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Stop Lying to Yourself

Stop Lying to Yourself

It’s cruel and it’s unfair.

You are lying to yourself because you seek comfort. Well comfort is overrated. You are lying to yourself because you are scared of the unknown. But you must stop. To continue lying will eat away at your soul, causing you untold amounts of future pain.

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A lie is something that you make yourself believe in order to make life a little easier. A lie is a paradigm under which you operate to avoid pain. A lie will destroy you, inside and out. A lie is something you want to believe because to consider the opposite would hurt your ego.

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Sometimes the difference between a lie and the truth can be subtle. Sometimes your brain will try to “logically” trick you into believing a lie. I cannot give you a definitive guide on how to differentiate between the two; I am not you and I do not understand your specific circumstances, motivations, and desires. I can, however, give you some tips to guide you to make decisions that will serve you well.

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You are lying to yourself when:

  1. You try really hard to fit yourself into a mold that hurts.
  2. You make that decision that is “logically” correct, but something feels off when you say it out loud.
  3. You feel anxious all the time.
  4. You seek something familiar, even though you can’t grow from there.
  5. You deny your passions and fail to pursue what excites you, no matter what it is. This is a denial of your highest being and your truest self. This is unfair and disrespectful to yourself.
  6. You think you can do this all alone.
  7. You put someone else’s needs way above your own. You are lying to yourself when you neglect to take care of yourself.
  8. You seek distraction to get away from the real stuff — the hard problems. You seek distraction instead of actually working to fix the problems that bother you to your deepest core.
  9. You settle — for anything. You think you don’t deserve more than what’s handed to you.
  10. You care intensely about what someone else thinks — and let their opinions color your actions.
  11. You fail to produce quality work. You are entirely capable of trying your best. Perhaps failure to produce your best means you are in the wrong profession.
  12. You ignore that gnawing feeling in your heart and gut.
  13. You seek popularity and profits, instead of seeking authenticity.
  14. You make rash decisions from a stressed state of mind instead of a place of calamity and rationale.

You can stop lying to yourself by:

  1. Being courageous enough to make a definitive decision — going forward even though it is scary.
  2. Taking responsibility of what has happened, what is happening, and what is going to happen.
  3. Detaching yourself from the fantasy of reliving the past.
  4. Moving — actively working to find a place that resonates with you. Take action.
  5. Telling someone something hard. Tell someone that you have been lying to yourself and to them for some time now.
  6. Doing something dramatic, in a good way. Take a risk.
  7. Not doing something simply because you are told to do it or because everyone else is doing it. Think first if that action resonates with who you are. If not, then don’t do it, even if everyone else is.
  8. Facing the music, even though it hurts.
  9. Making a decision to stop lying to yourself. Today.
  10. Forgiving yourself for hurting yourself for so long.
  11. Focusing on what you know to be most important.
  12. Meditating — getting still and observing yourself from a calm place.
  13. Asking a trusted friend or mentor what he thinks of your future based on your present actions.
  14. Refusing to associate with people who don’t share your values.

I encourage you to actually act on these ideas. Thinking and reading passively is entertaining. You may even trick yourself into thinking that reading is productive. However, you will forget what you read shortly. Without action, you really just wasted your time by reading this article.

Write down how the ideas in this article are applicable to your life. Make some changes. Edit. Erase. Rewrite. This is the beauty in life: most things are volitional and nothing is really permanent until you die. And you will die, so stop wasting your life by living a lie.

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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