This I Believe

Alexander - State College, Pennsylvania
Entered on May 2, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in the truth setting you free. When I was young I used to have no qualms with telling a lie to suit my purposes, whether my purposes were to get out of trouble, getting what I wanted, or to make myself look good. As I grew older and experienced more of life, I became swayed from the dark side to believe in the value of truth. I believe that lying builds you your own prison cell brick by brick, with each lie building on top of the other. As the esteemed Fox Mulder said, “The truth is out there.” I believe in finding the truth in yourself and everything around you.

A lot of my beliefs on truth hit home after reading “A Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger. In that novel, Holden Caufield continuously calls people “phony”. I always felt like I could see through people’s words and actions and easily see the truth behind their facades. His fears of becoming a phony like everyone he saw around him ran parallel to my own thoughts, and I identified strongly with the book. My realization was that to avoid being a phony like I so desperately wanted, I had to stay truthful. I believe a phony is someone who lies, not only to others but to himself. I then decided that to be able to respect myself and stand up for what I believe in, I had to end my practice of lying.

Since that time, I have kept true to my beliefs. No more do I tell lies. I don’t lie to myself when it comes to schoolwork. I used to tell myself “You can just do your homework tomorrow; it’s fine,” when I knew that wasn’t the case. I used to act different ways in different crowds to gain acceptance. No more. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that made me a phony. I used to accept seeing people tell me lies about their motives. For example, a good friend of mine is currently in a relationship with a very controlling and cruel woman. He has sacrificed control over his life to her. When I confronted him about this issue, he played it off like a slick politician. He insisted that wasn’t the case. He didn’t go to the bars anymore with his friends because he was giving plasma, or he had soccer tryouts, or whatever his phony excuse of the day was.

In the past I would have accepted what he said at face value. No more. I told him what the truth of the situation was to me, and I could see in his eyes he knew he was caught red handed. If you tell the truth, you are a happier person because you are being who you want to be. He is an example of what lying to yourself can get you into. I believe in the truth setting you free.