Lies we tell ourselves

Kinley as a brand has always focused on themes involving trust, because in a way you trust them with your life when you decide to drink their water! Their most recent campaign is another case in point. The beautiful campaign stresses the importance of being truthful with the ones we love.

The ads feature kids telling their parents lies about their whereabouts but end up “confessing” for the sake of their peace of mind. The ad touches upon the emotional bond between parents and children and the importance of trust in it. It’s a big deal to break that trust, though at transaction-al level there seems to be very little to lose. The ads have definitely generated a lot of interest and has caught people’s attention because I have come across a few parodies and that’s one way to judge the public interest. One of them goes like this.

Boy: Dad, I told you that I am with a friend studying
Dad: yes?
Boy : I lied, I am having drinks with my friends
Dad : Why are you telling me now? 
Boy :I wasn’t getting high because I had lied

On a serious note, I think the ad takes Indian relationships to the next stage of evolution. Traditionally, the best way to ensure kids are on the right track was prohibition, so much similar to everything else in our society. However, we are turning a corner with many things and are getting it right on more fundamental level; bring in the internal moral compass. A kid should not break the trust of their parents because of fear of reprimand, but because it is wrong and I think the ad does a good job of showing that maturity.

The lies we tell people we trust are horrible, not because of their immediate effect, but their potential to break the trust that is far more valuable than the situation you are trying to salvage. Our conscience weighs on us, forcing us to blurt out the truth, and for a good reason. Our gut understands the value of upholding the trust as it forms the foundation of our relationships.

There is another class of lies that are dangerous equally, if not more. These are lies that we tell ourselves. And “trust” me we lie to ourselves more than anyone else because we are forever living with ourselves. The lies we tell ourselves can be in any form, can originate due to a variety of reasons, but in all cases these are things that take us away from who we are – they take away our authenticity. It can be a voice advising you in office that it’s dirty politics but sometimes we have to do it – so let’s play along and you do; or a voice telling you that this is how everyone is supposed to be and hence so should you when you don’t feel comfortable with it and yet you end up being that! You convince yourself to be what your gut tells you not to be.

It is far more common than you think though really subtle and usually influenced by people who are good and have noble intentions but end up hurting you deeply. As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions!

I have read sermons in the context of corporate lessons that being authentic has a value in the long run even if it means in short term you end up losing a little bit. It’s a good selling pitch but really unnecessary, authenticity is a reward in itself, it doesn't need any other crutch to sell it. Being truthful about you who are will form a stronger foundation of your life than pretty much anything else. It is far better to be happy and yourself than anything else, success, social status or any other form of social index is completely irrelevant. It’s easier said than done, as we have lived our lives forever bench-marking it based on others’ idea of success.

The way the kinley ad shows the next stage in the evolution of our relationships, moving on from prohibition to trust, we need to turn a leaf too. Take the target from success to happiness, from compliance to authenticity.

Your intellect determines where you start your life, being aware determines where you end.

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