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How To Stop Self-Deception And Be True To Yourself Again

How To Stop Self-Deception And Be True To Yourself Again

Often times when we are going through a rough time in life, we choose to see what we want to see without even realizing it. Self-deception is the process of lying to ourselves without realizing that we are doing it. We literally believe our own beliefs, perceptions, and thoughts.

Contrary to what you may believe, we all do it at one point or another. We have fragile egos, and our subconscious mind works hard to protect feelings from confusion and harm. So in turn, it distorts our views where possible to make us feel better than we would otherwise. Lying is never a good thing, and we often think about lying to others, but it can be more detrimental to lie to ourselves.

Self-deception is the fountain of failure, unhappiness and missed opportunities.

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Why do we do it?

As previously stated, we often don’t even know that we’re in a state of denial of the truth or reality. We lie to ourselves to makes us feel better about a certain situation.

For example, a woman who is in a physically and mentally abusive relationship believes that what is happening to her is a mistake made by her significant other, or often justifies their behavior based off on something she did that she believes was wrong. What this woman fails to realize is that the same person who is causing her harm is the same person she believes will protect her and keep her safe. From an outside perspective, nothing about that particular behavior can be justified. However, this woman is in a stage of self-deception where her mind is attempting to protect her of the harmful truth.

“We deceive ourselves because we don’t have enough psychological strength to admit the truth and deal with the consequences that will follow.” -Cortney S. Warren Ph.D.

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The cost of self-deception

Unfortunately, the people we love and care for the most tend to suffer as well. We tend to hurt ourselves and those we love and care for the most. One major cost of self-deception is that we hurt ourselves and those we love the most when we don’t take full responsibility for who we are. When we use painful life experiences to justify being a non-ideal version of ourselves, we directly and indirectly hurt the ones we love the most.

Another cost of self-deception is that it can leave us with mountains of regret. During this state, we may have made some choices that have caused some harmful consequences to avoid being honest with ourselves. What is unfortunate is that when looking back at life with regrets, it is a tough pill to swallow because you cannot change the choices in your past, only your choices moving forward. If you want to learn how to be true to yourself you must remember this.

Quattrone and Tversky explored the self-deception phenomenon in their classic social psychology experiment in 1984. “The experiment shows the different graduations of self-deception. At the highest level, people tend to imbibe the deception and therefore think and act as though their incorrect belief is completely true, totally ignoring and rejecting any incoming hints from reality.”

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How to be true to yourself

  • Identify your life purpose, values and goals

Set small goals that move you in the direction of your bigger goals and values.

  • Be aware of your self-talk

Evaluate your thoughts when you first wake up in the morning. Are they supportive and positive? Be your own best coach, not your own worst critic.

  • Take time to play

Give yourself a break so that you can recharge by allowing yourself to do the things that you love.

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  • Honor your strengths

Write down the 3 strongest things about you. If you find yourself struggling, ask someone closest to help you and then focus on those strengths.

  • Get help if you feel stuck

There is professional, private help out there to overcome self-deception and teach you how to be true to yourself.

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Erica Wagner

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on January 18, 2019

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

1. Limit the time you spend with them.

First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.

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In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

2. Speak up for yourself.

Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.

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But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

Why else would they be sharing this with you?

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5. Change the subject.

When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.

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You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

7. Leave them behind.

Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

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