26 Jan Adults cry wolf too
In the last blog I shared one of Aesop’s Fables. Aesop was a slave and storyteller who lived in ancient Greece and the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf lead to the English idiom (a group of words with a specific meaning that isn’t obvious from the words alone) ‘to cry wolf’ which means ‘to give a false alarm’. And, of course, this is attributed to the little boy in the story who lied about a wolf attacking sheep to the point where the event actually happened, but nobody believed him anymore.
“Oh, what a tangled web we weave…when first we practice to deceive.” Walter Scott, Marmion
Meeting your need to be significant
I shared the story because I have seen a lot of children crying wolf to get attention and many using bad behaviours – not just lying with words – to fulfil their need for significance.
One thing that is even more worrying is that adults cry wolf too. What do I mean by this, why do adults tell lies? Well, when the behaviour of seeking attention carries into adulthood it’s a negative behaviour that has become a habit and by this time it’s more difficult to break. Of course, it’s doable with the right techniques, but it’s concerning all the same and I’ve come across this situation too.
I felt it was important to share another story to illustrate this issue so that you can look out for any signals that this might be happening, either to you or in someone you know.
Adults cry wolf too
Accusing a friend or a grown up of abuse or bullying or inappropriate behaviour when they do or say something you don’t like, so that you can throw an accusation to scare them or get them to back off, when it’s not true, is a form of crying wolf.
I remember years ago, a young lady who attended a youth club I helped to run, accused one of the volunteers of touching her inappropriately. The consequences were horrendous, to the point where the police became involved and it went to court. In the end it was found to not be true, which was the right verdict, but do you know what the sad part about the whole situation was? Sometimes incorrect rumours stick and it’s really hard for the person who’s been accused of something they didn’t do to shake if off their character.
What’s heart-breaking for me is when I witness this sort of behaviour, even though it’s bad behaviour, I absolutely know that each and every child, youngster and adult who shows this bad behaviour is the most amazing person deep down.
Let me repeat that again because I know that sounds a little odd and is the opposite to what is being witnessed by the behaviour.
Every single child, young person or adult who shows bad behaviour, makes false claims and accusations, or cries wolf is the most amazing person deep down.
Is an amazing person who feels under-valued, not cared about, less than their true worth or who doesn’t feel in control of their world because it feels unsafe to them in some way, really a bad person?
“No legacy is so rich as honesty.” William Shakespeare
Why do people tell lies?
What we are seeing on the outside is passive aggressive controlling behaviour. This is what we talked about in last week’s blog and what was happening with Peter. He didn’t feel in control because he was bored, left alone and wanted connection. His way of getting this was to cry wolf.
The concerning aspect is when you show this behaviour, especially if it has become a habit, unforeseen and unintended consequences often happen for other people involved. And that’s a really bad situation for everybody.
OK, the chances of you being eaten by a wolf in this day and age are slim, but making accusations that are not true, even though they might feel good (to you) in the moment, could seriously come back to bite you – pun intended!
Besides the impact that it has on the person who gets into trouble, which is never a nice thing when you’re on the receiving end, but if and when it becomes clear that you were not telling the truth, especially when it’s not the first time, wow… this looks really bad – on you.
Any trust or credibility that you had instantly disappears – is flushed down the toilet. No-one wants to be around somebody who is a liar or a cheat because they simply can’t be trusted. Would you want lies to be spread about you? No! So, why would you hang out with somebody that did that, or worse still, lie yourself?
“I never lie because I don’t fear anyone. You only lie when you’re afraid.” John Gotti
YOU lose out big time
What starts to happen is that people reject those using bad behaviour in the sense that Peter wasn’t believed so he was eventually ignored. That led to him spending time up the tree, cowering from the wolf and whimpering by himself. He suffered the consequences. So did the sheep. And the farmers who lost their sheep!
The tragic lesson from crying wolf is that in the end nobody will believe anything you say. Trust and respect are lost and you are no longer valued by others. Think how this would feel? It would be lonely, frustrating, sad – and this is how anxiety and depression can set in, due to low self-worth and feelings of not being good enough.
What can you do to not cry wolf?
Decide right now that you will be the one who stops being a victim and instead, become a visionary. Can you imagine that? Going from victim to visionary? Be the one who can see where it might lead if lies get out of hand and decide ‘this is not who I am, I’ll be the person who is bigger and better than that.’
Walk away from situations rather than accuse people or lie about something because that’s the coward’s way and it has negative consequences. Say nothing when there’s nothing to say or tell the truth when the truth needs to be told.
Stand up for those who are falsely accused and become a hero and a role model for what’s right. Build a reputation for being authentic, consistent in your words and actions, and remember that actions do speak louder than words. Have good integrity in your character, so you get to live your life to your full potential and become a leader – achieve your aspirations.
When you tell the truth you can’t get found out and that’s what I love – it’s so much easier because you haven’t got to remember what version of the story you told because there’s only one version and that’s the truth.
Decide today to stop being a liar or a cheat or a bully and become a beautiful bright and bold backer of what’s right. Build people up, bolster their self-worth and better your corner of the world.
“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world would do this, it would change the earth.” William Faulkner
Choose the life you want to lead
You are an amazing human. Let the world see your brightness and the good that you are able to share. And if this is not you but it is somebody that you know please do share this blog and the message with them.
Connect with us on social media and let them know they are an amazing human being and that you want to see them shine brightly too.
Stride forth and share some brightness. Stand firm and keep the wolves away.