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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

Erica is a passionate writer who shares inspiring ideas and lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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