Advertising
Advertising

6 Ways to Break the Habit of Lying to Yourself

6 Ways to Break the Habit of Lying to Yourself


    “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” ~ Thomas Jefferson
    • “I can’t stand it!”  
    • “I should be further along in my life by now”
    • “I don’t know how to talk to people.”
    • “They screwed my life up.”
    • “I’ll never find anyone like her again.”
    • “Things never work out!” 

    Do any of these types of statements sound familiar? Do you tell yourself things that you would never say to anyone else? If so, read this post if you want to help yourself separate fact from fiction and stop telling yourselves stories that just aren’t true!

    As a psychotherapist, it has often struck me how my clients who are completely honest to everyone else and would never even tell a white lie end lying to themselves all the time. Whether they think they are too fat, not smart or attractive enough, or think they are plain “losers,” they often have no qualms calling themselves names that they would never think of calling anyone else. I will never forget when one young, thin, attractive professional woman confided in me that she secretly thought of herself as “fatty,fatso” which had been the nickname given to her by her grade school classmates.Despite how successful and attractive she had become, her self-image was still stuck back in the distorted body image from grade school.

    Especially those who early on that were either told by family or peers that they were not good enough carry the torch for this type of destructive fictitious thinking. They find themselves not even questioning those unhealthy automatic labels they put on themselves, labels they would often never even dream of calling anyone else, and do not realize that are really just “story telling.” Despite the fact they think deep down they are fatally flawed and they are just “telling it like it is” to themselves, they have no clue how fabricated and far-fetched their tall tales are! To add insult to injury, when things go wrong, such as if a marriage falls apart or if they don’t get the job they wanted or even lose the one they had, they end up blaming themselves and seeing their failures as further proof that they are inadequate and somehow not good enough. These are the poor souls who would never even think of hurting anyone’s feelings although they freely hurt their own.

    Advertising

    The good news is: These habits can be broken, no matter how entrenched they are!

    Here are five tips to stop the lying once and for all…

    1. Use the W.A.I.T. Acronym (What Am I Thinking?)

    Imagine a stop sign and ask yourself – “What am I Thinking?” Since irrational and distorted thoughts lead to anxiety and negative feelings, chances are you are telling yourself lies by exaggerating with “black and white” thinking. Furthermore you can ask yourself a second W.A.I.T. to dig deeper –“What Are Irrational Thoughts? Replace the fictitious thinking with fact.

    Examples:

    Advertising

    “I can’t stand it!” could be replaced by “I have a hard time putting up with it, but I really can stand it since I am not melting into the ground!”   

    “I should be further along in my life by now,” can be replaced with “I am disappointed that I am not further along in my life, and I will use the lessons learned as stepping stones to move forward now.”

    2. Ask Yourself: Who are my Board of Directors?

    Who is putting those thoughts into your head? Are you renting space to people in your past or present who taught you these lies? At this point it is your choice to listen! For example, did you have a relationship that went sour and you were blamed for it? Did you grow up with parents who imposed a lot of “shoulds” on you with the well-meaning intention of raising you the best they knew how? Were you sensitive to peer rejection, criticism, or even disinterest, and do the words you heard still sting?

    This is time to stop renting space in your head to anyone who is telling you lies and honoring those “invisible loyalties” from the past that make no sense! Stop keeping the lies on life support.The truth is, even though they might be figures form the past, they never really left.No matter if you are 28 or 82, these messages can be persistent! It’s time for eviction!

    Advertising

    3. Write Down Your Big Whoppers

    Take a piece of paper and write out the fictitious whoppers you tell yourself that pull you down. Differentiate between fiction and fact. Choose now what to believe. Then, on another paper, write out the more rational messages that are more factual. Remember, stick to the facts, not interpretations!

    4. Throw the Lies Away

    Once you identified the fictitious messages and write down the more factual alternatives out on another piece of paper, crumble the paper of the lies and throw them in the trash where they belong. Or how about taking a match and burning them? They have no use in a world of truth and reality  – and isn’t that the world you want to live in?

    5. File Your Facts

    For each of the rational messages you write to counteract each lie, copy each one to a separate file card. I encourage you to refer to them often, laminate the cards with clear contact paper, and carry it with you in your wallet or purse. Refer to them often to keep yourself on track so you are moving ahead rather than staying stuck in the Land Of Oz!

    6. Forgive Yourself for Past Mistakes and Regrets

    When you live with one foot in the past, you will likely tell yourself all sorts of things that are not really true, and might call yourself names like “stupid” or “loser”. No one gets out of the land of “woulda coulda shouldas” with self- esteem intact. Try to use the past as a hitching post rather than a guidepost, reminding yourself that nothing ever changes in the past. Reworking the past never really works, because the past stands still. Forgive yourself for not having the foresight to know what you know now in hindsight!

    Advertising

    If you choose to stop telling yourselves lies and stick the facts (and not interpretations) you will truly think straight and feel great!

    (Photo credit: Businessman with Growing Nose via Shutterstock)

    More by this author

    Judy Belmont

    Mental health author, motivational speaker and psychotherapist

    11 WARNING Signs Of Unhealthy Relationships You Need to Be Aware Of The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People Robin Williams’ Death Is A Wake-Up Call: 12 Natural Ways To Fight Depression Quick Test: What Is Your Forgiveness IQ? 7 Essential Ways That Inspirational Quotes Can Literally Change Your Day … and Your Life!

    Trending in Communication

    1 Positive Motivation vs Negative Motivation: Which One Is Better? 2 What Makes a Good Leader: 10 Critical Leadership Qualities 3 Why You’re Feeling Empty and How to Fill the Void 4 Had a Bad Day? 6 Ways to Rebound from It 5 How to Cope with Empty Nest Syndrome and Be Happy Again

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on December 9, 2019

    What Makes a Good Leader: 10 Critical Leadership Qualities

    What Makes a Good Leader: 10 Critical Leadership Qualities

    The word “leader” makes you think of people in charge. High-ranking people – your boss, politicians, presidents, CEOs…

    But leadership really isn’t about a particular position or a person’s seniority. Just because someone has worked for many years doesn’t mean he has gained the qualities and skills to lead a team.

    Getting promoted to a managerial position doesn’t automatically turn you into a leader either. CEOs and other high-ranking officials don’t always have great leadership skills.

    So what makes a good leader? What are the characteristics of a leader?

    Good leadership is about acquiring and honing skills. Leadership skills enable you to be a role model for a team in any environment. With great leadership qualities, successful leaders come in all shapes and sizes: in the home, at school, or at the workplace.

    The following is a list of characteristics of a leader who successfully leads a great team:

    1. Stay Positive, Even in the Worst Situations

    Great leaders know that they won’t have a happy and motivated team unless they themselves exhibit a positive attitude. This can be done by remaining positive when things go wrong and, by creating a relaxed and happy atmosphere in the workplace.

    Even some simple things like providing cupcakes or beers on Fridays can make the world of difference. An added perk is that team members are likely to work harder and do overtime when needed if they’re happy and appreciated.

    Even in the worst situations such as experiencing low team morale or team members having made a big mistake at work, a great leader stays positive and figure out ways to keep the team motivated to solve the problems.

    Walt Disney (1901-1966), had his share of hardships and challenges; and like any great leader, he managed to stay positive and find new opportunities. In 1928, Disney found that his film producer, Charles Mintz, wanted to reduce his payments for the Oswald series. Mintz threatened to cut ties entirely if Disney didn’t accept his terms, and Disney chose to part ways. But in leaving Oswald, Disney decided to create something new: the iconic Mickey Mouse.

      What Can You Learn from Walt Disney?

      Break down huge challenges into smaller ones and find ways to tackle them one by one.

      Think about the lessons you can learn from the mistake and jot them down — Because sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.

      2. Exhibit Confidence Everywhere

      All great leaders have to exhibit an air of confidence if they’re going to succeed. Please don’t confuse this with self-satisfaction and arrogance. You want people to look up to you for inspiration, not so they can punch you in the face.

      Confidence is important because people will be looking to you on how to behave, particularly if things aren’t going 100% right. If you remain calm and poised, team members are far more likely to as well. As a result, morale and productivity will remain high and the problem will be solved more quickly.

      If you panic and give up, they will know immediately and things will simply go down hill from there.

      Advertising

      Elon Musk is a great example of a leader with confidence. He truly believes that Tesla will be successful, which he has shown many times through his actions. He converted 532,000 stock options at $6.63 each, their value on Dec. 4, 2009, before Tesla went public. It was a hefty bargain considering Tesla’s stock price stood at around $195 per share at that time. He doesn’t apologize for his beliefs and has drawn fire from just about everyone for his political actions.

        What Can You Learn from Elon Musk?

        You can’t instantly become a very confident person, but all the small things you do every day will gradually make you more confident:

        • List 10 things you like about yourself every day (something different every day), and you’ll be more confident about yourself.
        • Work on your strengths, do your best to enhance them.

        3. Have a Sense of Humor

        It’s imperative for any kind of leader to have a sense of humor, particularly when things go wrong. And they will.

        Your team members are going to be looking to you for how to react in a seemingly dire situation. It would probably be best if you weren’t stringing up a noose for yourself in the corner. You need to be able to laugh things off, because if staff morale goes down, so will productivity.

        Establish this environment prior to any kind of meltdown by encouraging humor and personal discussions in the work place.

        As president, Barack Obama exuded confidence and calm during stressful situations. But he was also known for his “dad jokes”,[1] his genuinely funny speeches at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and appearing on Zack Galifianakis’s Between Two Ferns.[2] Obama’s sense of humor made him grounded, realistic, and honest – no doubt that helped during some tense moments in the White House!

          What Can You Learn from Barak Obama?

          Laugh at yourself. Confident people laugh about their own silly mistakes, others will also trust you more because you’re willing to share your experiences.

          Be observant and learn from the jokes others make. You can also get a lot of inspirations from the internet.

          4. Embrace Failures and Manage Set Backs

          No matter how hard you try to avoid it, failures will happen; that’s okay. You just need to know how to deal with them.

          Great leaders take them in strides. They remain calm and logically think through the situation and utilize their resources. What they don’t do is fall apart and reveal to their team how worried they are, which leads to negative morale, fear and binge-drinking under desks.

          Great leaders do in fact lead, even when they’re faced with setbacks.

          Henry Ford experienced a major setback after designing and improving the Ford Quadricycle. He founded the Detroit Automobile Company in 1899, but the resulting cars they produced did not live up to his standards and were too expensive. The company dissolved in 1901. Ford took this in stride and formed the Henry Ford Company. The sales were slow and the company had financial problems; it wasn’t until 1903 that the Ford Motor Company was successful and put the Ford on the map.

          Advertising

            What Can You Learn from Walt Disney?

            Get to the root cause of any problem so you can prevent it from happening again and learn from the mistake.

            To do this, use the 5 Whys problem solving framework.

            By asking “why” for 5 times (or more) on why something happened, you can find out the key factor that caused the problem and can find the best solution to tackle the problem.

            You’ll also learn how to prevent this from happening again in the future after finding out a problem’s root cause.

            5. Listen, and Give Feedback

            This is far more complex than it actually sounds. Good communication skills are essential for a great leader. You may very well understand the cave of crazy that is your brain, but that doesn’t mean that you can adequately take the ideas out of it and explain them to someone else.

            The best leaders need to be able to communicate clearly with the people around them. They also need to be able to interpret other people properly and not take what they say personally.

            The Dalai Lama, as a symbol of the unification of the state of Tibet, represents and practices Buddhist values. The Dalai Lama’s leadership is benevolent and aims toward truth and understanding, alongside the other Buddhist precepts. This is a great example for all leaders: if you want to give good directions to others, you have to get feedback from others to understand the situation properly.

              What Can You Learn from Dalai Lama?

              Encourage communication between team members and establishing an open door policy.

              Practice not to interrupt team members when they’re talking.

              Summarize what they say and ask for feedback every time after you have talked about your ideas.

              6. Know How and When to Delegate

              No matter how much you might want to, you can’t actually do everything yourself. Even if you could, in a team environment that would be a terrible idea anyway.

              Good leaders recognize that delegation does more than simply alleviate their own stress levels (although that’s obviously a nice perk). Delegating to others shows that you have confidence in their abilities, which subsequently results in higher morale in the workplace, as well as loyalty from your staff. They want to feel appreciated and trusted.

              Although Steve Jobs is known for focusing in on the smallest of details, he knew how to delegate. By finding, cultivating, and trusting capable team members – like Tim Cook – Jobs was able to make Apple run smoothly, even while he had to be absent for extended periods of time.

              Advertising

                What Can You Learn from Steve Jobs?

                To know when and how to delegate work to team members, you have to be very familiar with each of them:

                • List out all of their strengths, weaknesses and personalities.
                • Talk with your team members more too to know more about their passion and interests.

                Take a look at this guide and learn more about delegation: How to Delegate Work Effectively (The Definitive Guide for Leaders)

                7. Inspire and Grow People Around

                Any good leader knows how important it is to develop the skills of those around them. The best can recognize those skills early on. Not only will development make work easier as they improve and grow, it will also foster morale. In addition, they may develop some skills that you don’t possess that will be beneficial to the workplace.

                Great leaders share their knowledge with the team and give them the opportunity to achieve. This is how leaders gain their respect and loyalty.

                Pope Francis has been unusually popular with many Catholics and many non-Catholics. His position isn’t totally traditional, which is part of his appeal, but he also has admirable leadership skills. Pope Francis’s TED talk drew attention, because he encouraged leaders to be humble and to demonstrate solidarity with others. This inclusive, kind, and respectful style of leadership is incredibly important for any situation.

                  What Can You Learn from Pope Francis?

                  Spend time to talk with other team members individually to understand them.

                  Find out team members’ current challenges and try to give feedback and encouragement so they will grow and do better.

                  8. Take Responsibility and Never Blame Others

                  Great leaders know that when it comes to their company, work place or whatever situation they’re in, they need to take personal responsibility for failure. How can they expect employees to hold themselves accountable if they themselves don’t?

                  The best leaders don’t make excuses; they take the blame and then work out how to fix the problem as soon as possible. This proves that they’re trustworthy and possess integrity.

                  Howard Gillman is the chancellor of UC Irvine. You might have heard of how the university rescinded a bunch of acceptances, and then changed its mind.[3] This past spring, an unusually high number of accepted students decided to matriculate; the school initially responded by rescinding offers over things like missed deadlines. But the college realized this was a mistake and reversed its decision. Gillman and the university accepted responsibility and decided to move past their earlier bad decision.

                    What Can You Learn from Howard Gillman?

                    Ask yourself what you could have done better to prevent this from happening.

                    Take the responsibility and think about what you can do better to prevent this from happening next time.

                    Advertising

                    9. Make Decisions Based on Lessons Learned in the Past

                    It’s safe to say that all great leaders will have to enter unchartered waters at some point during their career (figuratively, of course). Because of this, they have to be able to trust their intuition and draw on past experiences to guide them.

                    Great leaders know that there’s always something to learn from everything they have experienced before. They are able to connect the present challenges with the lessons learned in the past to make decisions and take actions promptly.

                    You can either recall what you’ve learned from your memories, or search from your notes (ideally, a software that you can access anywhere with things well-organized).

                    Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the world, has mostly made the right calls. But in dealing with huge amounts of money, Buffett has also made several multi-million (and sometimes multi-billion) dollar mistakes. He has stated that buying the company Berkshire Hathaway was his biggest mistake.[4] From that poor choice, he realized that it was unwise to pursue “improvements” and “expansions” in the existing textile industry. Despite mistakes like this, Buffett has invested wisely – and it shows.

                      What Can You Learn from Warren Buffett?

                      Write down lessons you’ve learned from any mistakes you’ve made.

                      Have all the lessons well organized and  when similar things happen again in future, take these lessons as references.

                      10. Lead by Example and Commit to Do the Best

                      Great leaders stick to their commitments and promises, and they are the most committed and hard working ones on the job. All great leaders lead by example.

                      Why should your staff and team members give it their all if you don’t bother to? By proving your own commitment, great leaders will inspire others to do the same, as well as earn their respect and instill a good work ethic.

                      After 15 years of house arrest, Aung San Suu Kyi was voted state counsellor in Myanmar – one of the highest-profile and most powerful positions in the country. She became a symbol of peaceful resistance when she attempted to bring democracy to her country.[5] In the early years of her detention, she was often in solitary confinement. Suu Kyi is a perfect example of committed and belief-driven leadership, which she openly demonstrated during her many years of house arrest.

                        What Can You Learn from Aung San Suu Kyi?

                        Some people learn by observing the way you perform a task, some need more detailed guidelines.

                        So dedicate time to demonstrate your work to team members, let them observe how you do it. Summarize the skills you use and let team members know how you make difficult things work.

                        The Bottom Line

                        Leadership traits are learnable. If you practice consistently, you can be a great leader too.

                        Make small changes your habits when you work with your team – wherever that may be. Most of us aren’t presidents or CEOs.

                        But we all work with other people, and our actions always impact others. This gives every person the chance to develop leadership skills and to stand out from the crowd.

                        More About Leadership

                        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                        Reference

                        Read Next