May 31, 2023
The Art of Self-Deception/ Lies We Whisper Within
By: Carly P. BASc
We all know that lying to others isn’t a nice thing to do but it is amazing how often we lie to ourselves on a daily basis.1 We craft narratives to shield ourselves from uncomfortable truths, embracing our own tapestry of lies that offer solace and preserve our fragile sense of self. They can be that our worth is determined by external factors, the all-too-familiar excuse of being “too busy” or believing that we have an abundance of time. We’re all guilty of believing the whispered claims of, “I’m not judgmental” or the mirage of a better life waiting just beyond our grasp. We’ll unravel six lies we tell ourselves that can have a negative effect on us. Understanding each one and uncovering how they impact our lives can be a powerful way to enact personal change.
Lie # 1: My worth is determined by…
We construct narratives and tell ourselves certain lies that shape our perception of who we are and what we deserve. Humans have an innate desire to feel valued and accepted by others. Whether it be education, career, appearance, social standings etc., people believe their worth is determined by their achievements. These lies serve as shields, protecting us from the vulnerability of potential rejection or failure. Our worth is not determined by anything materialistic we have or any title we possess. It comes from within and is determined by the happiness and peace we feel, the empathy and compassion we show to others, and the impact we make on those around us.
Lie # 2 : It’s too late.
To make it to the doctor’s appointment that started 15 minutes ago? Maybe. To redirect your life for the better? Never! Of course it can be daunting to make lifestyle changes, big or small. Once we reach a certain level of wisdom and life experience, we are more in tune with the risks and hurdles that stand between us and our goals. Often we convince ourselves it’s too late to make a change to avoid taking risks or confronting our deepest desires.This particular lie stems from a fear of change and uncertainty. We convince ourselves that the opportunity has passed, giving us a convenient excuse to remain in our comfort zones. In 2007, a 95 year-old woman from Kansas graduated from college, so embrace the infinite possibilities that lie ahead!
Setting goals is crucial for achieving what you want as it provides a clear direction and purpose, helping you stay focused and motivated throughout your journey. By breaking down your aspirations into actionable objectives, you can track your progress and make necessary adjustments, ensuring a productive and fulfilling path towards your desired outcomes.
Lie # 3: I’ll do _____ later.
The all too familiar, “I’ll do it later” is a convenient lie we tell ourselves to procrastinate and avoid immediate action. By postponing tasks or responsibilities, we momentarily relieve ourselves of the pressure to act. Delaying important actions often leads to missed opportunities, increased stress, and a sense of unfulfillment. It could be going back to school, learning a skill, calling your mom, or mailing a letter that has been sitting on your counter for two weeks. “The trouble is you think you have time”, a wise quote by Buddha, is one we shouldn’t soon forget. Do it now, make a set plan to do it, or remove it from your list completely.2
To combat procrastination, it’s important to start by breaking tasks into smaller, manageable steps. Set specific deadlines for each step and create a schedule or to-do list to prioritize tasks. It helps to eliminate distractions by creating a conducive environment, practicing time management techniques, and using productivity tools like timers or website blockers.
Lie # 4: I am not a judgmental person.
Of course you are! It would be weird if you weren’t. It’s human nature to judge the things around us. According to research, it has been concluded that we reach our first conclusion in less than one second (3). It’s how we learn about others, ourselves, and the world. Thinking you are not judgmental serves as a protective facade we create to avoid confronting our own biases and prejudices. We want to present ourselves in a positive light and maintain a self-image of open-mindedness and acceptance. Instead of perpetuating the lie of being non-judgmental, let's strive for self-reflection, recognize our biases, and actively work towards being more open-minded.
Lie # 5: Life will be better when…
You could probably finish this sentence many different ways. When I lose weight. When I get married. When I get that promotion. When I have more money. What if it’s not better then? Even if it is, it’s likely it won’t be long before that sentence replays in your head but with a different ending. By convincing ourselves that happiness lies just beyond the horizon, we overlook the importance of finding joy and gratitude in the present.
The truth is that true contentment and fulfillment come from within, not from external circumstances. Make this moment as beautiful as you can, as it’s all you’re guaranteed. Living in the moment allows us to fully embrace and appreciate the present, fostering a sense of mindfulness and deepening our connection with the world around us. By savoring the present experiences, we can find joy, reduce stress, and cultivate a greater sense of gratitude for the simple pleasure life has to offer.
Lie # 6: I’m too busy.
The familiar phrase, “”I’m too busy” is a common lie we tell ourselves to justify our inability or unwillingness to prioritize certain tasks or commitments. It provides us with a convenient excuse to avoid taking on additional responsibilities or engaging in activities that may require effort or discomfort. We make time for what we feel is most important, and we’re fortunate to be able to choose where we invest our time. If you say, “I would love to try ___ but I'm just too busy” you probably just don’t want it badly enough (4). So let’s attempt to stop believing we’re too busy and strive to make better use of our time.
Let’s work on our self-worth and begin to tell ourselves we are inherently valuable, deserving of love, and worthy of self-acceptance. We need to explore the lies we tell ourselves with a compassionate lens and recognize our vulnerabilities. It’s time to stop believing we’ll do it later, we’re not judgmental, and we’re too busy for new adventures. An authentic self is your best self! Denial is a mechanism we use for self protection and a false sense of security (5). It’s time to be honest with yourself and dive into some self reflection. What else do you lie to yourself about? Get out a journal and write it out. What a gift to be able to embrace our beautifully flawed selves!