lies we tell ourselves

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“We lie best when we lie to ourselves.”

=

Stephen King

 

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“The worst lies are the lies we tell ourselves.

We live in denial of what we do, even what we think.

We do this because we’re afraid.” 

=

Richard Bach

————

 

 

 

Whew.

 

Lies we tell ourselves.

 

I guess we all do.

 

 

The most common lie?

 

“I’m fine” < http://brucemctague.com/i%E2%80%99m-fine  >.

 

 

 

But then I began thinking growing up sucks but fineabout all the other lies we tell ourselves.

 

 

And after doing some research <because I was curious> I am now sure we all do.

 

 

Heck.

 

A shitload of Psychologists write about this stuff.

 

I mean… c’mon … who would have ever thought we would lie so much … and to ourselves?

 

<not me>

 

 

 

Anyway.

 

There are some little lies and some big lies but I guess it doesn’t really matter. Lies are lies … and we tell a shitload of them to ourselves.

 

Read on … I just highlight the ones I had some thoughts of my own on.

 

Most of what is written is paraphrased from a variety of fairly well written sources <when it is real research I will source it>.

 

 

 

–         the “if I am positive good things will happen” lie

 

 

 

Well.

 

This may be the biggest lie we tell ourselves.

 

 

‘Think positive’ <and positive things will happen>.

 

Here is a truth.

 

Positive multiplied with a negative is still a negative. Meaning, the right thing at the wrong time is still wrong.

 

 

And positive multiplied with positive doesn’t mean an increased result <or increased positive necessarily>.

stay positive_thumb_thumb

 

Next truth.

 

There is something called ‘The Fallacy of Positive Instances’ which is the natural tendency to remember what is applicable and forget what does not fit one’s expectations.

 

 

I say that because there is an odd reflective component in positive thinking philosophy … in that if I think positive about everything … well … inevitably I can look backwards and associate positiveness with the outcome.

 

 

Unfortunately this also completely disregards all the things you were so positive of … that never came to fruition <or even the things that went south instead of north>.

 

By the way … this lie could also be called “wishful thinking.”

 

Wishful thinking also falls under some great philosophical thoughts like … uhm … optimism and faith … but never attains the heights of the those two.

 

My favorite thought I found on this ‘fallacy of positive thinking’ was this:

 

 

=

Suppose I offer a prize of a million dollars to anyone who believes that pigs have wings.

There is no doubt that, if you can only force yourself to do so, you stand to gain from believing this.

However, the fact that you win a million dollars in no way tends to show that pigs have wings.

—-

 

 

Anyway.

 

 

I don’t say this is a lie simply to be a jerk. I say it because I believe this lie can actually encourage many people from doing the things that actually offer their best chance of succeeding.

 

Why?

 

 

Positive thinking, in an odd way, can actually convince you that you don’t need to do the actual things you need to do to succeed.

 

Yes.

 

People who are emotionally positive about their chances for success have a history of succeeding.

 

Yes.

 

They tend to ‘do’ and tend to not just ‘dream.’

 

I say that because therefore success isn’t about positive thinking … it is about doing what need to be done <working toward the goal you want to achieve or practicing the skill you actually need>.

 

Look.

 

Be positive … but not too much. Just be a healthy positive.

Leaning toward the positive while remaining mindful, aware, and curious.

 

 

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management what growing-global-executive-talent

 

–          the “other people have some special talent <and I don’t>” lie

 

 

Whew.

 

This one is a tough lie that lurks underneath many a person.

 

One of the common lies we start telling ourselves at a very early age is what we believe we’re talented in and what we think we’re not.

 

Being artistic or creative is a perfect example <or the right brain/left brain myth>.

 

We look at the work created by others and tell ourselves that they must have been born with some natural talent to have been able to do it.

 

On the other hand … for ourselves … we know <not believe> that doing the same thing would take unimaginable effort. It’s pretty easy to conclude at that point we just weren’t meant to be or do … well …. <fill in the blank>.

 

By the way … this often slides into an ‘I’m not good enough’ self esteem lie. This is a slightly different kind of lie we tell ourselves … but just as damaging to ourselves.

 

Regardless.

 

 

 

I will state unequivocally … everyone is good at something.

 

Let me repeat.

 

Everyone … everyone … is good at something.

 

It may take a while to figure out what it is.

 

You may often be led astray under the guise of ‘I like doing this and this is what I want to do’ <but you actually either suck at it … or it takes so much effort and energy to be competent that it is maybe a drain rather than something that elevates you>.

 

Sometimes you may be guided by others incorrectly.

 

And sometimes life just gets in the way of it.

 

“Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.”

Jonathan Safran Foer

==

 

 

This ‘I am not talented’ lie is a burden.

 

It is truly the weight of all the lives you are not living.

 

You kind of have to live your own life.

 

Not someone else’s.

 

Nor can you burden yourself with the lives you may not be living <the one, or ones, maybe you should be living>.

 

And.

 

Once again.

 

Everyone is good at something.

 

Everyone has some talent.

 

Which also inevitably leads to the fact that someone will always be better than you at something.

 

If you focus on that last point as a negative … as in ‘why can’t I do that?’ … you are not only lying to yourself <in that it matters> you are also wasting energy.

 

Figure out what you are good at.

 

 

That’s no lie.

 

 

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secret happiness 5 things

–          “happiness comes from how others see me and what I achieve” lie

 

 

 

 

 

Whew.

 

We live in a culture that reinforces this belief, and lie, every day.

I am certainly not suggesting there is no value in external affirmation and stimulus … but they just aren’t the end all be all.

 

Each person needs to develop a core of positive self-regard that is not dependent on achievement or dependent upon what others think.

 

If you do not do that you become … well … hostage to others.

 

Just a note.

 

One reason high status professionals tend to have high suicide rates is because society pounds it into our heads, all heads is my point, that gaining a certain status will bring us happiness.

 

 

Well.

 

It can … but it is an empty happiness.

 

On the other hand … if you believe that your life has meaning and purpose, and you direct your actions in that way, then both internal belief and external reinforcement can work together towards greater satisfaction with life.

 

Interestingly … contrary to popular opinion with regard to ‘specializing’ or ‘mastering one thing well’ … research suggests if you want happiness you should diversify <not specialize>.

 

Studies suggest putting all your self-worth in any one thing <no matter how worthy … parenting, work, marriage, relationships, financial success> puts far too much pressure on that aspect.

 

My point?

 

 

Happiness is internal first and foremost. Labels, titles and other’s acceptance should only be important in that they are a reflection of your inner purpose … not reflection of outer value.

 

 

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indulge less i needed 

–          the “I need” lie

 

 

 

Ah.

 

I need.

 

Need, in general, outside of food, water and air … is a qualitative attitude based on perception.

 

 

I need a new <bigger> house.

 

A new <better> car.

 

A new shirt or dress.

 

 

“I need” can span from big to small.

 

Here is a truth <let’s call this a non-lie>.

 

 

If you’re alive and surviving without it right now then you most likely <I hesitated but wanted to use ‘clearly’> don’t need it.

 

Ponder that.

 

 

Because freeing yourself from this ‘need’ lie means freeing yourself from some really unnecessary angst & pain in your life. Because this lie suggests some sense you’ll be hurt in some way if you don’t get the thing.

 

 

Understanding that ‘need’ is actually ‘want’ is … well … freeing in and of itself.

 

 

 

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right am i

–          the “I’m right” lie

 

 

This is one of the most damaging lies we can tell ourselves, says Carol Tavris, PhD, social psychologist.

 

==

“It’s called the basic bias—the idea that everyone else is biased, but we’re not.”

==

 

 

This lie resides in the belief that you know best and that you’ve got all the facts.

 

Ultimately this lie prevents you from even listening to any evidence that you’re wrong.

 

It becomes impossible for you to comprehend any possibility that your memory is wrong or maybe your perception is wrong or even that your explanation is wrong.

 

 

‘It’s self-damaging, in that it keeps you stuck within the confines of what you think you know.’

<Tavris>

 

 

Well.

 

I imagine I included this lie because it is almost the ‘anti-enlightened conflict’ thought.

 

And worse?

 

 

Its not that you aren’t actually interested in learning more … but instead because of this insidious lie you are telling yourself … you remain stagnant in what you know.

 

This is a truly insidious, evil … and sly … lie we tell ourselves.

 

I fight this lie tooth & nail every day.

 

Oh.

 

By the way.

 

If you are questioning whether this is a lie you should worry about.

 

The social psychologist  also adds … “it also makes you a miserable person to be with.”

 

 

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lies we tell bach 

–          the “I have no willpower” lie

 

 

Holy cow this is a damaging lie.

 

 

And of all the lies I am writing about this one may be the most unequivocal lie.

 

Or the truest of non truths.

 

 

Look.

 

This is a really bad lie to tell yourself because it is … well … an excuse.

 

You have some willpower.

 

We all do <says Roy Baumeister a social psychologist>.

 

However … Baumeister also discovered in lab tests that willpower is finite.

 

In other words … after people used self-control for some tasks, they had less of it for subsequent tasks <this suggests you probably shouldn’t quit smoking, get organized and go on a diet on the same day>.

 

But he also found that willpower, like a muscle, can be built up over time through regular training.

 

Yeah.

 

Ponder that.

 

Will power is like a muscle.

 

 

The first time you use it … it will be weak … and hurt like a sonuvabitch afterwards.

 

But if you stick with it?

 

It will become stronger.

 

But.

 

Suffice it to say this truth … we all have willpower.

 

We all ‘can do this.’

 

We all may not like ‘doing this’ and it will always be difficult … but anyone and everyone can ‘do this.’

 

There you go.

 

A life truth.

 

In general … it is a lie to say “I can’t do this” if the basis is not physical … but emotional <as in will power>.

 

I imagine I could suggest “it’s all in your head” but I won’t.

 

Lastly.

 

 

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–          the “I’ll never get over it” lie <or the “I will never get through this lie>

 

 

 

Well.

 

 

I included this one because this is a scary lie we tell ourselves because it firmly places you in a dark hole … and you are, in some way, accepting the fact your ass is residing in a black hole of despair and unhappiness.

 

And purposefully placing yourself in a dark hole seems insane.

 

But it isn’t insanity … it is simply we tell ourselves this sneaky little lie.

 

‘I’ll never get over <through> this is … well … typically just not true.

 

“We’re not necessarily conscious of how rapidly we recover from adversity,” says Richard J. Davidson, PhD, a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin.

 

 

Look.

 

At some point in our lives we feel the  intense challenges and the corresponding  underlying fear that we simply can’t handle all that is going on <compounded by  what you fear MAY unfold in the coming days, weeks, and months>.

 

Here is the good news.

 

It is a Life truth that you have more than all of this requires.

 

I didn’t caveat this with ‘in most cases’ because, given the opportunity, we will make whatever situation we are discussing the exception.

 

When in fact exceptions to this truth are inordinately rare. In other words … you will most likely never face it in your lifetime.

 

 

If you take a step back and take inventory of some of the adversity you’ve overcome in life you will inevitably be reminded you are quite resilient.

 

In just about every situation and circumstance in life, we really do have more than is required to not only deal with what’s happening.

 

In fact … we have a tendency to thrive in the face of it. oh. And by ‘thrive’ I don’t mean anything but that we have a tendency to find a new capacity … a newer and better version of ourselves.

 

Anyway.

 

Overwhelmed_by_ursulav

It sucks when you are in these kinds of moments and periods of time.

 

Feeling overwhelmed is feeling overwhelmed, regardless of what it is we’re feeling overwhelmed about.

 

 

Oh.

 

By the way.

 

Overwhelmed doesn’t really have depth … it just is.

One overwhelmed is no deeper or worse than another overwhelmed.

 

But.

It is a lie to yourself to suggest ‘I can’t get over it <or through this>.”

 

A thought for you on this lie.

 

Richard Summers, clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, tells most of his patients undergoing a crisis “to allow themselves to really feel some of the negative emotion and to trust nature—those emotions have really a finite lifespan and tend to abate over time.”

 

 

That said, he offers a benchmark for people who are grieving.

 

 

“There’s a big spread, and it’s important to remember that but a good rule of thumb is that after six months there should be at least some sense of forward motion for the person.”

<If not, professional help may be one answer>

 

 

My point?

 

We are pretty resilient hardy folk.

 

 

It may feel like you can’t get over it … or through it … but you can.

And in almost all cases … you will.

 

 

Ok.

 

Done.

 

Done with lies.

 

There you go.

 

I could have listed a bunch more but these are the ones if I could fix … I would go to the ends of the earth to solve for anyone and everyone.

 

I wrote this because I think we should all think about these things.

 

It’s really really easy to say <to yourself> that you ‘know yourself well’ and ‘know your strengths & weakness’ … and you may.

 

But you may not.

 

Why?

 

Because just as a good liar is … well … a good liar and can effectively pull a lie off.

 

Yourself can be just as good a liar.

 

Effective in pulling off a good lie.

 

That said.

 

I read somewhere that you do not really know how sick you are until you decide to recover.

 

Lying to oneself is exactly like that.

 

Your lies are often slippery images that only appear in the corner of your eye.

 

Seemingly there … and then not.

 

And inevitably those slippery images come to focus not as lies … but as truth. Because you have said them so many times they are no longer anything but what is.

 

The cost?

 

Its not self esteem.birds freedom hair

 

Its not self actualization.

 

 

It is … well … self. The core of who you are has less meaning.

 

Or, as Dostoyevsky says:

==

“Above all, don’t lie to yourself.

The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others.

And having no respect he ceases to love.”

——-

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

==

 

I don’t think anyone wants that.

 

So.

 

Above all, don’t lie to yourself.

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Written by Bruce