Jessica Son, Staff Writer

  When people lie, the usual immediate response is a twist in their gut. People usually feel guilty and overthink everything that happens after a lie. Most people try to tell the truth but only when it’s comfortable for them. When the situation turns disadvantageous for an individual, the individual may resort to lies instead of the truth.

  What is truth? It’s not something that can be proven all the time. If someone says, “I like pie,” no one can really say that it’s true or false. An individual’s truth is only known by the individual. But what if someone doesn’t know their truth? What if they don’t know what they are exactly feeling or thinking?

  Truth, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is the body of real things, events and facts. Real events and real facts are obviously true because someone can prove them. Someone can take photos and say, “Look! I went to a wedding.” Someone can say, “I am 15 years old,” and it could be proved with their birth certificate. However, there are other statements in the gray area that are still inherently true.

  Another definition of truth is a judgement, proposition or idea that is true or accepted as true. The key phrase in this definition is “accepted as true.” If society recognizes something to be true, then does it automatically become true? If every person on this earth suddenly believed that the color blue is the best, would it be true? For each individual, it would be true, because they believe it to be true. However, what if one person on the earth believed that the color yellow was the best? Then, the phrase, “The color blue is the best,” wouldn’t apply to everybody. Therefore, this definition of truth only applies to the individual because unless it is true for everyone, general statements can usually be proven false by an opposing statement.

  Finally, Merriam-Webster also provides the definition of truth as sincerity in action, character and utterance. People telling each other that they love them could be true if they were sincere. The proof would be in their character, actions and what they say. When people give each other gifts and tell each other that they truly love them, it would pass as truth. However, in this case, love can be portrayed differently based on one’s character. People can give each other gifts and say that they love them but not truly be filled with love for them. On the other hand, some people may not be able to give gifts or verbalize their emotions, but they may still be filled with true love for someone.

  Then what is a lie? Usually, when people lie, they tell the opposite of the truth. Through lying, people say untrue things and say false things about real-life events. This is commonly seen in children when they insist that they didn’t have an extra cookie, or that they weren’t the ones to break the window. But if truth can have a gray area, then lies can have gray areas as well. An individual’s truth is only known by the individual, but that means someone can lie and get away with it all the time. So why do people get caught when they lie?

  Some lies can be proven false. Consider the statement, “I didn’t knock over the straws.” If there is a witness that can prove that they did, in fact, knock over the straws, this becomes false. However, if someone doesn’t know if they knocked over the straws or not but says they didn’t, then this would be false. The statement is untrue because it’s not the entire truth. The person does not truly know, so the truth would be that they don’t know. A sentence does not have to be the opposite of the truth to be a lie.

  Other lies can’t be proven false. People can’t make inferences about each individual’s opinions and feelings. The more transparent people are, the easier it is to decide for oneself if a person is lying. However, people cannot truly have access to their exact emotions, especially if the individual is unsure as well. Lying is not just false statements about an event. It could be in the form of lying to oneself about what they truly feel, or it could be lies mixed with a little truth.

  Truth and lies do not have hard, rigid definitions because the words themselves are general and leave a lot of room for a gray area. Some statements can’t be proven true or false, and only the individual knows whether it’s true for them or not. However, even if they cannot be proven, telling the truth still promotes a trusting environment, and people feel better after telling the truth as well. No matter how uncertain people are about their own truth and lies, in most cases, the obvious truth should be said. Saying the truth can be rewarding and help relationships to grow and mature. While it may be difficult to always tell the truth, true efforts will lead to a more trusting world.