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You try to guard yourself from all the hurt, and yet it manages to find you…

I’ve been hurting, but I’m not quite sure why. I feel like I have lost something but I can’t put my finger on anything particular. I’ve thought a lot and I think I may finally have an answer.

Yesterday I found out that someone lied to me, and it made me sad. I don’t really know this someone that well, nor do they hold a significant place in my life. Only we can give people the power to hurt us – I believe that. When we love someone, or care about someone, we automatically give them this power. But this person means nothing to me, or I to them. I did not give this person the power to hurt me. It’s the knowledge that I was lied to that seems to have hit a sensitive nerve within me.

The way I see it, we only lie in two situations. We either love someone and want to protect them from the truth. Or because the lie is simply convenient for us. I suppose there could be people who are habitual liars and lie for the thrill of it. But for most ordinary people, the first two conditions hold. This someone lied to me because it was convenient.

The thing, though, is that when you lie simply because it’s better for you to withhold truth you are insulting the person who’s being lied to, especially when the truth affects them directly; when knowing the truth would have changed any or all of the decisions they made. The insult may not be intentional but that doesn’t disqualify it. And I think that is what’s hurting me. I feel insulted. My pride is what I lost, even if momentarily. As much as I can help it, I don’t lie. If at all I do, it is to protect someone I love. I’d never lie to someone for the sheer convenience of it. So when I get lied to, it seems unfair. But the world is unfair, I daresay.

I’ve become indifferent to a lot of things over the years. I have come to expect nothing from people around me. I don’t judge, I give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I have become as understanding and forgiving as reason would allow. But dishonesty has no justification when the underlying intention is to fool or beguile someone. Honesty, then, is the one thing I still expect from people. And what really hurts is the thought that should I give up that too if I want to go through life unscathed? There’s hurt either way. So I’ll hold on to the honesty, and accept the hurt that comes from others’ dishonesty. At least that way I’ll know who deserves a place in my life.

Photo taken by my dear friend, Madhu!