Jay Rifenbary

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Deceit - An Emotional Wrecking Ball

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Have you ever been deceived? Being on the receiving end of deceit is emotionally and physically devastating. Deceit is defined as, “cause (someone) to believe something that is not true, typically in order to gain some personal advantage.” Deceit is a violation of the goodness of the human spirit and breeds distrust. This behavioral trait is the ultimate example of human indecency. To take advantage of another’s needs, fears, and vulnerabilities demonstrates a lack of individual character that is destructive and victimizing. Homer stated, “Hateful to me as are the gates of hell, is he who, hiding one thing in his heart, utters another. “

There have been incidents in my own life where I have been the victim of deceitful people, scams, false promises and the emotional and financial damage that followed. It certainly diminished my capacity to trust those I conduct personal and professional business with. Being the victim of deceit takes a substantial toll on your sense of self-respect and self-worth. It creates a personal questioning of your skills, intelligence and potential for future success. As with all failures and disappointments it also provides an opportunity to learn, mature, and become emotionally tougher. It educates you in the importance of being analytical, and doing your due diligence prior to making important decisions. It is when you do not conduct your due diligence, with those you deal with, that results in the potential for being a victim of deceit. In addition, it is when you allow emotion to override logic that opens the door to being deceived.

Although the deceiver may be proud of his deception, what goes around comes around. The timeless cliché of “you reap what you sew” is the ultimate punishment for those who deceive. They will eventually suffer in this world or the next. An individual who deceives has little, if any, personal character. It violates personal honesty and although the deceiver may gain monetarily or materially from the deception, the gain is without integrity and therefore diminishes any genuine self-respect they may have. As Benjamin Franklin so candidly stated, “Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don’t have brains enough to be honest.”

You also tend to punish yourself when you have been taken advantage of, for you believe you should have known better. It is understandable, but it is usually after the fact where the realization that a deception has occurred. I have always been one to give others the benefit of the doubt, but that has certainly changed over the years. Who can you trust? It is a question that should be reflected on often. It is important to monitor your personal and business relationships, and align with those who share your common core values. Validating those values goes beyond what you hear from them. They are revealed by behavior, facts and figures. How do people live with themselves who deceive? They tuck away the truth, but it is always there to poison their soul. Deceit is a lie without accountability, and one cannot be more personally dishonest than that.

There are those who enjoy the hunt to deceive. It provides a false sense of intelligence and cleverness for the deceiver, and yet never fills the true void that exists within that individual. The noted English poet and biographer Robert Southey stated, “All deception in the course of life is indeed nothing else but a lie reduced to practice, and falsehood passing from words into things.”

Five keys to preventing deception both personally and professionally include, * Do your homework in regard to researching the person, service, and/or product presented. As we have all heard, if it appears too good to be true it probably is. * Listen to the opinion of those you love and trust. A different perspective is always helpful. * Trust your intuition and put common sense before emotion and spontaneity. * Explore the personal need and/or fear you may have that creates your potential vulnerability to be deceived. For example, if you have a need to be appreciated you will be vulnerable to those who, or those things, that satisfy that need. * Reflect on what you have in your life rather than what you do not have. As English playwright Sir Noel Coward noted, “It is discouraging how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.”



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