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12 Lies We All Tell Ourselves But Shouldn’t

12 Lies We All Tell Ourselves But Shouldn’t

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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