Although it may carry a heavy social stigma, lying is something that all of us do from one time to another. While the scale and scope of these lies may vary, however, our brains follow the same uniform process whenever we deliberately mislead someone. This is the science that enables lie detectors to work effectively, as they are able to measure thought processes, anxiety and activity in the brains’ frontal lobe. While this technology is primarily used to identify lies that are told by one person to another, however, this should not disguise the fact that deceit can take many conscious and subconscious forms.

Perhaps the most common lies are those that we repeat to ourselves every single day, especially those that relate our futures and the path of self-improvement. While these lies may provide temporary comfort, they can actually prevent us from realising our full potential and achieving life-long goals. Consider the following lies that we tell ourselves on a regular basis and how to overcome them:

1. I cannot escape my past

It is a sad but inescapable fact that some of us lead more difficult lives than others, and these individuals tend to carry the burden of significant emotional baggage. This encourages many to repeat the mantra that they cannot escape their past, but the fact remains that this represents little more than a fear of evolving and incurring the risk of further heartache, failure and disappointment. Not only is it possible to escape from the past, but it can even be used to learn valuable life lessons and make more sensible decisions in the future.

2. I can do it tomorrow

Life is considered by many to be a journey of self-improvement, and the most successful individuals are often driven by a desire to develop and embrace brand new experiences. This kind of enlightenment cannot be achieved without a proactive attitude, however, and a willingness to undertake emotionally and physically difficult tasks. By deferring difficult challenges and keeping them for another day, you are resisting the opportunity to advance and improve as an individual.

3. I would be happy if only I could…

While perfectionism may sound like a positive trait, it has a particularly strong correlation with the dreaded fear of failure. More specifically, perfectionists tend to find fault in opportunities or potential life partners as a way of avoiding failure or the potential for rejection. This same principle applies to self-examination, and the assertion that we would be entirely content and satisfied if only one aspect of our lives could be changed or improved for the better. This is extremely counter-productive, and will ultimately prevent you from achieving long-term happiness.

4. I cannot cope in a crisis

The way in which we think is at least partially the result of our upbringing, which may either create a sense of optimism, pessimism or something rooted in-between. Those with a negative outlook are likely to take a dim view of crisis, primarily because their predominantly negative thought processes lead them to believe that they are ill-equipped to cope with a stressful situation. This overlooks the fact that crisis can often be viewed as an opportunity in disguise, while it is also important to note that no difficult set of circumstances can be overcome without a positive and robust mentality.

5. I prefer to give than receive

The nation of England is renowned for its chivalry and politeness, and this has a certain impact on the values that we hold as individuals. Take the notion that it is better to give gifts than receive them, for example, which is engrained in our culture and often drummed into us by our parents from a very early age. There is no shame in enjoying the receipt of gifts or even preferring this to the act of giving, however, so long as it does not consume you and erode all sense of selflessness. Your fundamental nature should never be denied, as this will lead to serious repression and a lack of contentedness over time.

6. I am too busy to…

There are occasions when we become so preoccupied with the way in which we perceive our lives that we lose all touch with reality. This causes us to generalise and ultimately make statements that are fundamentally untrue, such as the assertion that we would love to catch up with friends and family but we are far too busy. This is rarely the case, as if you actually sat down and evaluated how you spent your time you would be able to make room for something that was genuinely important and necessary.

7. I cannot live without…

As anyone who has ever argued can testify, words are often used either to solicit a reaction or deliberately hurt someone we care about. While this is a fundamental aspect of human nature, however, it can become an issue when we repeat these words to ourselves or through the course of private meditation. So although it may be natural to tell a romantic partner who is leaving against your will that you cannot live without them, it is crucial that you do not begin to believe this or repeat it on a regular basis. Not only is it fundamentally untrue, but it will also prevent you from moving forward in a positive and wholesome manner.

8. I can change this person and their priorities

On the subject relationships, it is also commonplace for love-struck and downtrodden individuals to believe that they can change an errant partner through the power of persuasion alone. While this may or may not be possible within a predetermined period of time, the individual in question must have an innate desire to change if you are to ultimately be successful. So rather than repeating this lie as part of a vicious cycle, it is far better to share your feelings with your loved one and force them to make the changes necessary for a long and happy union.

9. I hate my life

Let’s face facts, every single one of us has had difficult days or periods that have forced us to question the meaning of life and its inherent value. While we may lash out and declare that we hate our lives in a moment of anger, however, it would be more prudent to state that we are unhappy with a particular aspect of our lives. By avoiding overtly emotive outbursts, relaxing and taking the time to evaluate our circumstances, we can usually highlight the main issues and resolve them effectively.

10. I am so jealous of…

If there is one human emotion that could be described as the most destructive, it is most probably jealously. A great destroyer of relationships, careers and even lives, it often arises from a relatively trivial issue that is viewed without a keen sense of perspective and understanding. This means that a sense of jealously is often misplaced and more indicative of an insecurity that exists within ourselves, and the object of this emotion little more than a reminder of our perceived inadequacies. So instead of fixating on an individual who probably has little to do with your life, look deeper to isolate the cause of your insecurities.

11. I am too old to…

While it is a little glib to declare that age is just a number, it is certainly no barrier to living a happy and fulfilled life. Once again, the declaration that you are too old to pursue a particular goal or past-time represents nothing more than a deep-rooted fear of failure or ridicule. The fact remains that if your body and mind can stand up to the particular challenge that you wish to undertake, age and a selection of arbitrary social customs should remain entirely insignificant.

12. I am unable to give up…

As we progress through the religious festival of Lent, many of you may have chosen to give up something as a way of celebration. This is a noble intention, although you may be undermined in your efforts by nagging doubts surrounding your willpower and sense of conviction. Telling yourself that you cannot give up a particular vice does not make this fact, however, as this is often just an emotive response to a challenging situation. Once you begin to think positively and isolate the task in hand, you will find it relatively easy to achieve your goals.

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