Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher

Is there truth in dishonesty?


In answer to the question, “How many times should you forgive someone?” Buddhist monk Ajahn Brahm replied, “Always one more time.”

I enjoy RSA Animate discussions. Supported by caricature-like sketches, speakers present complex issues in simple and understandable ways.

This morning, I watched a fascinating presentation by Dan Ariely from November 2012, “The truth about dishonesty”.  Towards the end of the presentation he gives 3 rationalizations why confession, as practiced in the Catholic church, might work.

One, the thought of having to confess acts as a deterrent. As in, I think about robbing a bank but then I’ll feel icky about myself and even worse, I’ll  have to go tell the priest what I did and he’ll think badly of me.

Two, after confession you feel good about yourself and want to hold onto that feeling for a little while longer.

Three, confession allows for a new page to be turned. When we’ve behaved badly, and we all have the capacity to behave badly under the right circumstances says Ariely, confession allows us to wipe the slate clean and begin again. This is particularly true for those who have forgotten they ahve the capacity to do good and adopted the ‘what the hell’ theory of living — I may as well be bad as I’m going to hell anyway. Through confession they are able to ask for forgiveness, make amends and move forward believing once again in their natural goodness.

But what if you’re not the one who did a ‘bad’ thing. What if you’re the one to whom badness happened? What have you got to confess?

Perhaps in those instances it is not confession that creates the space for moving forward but forgiveness.

Holding onto unforgiveness is sticky business. It keeps us swimming in the sea of unease, constantly fighting the current of our natural goodness.

Unforgiveness keeps pain alive.

Forgiveness is like confession. It clears the soul and makes room for our natural goodness to shine.

Beyond forgiving one more time is the space where thoughts of forgiveness no longer arise because in the space where our natural goodness shines, there is no longer any need to forgive.

Author: Louise Gallagher

I believe in wonder. I believe we are all magnificent beings of divine beauty. I believe we can make a difference in this world, through every act, word, thought. I believe we create ripples with everything we do and say and want to inspire everyone to use their ripple to create a better world for everyone. I'm grateful you're here.

12 thoughts on “Is there truth in dishonesty?

  1. I just wrote (then deleted) a long heartbroken comment about my a relative who, when I said, “Can we just forgive each other?” said, “I’ve done nothing that needs forgiving, but I do accept your apology.” Argh!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I read somewhere that. being angry with someone, or not forgiving would be the same, is like eating poison and expecting the other person to die.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. forgiveness..” accept the apology you never got”, lol. Problem for me is, I have totally convinced myself that I have forgiven and something rears up which shows me I ‘d been deceiving myself.. sort of ties in with your dishonesty theme

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I just watched that video, it’s amazing! Reminds me of that quote that goes something like: Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t make it right. ❤
    Diana xo

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I hate forgiving people! It’s almost as bad as saying “I’m sorry” or “I was wrong.” I will try to work on it, though. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. When you forgive someone you do it for you not for them, well that is how I see it forgiving doesn’t mean condoning it just means you are letting go of something and moving on.

    Liked by 1 person

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