“Only enemies speak the truth; friends and lovers lie endlessly, caught in the web of duty.”
– Stephen King
This is part 3 in the series about what we all need to stop doing to ourselves if we want to have our best life possible. It comes from an article I saw on LifeBuzz titled “30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself.” I decided to dig deeper into each item and create a podcast episode to explore it more completely. In this episode we’re going to look at why we lie to ourselves and what we’re seeking when we do it. We’ll even look at when it might be beneficial to engage in self-deception and when we should absolutely avoid it.
Don’t Lie to Yourself About Lying to Yourself
Researchers have engaged in very in-depth studies among large groups of people in an effort to understand why we lie to ourselves. What they found was a bit surprising; just about everyone lies to themselves to one degree or another. Men and women tend to do it equally but the areas in life where they do it most, differs. But I want to make sure we understand the concept of a lie as it relates to our true spiritual identity, so make sure you go all the way through this article; at the end of it, I explore this in a bit more detail. For now, let’s look at why we tell ourselves these lies.
We Lie to Ourselves To Avoid Pain
Short term, the least painful thing for us to do is remain exactly where we are physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Note, I said “in the short term” because this may FEEL the most comfortable but ultimately it will lead to our demise. When it comes to your physical well-being, you have to endure the pain in order to enjoy the achievement. In other words “no pain, no gain.” I’m sure that’s a phrase you’ve heard many times before. It’s absolutely true, not just for our physical well-being but in all areas of our life. We lie to ourselves about our current situation so we can avoid that pain. If I can tell myself that I’m physically fine, I don’t need to engage in any painful activities like running, weight lifting, stretching, yoga, or other physically beneficial exercises. This should really be called “Lying to avoid gain” since, when we avoid the pain, we also avoid the gain. So, ask yourself, what pain are you trying to avoid through your lies?
- Constraints to your spending and budget?
- Limitations in your food indulgences?
- Dealing with unhealthy relationships?
We Lie To Ourselves To Boost Self-Esteem
Human beings are motivated by two things: the avoidance of pain (see above) and the gaining of pleasure. It’s no great secret, feeling like we’re awesome is very pleasurable for most of us. This is the second reason why we lie to ourselves, to boost our self-esteem, or make ourselves feel like we’re pretty amazing. This is basically the inversion of the avoidance of pain which doesn’t affirm anything positive but ignores the negatives. We’ll say things like:
- “I did everything I could to make that relationship work.”
- “I’m the only one at my job who does any work.”
This is how we boost our self-worth through lies about our actions. I want to make sure we understand this difference in lying about actions versus identity. This is why I want to make sure I go into this next topic. The following is probably the most important part of this episode:
When Is It Beneficial to Lie to Yourself
Ok, let me clarify: reality can be incredibly deceiving when we realize, through the incredible power of thought, we create our reality. So, what’s this mean when it comes to lying to yourself? If my thoughts ultimately create my reality, then there can really be no lying to yourself. In fact, with this mindset, we understand that everything we think has the potential to become our reality and it’s no longer a lie. That’s a very difficult pill for a lot of people to swallow and one some of you are going to flat out reject. That’s quite alright and expected because each of us is at a different place in our journey and understanding of this life we live.
Difference Between Your Physical Self and Your True Self
I’m not going to go too deep into this area, as it’s an entire course unto itself, but I do want to make sure we differentiate our physical self and our true self. The reason being, when we determine truth versus deception based solely on what we see, hear, and feel in the physical, we may be lying to our true spiritual self.
Is God Lying to You?
Because I spent so many years in the evangelical Christian culture, I can help you understand this if you’re in the same thought bubble. In this world we talked often about how man sees us compared to how God sees us. I’m going to go “all Christian-y” on you now, so forgive me if this is foreign to you. It is “the Christ” within us through which we’re to see ourselves. In Christianity you’re taught that this indentity through Christ only comes after we’ve regurgitated a magic set of words which apparently bring this to us. I understand now that Jesus wasn’t teaching an exclusive access to this “Christ within” but encouraged all to see themselves in that same way. So, if you know you’ve done something harmful to yourself or others, but God see’s the “true self” or the “Christ within you” which is pure and perfect and whole (and true for all people of all (or no) faith), is God believing a lie about you? Or, are you believing the lie of who you are based on the physical which you can see?
Claim Your True Identity
Hopefully now you can see how it might be best to lie to yourself when you want to believe the false appearance of yourself, based on the visible physical world. Yes, I know, this is kind of an odd world view according to the mainstream way of thinking. I still encourage you to explore it, initially, from a distance, but ultimate to really dig into it and figure out your true spiritual self. Speak only of the truth of the Christ within you and do not be mislead by the lies of the physical world. When we begin to embrace and own this identity, we’ll move physically to better reflect this true self in the physical, just as it is in the spiritual.
How to Turn Handle Our Shortcomings?
This brings us to a very difficult place to reconcile all I’ve shared up to this point. If I continue to tell myself that I’m doing just fine (because that’s the identity of the true self within) I’ll never improve the action of my physical self. This is where you must understand “who you are is different than what you do.” Psychologists will tell you, the best way to turn around the behaviour of a child is to convince the child they’re better than the person they’re showing us. When we emotionally and psychologically beat down and berate a misbehaving child, we train that child to believe they are who we say they are. “You’re very bad and you don’t deserve to play outside!” or “You never do your homework, you’re going to fail your class and you’ll end up dropping out of school!” You can see how bad this sounds when it’s written in front of our eyes, but how many times have we had these or similar words come out of our mouth? Or, let me ask an even tougher question, how often have these or very similar words been thoughts in your mind, about yourself? “I’m horrible at math and I’m never going to pass this class.” It’s time you stop telling yourself the lie of the physical and begin owning the truth of the identity which is the true self, the Christ within you. When we repeat this truth, we are never lying to ourselves.
Be honest about your actions and your identity. Make sure you differentiate these two so you own the perfect identity within you which will compel yourself to manifest the actions of this true self. Do this by reinforcing your true identity when you speak of yourself, in spoken word or thought while reminding yourself to align your actions with the Christ within you. Remember, you can read and/or listen to the entire series “30 Things to Stop Doing To Yourself” by going to the special page I’ve created for it:
Thank you very much for sharing part of your time with me,