Is There Justification for Lying to Cancer Patients

In Breast Cancer, Recent Posts by Barbara Jacoby

I personally believe that there is no justification for lying. Others believe that it is okay to tell “little white lies” in certain circumstances and some believe that it is okay to lie in order to protect yourself or to advance yourself in business or in personal situations where they don’t want to “hurt somebody”. I don’t agree.

Now I must say that as a kid and in growing up, I lied. I was afraid to get into trouble with my parents and have to suffer the consequences. But, as an adult, I don’t lie. Yes, I don’t lie – ever. It has gotten me into trouble on more than one occasion but regardless of the outcome in any of these situations, I was able to walk away with pride in myself for having upheld my principles and in every case, the other person or people knew for sure that they could trust that whatever I said was the truth.

” It is so much easier to live by the golden rule, respect others and do nothing that is harmful to another. Barbara Jacoby

What would ever justify my lying? I just can’t think of anything. If I made a mistake on the job, for instance, I believe that I needed to own up to it, apologize if warranted and do my best to fix the situation and not repeat the error. And I have never found that any mistake that I made was big enough for my bosses to consider firing me. In those situations where my bosses have requested that I lie about something in order to protect them, I won’t do it and if I am asked to do something that is against my personal principles, I refuse.

If that got me fired from a job, I will do what I need to do in order to inform those higher up on the ladder about the circumstances involving such an incident but if my employment is predicated on my lying, I am in the wrong position. And I have found that whenever I was honest, it brought me more respect from others than my successfully lying my way out of any situation could have ever produced.

The more that I thought about it, I was not able to come up with any justification to lie to a cancer patient. I would not want anyone to ever do that with me as it would take away my right to know everything that I could possibly know in order to make an honest assessment about my own situation. After all, it is my life!

In personal situations, I apply the same principle. If you ask me a question, I will give you an honest answer. That doesn’t mean that I can’t find a way to respond in a way that is not a personal attack on someone else or to reply with an answer that is demeaning to someone else. And if I have done something that undermines the relationship that I have with someone else then I need to own it, do whatever I can to fix the situation and to understand that if that is not enough, then I will have to suffer the consequences if the other person no longer wants to associate with me.

I don’t want to ever put myself into that position. It is so much easier to live by the golden rule, respect others and do nothing that is harmful to another. What also happens is that if I pay someone a compliment or tell them what a great job they have done or express how grateful I am for something positive that they have done for me, that person knows that I really mean what I am saying and therefore it is much more meaningful to them. The way I see it, the end result will always be a win-win situation.