutally honest person we’ve been taught to become all our lives, we get lectured on how rude and impolite we were with the people around us.
The truth is, we all lie, even our parents do, even our friends do. It’s just that we don’t want to admit it that every time we chose an alternate version of reality to neutralize our opinion about something someone asked us to comment on, we lied there and then to spare them from feeling hurt by our merciless honesty.
It’s not criminal to lie about something only to protect the person you care about from feeling hurt or from undermining their abilities or giving up on something they have been working so hard to achieve, it’s rather thoughtful and considerate of us to care for them enough to afford them an answer that might end up making them happy after all.