We all lie to ourselves. Every day. President Obama, Billy Graham, Harrison Ford, Oprah, me, you. Yes, even you.
We all lie to ourselves. Let me show you:
- Your boss asks you to change the way you do something at work. Your first instinct is to conclude you aren’t good at your job.
- Your daughter cries because you are not able to take her to her friend’s house and she has to stay home. Something whispers to you that you really are a bad parent.
- Your sweetheart is withdrawn and distant lately and you are wondering what you did to make them angry with you. You just know it’s your fault.
As famed life coach Tony Robbins claims, “It’s not the situation, it’s the meaning we give it that makes all the difference.” And that meaning, if more negative than positive, can destroy your self-confidence, your courage and your relationships. This is big-time, life-changing stuff I’m talking about here.
Let’s narrow it down into the simplest of pictures. Did you know that every lie we hold within our hearts about ourselves fits underneath the umbrella of these two statements: “I am not enough. And if I am not enough, I will not be loved.”
So how do you reveal and then let go of the lies you’ve been telling yourself? (And – good news – change your life forever with the truth!) Here are 10 ways:
1. Let go by listening to what your body and your head are telling you.
When the lies are talking, you will know because you will feel a tension growing somewhere in the region of your stomach. Your jaw will tighten and you will find yourself becoming defensive in the middle of whatever is happening at the moment.
This is when you must back up and ask the major question, “Why am I reacting like this?”
You will hear statements such as, “I am an idiot,” or “This is just like the last time,” or “I may as well give up!”
2. Let go by confronting what you hear head on – don’t hide.
When the lies raise their ugly heads, you automatically respond.
Most of us run from them by giving ourselves a treat. It may be your favorite drink, a festival of sugar, a few too many hours of escape into movies or a book. Oprah’s favorite, as we have all heard her talk about, was eating everything and anything and calling it comfort food.
The secret here is to observe yourself. What is happening? Where do I hide so I will feel better when I feel guilty or inadequate?
Confronting means to figure out the secret plan your heart is using to avoid things. So face it – bravely.
3. Let go by honestly asking yourself the tough questions.
They are called tough questions because that’s what they are. Tough. To face them requires courage.
Don’t mess around. Cut right to the root. Ask yourself, “Do I believe I am enough? Do I have what it takes?” Secondly, ask, “Am I afraid I won’t be loved (or applauded/appreciated/valued)?” If you don’t like the answers to these questions, then don’t stop there.
Freedom is wrapped up in the ‘why’ you would come to that conclusion. There will be two or three incidents in your past, maybe as far back as preschool or early elementary school. These left you with the conclusion that you were not enough and so you are most likely unlovable.
Every hurtful obstacle after that reinforced this by driving this idea in deeper and deeper. It’s like a furrow was being dug in your mind.
However, there’s hope! It lies in the destruction of the root and in shushing the lies. It means digging a new furrow.
4. Let go by becoming your own greatest ally, best friend and confidante.
Deep in your heart you want someone to affirm that you are enough, that you are lovable and are loved. But, even if you find 10 people who tell you these things over and over and mean it, you won’t believe them because you don’t believe for yourself. Ironic, isn’t it? They offer what you need and you reject it.
So, you must make friends with ‘you.’ Become your own partner and cheerleader. You must be the first to be consistently there for yourself through thick and thin. You must be the one to promise to do everything possible to care for and to guard your vulnerable, soft underbelly. After all, who would understand who you are better than you?
5. Let go by enjoying a hot air balloon ride up above the road map of your life.
Seeing only what is in front of you can make the moment seem as if it’s going to last forever. I like the imaginative picture of climbing into a hot air balloon and letting yourself gently lift up high above the spot on the path where you are. It’s so quiet up there.
Look around. You can see forever!
Imagine the bird’s eye view of the path before and the path to come. And all sorts of beautiful areas around it not seen from the ground.
While you are up there, mark a giant X on the places where those incidents happened that left you with your false conclusions. This will remind you from here on in of why you believe what you do about yourself.
Now look to the road ahead. From way up here, you can set the course for the future. Feel excited about that!
6. Let go by determining to focus on building your strengths not your weaknesses.
Counteract the lies by recognizing all that you are instead of focusing on all that you are not.
I am not a great cook or seamstress, but once I learned to tell myself, “That’s OK. I have strengths in other areas,” I began to grow those other places instead. It no longer mattered that I couldn’t do everything well. You can become great at what you love to do. Simply put, those are your strengths.
7. Let go by standing tall, shoulders back, eyes straight ahead.
As silly as it may seem, how you hold your body matters. Remember the tension that comes when the lies are talking? Zoom in right now on your shoulders. Are they slumped just a little as you are reading this?
Try this: Pull yourself up tall, shoulders back. Lift your chin a bit as if you had the confidence of a warrior or strong leader or a princess. Now say, “I am enough and I will figure this out.”
Something feels different right away. You have just experienced an easy but important first step in resisting the lies you tell yourself.
8. Let go by looking those lies right in the eye and telling them to go sit in the corner and eat a cookie.
You will hear the lies every time you perceive you are being criticized or rejected. I am truly sorry to tell you this but they are part of life and they will never go away completely.
That being said, the upside is that you can learn to tell them who’s boss. I have begun to picture them as little, blue, hairy cartoon characters who are prattling on at the most inconvenient times. I just say to them, “Yes, I hear you but I am too busy to listen right now. Go over there in the corner and eat a cookie. I’ll deal with you later.”
Then I go on with my day being the strong person I am and doing what I know I need to do.
9. Let go by diminishing the need for significance and shifting your focus to growing and giving.
It’s all about focus. Is it most important to you that you are praised for what you do or that you are serving others around you out of the strength your difficulties have built into you?
Instead of worrying about what your boss is thinking, concentrate on how you can help them build their business to be the best.
Instead of stressing over whether or not you are a bad parent, reassure your child that you love them as high as the moon and you want to see them happy. Help them to understand that sometimes life disappoints us and how they can deal with that.
Instead of wondering if you have blown it again with the one you love, take a good look at your partner and ask yourself how you could bring a smile to their face today. Talk to them and listen to what’s truly going on.
Shift from it being all about you and let it be about serving others around you. The lies can actually build a rich compassion into you when you realize that everyone you meet is going through the same thing inside.
10. Let go by keeping your eyes and your feet moving forward – leave your past behind.
Your past does not define you no matter who left you or what someone did to you. What truly defines you is what you do from this moment on and how much you are willing to fall down and get back up again, wiser and deeper each time. Greatness comes from learning not from perfection.
Diminish the past to the size of a rear-view mirror in a vehicle. It’s there and you can see it, even check it for information, but to drive forward with your eyes riveted there would be disaster. Looking out the wide windshield, instead, will take you to the wild adventures of the fulfilled life. Not to mention the beautiful scenery and interesting surprises that are waiting to be discovered along the way.
Forgive, let go and be thankful for all that the past has taught you. Quiet down the lies to white noise in the background and replace them with the beautiful music of living focused on love and compassion instead.
How have you triumphed over those lies trying to hold you back from all you have to live? Please share in the comments below.