A Yom Kippur Activity

Recently, someone I know said something very smart: that whenever you stop listening to what someone is saying, you’re deceiving them. Meaning that if they’re speaking to you, and you’re nodding along but internally you’ve checked out, then pretending to listen to them is actually a form of lying (not to mention a waste of their energy and breath).

This really stuck with me – and helped me better understand other, similar forms of deceit. So if you’re looking for something to change this year, consider the little ways that you may be deceiving people:

- If you break a promise to someone, or don’t follow through on it fully, then that promise was a form of deceit (and a potential source of stress for them, if they need to make up for what you were going to do).

- If you make plans with someone and then flake, then that is a form of deceit (and a waste of the block of time they set aside for you).

- If you apologize for something but don’t change your behavior, or claim to accept someone’s apology when there’s more that needs to be said, then that is a form of deceit (and an abuse of that person’s trust and vulnerability, and possibly an enabler of more unhealthy behavior on their part).

Everyone knows deceit is an act you want to think long and hard about before performing, but we let ourselves get sloppy with little things like plans and apologies. We rationalize things to make our own lives easier: He won’t notice, she won’t mind, it’ll all blow over anyway. What little things do you do to deceive people? What makes you do them, and are you able to overcome that? What is one form of deceit that you can realistically eliminate from your interactions this year?

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