Live by the harmless untruths that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy. — Kurt Vonnegut.
Ah yes, the little white lie. I’m all for it. You’re haircut looks great! The party was a blast! No, I don’t mind doing you a favor at all!
Life is indeed nicer with harmless untruths like those.
But this quote also makes an argument for what I think of as benign denial.
I grew up in a family mired in unhealthy denial, which convinced me that denial must be avoided at all costs. Denial can be a terrible problem. It keeps people in unhealthy relationships, reassures them that lung cancer only happens to other people, causes financial ruin, and all kinds of other bad things.
But there are other kinds of denial that are no big deal.