We are so good at lying to ourselves we don’t even know we’re doing it. The lies are as subtle as they are profound:
- I don’t deserve to be happy, suffering is my lot
- I’m not meant to be hugely successful
- Fading into the background is easier than developing my talents
- It’s better to be safe and comfortable than to take a risk and really go for my dreams
- I’ll settle for less because I can’t imagine having more
- I’d rather be liked than be myself
There are good reasons for lying to ourselves. It protects us from truths we can’t handle. We learn to lie to protect our young and vulnerable egos from emotional and spiritual destruction. If we are ridiculed for being proud of our accomplishments, we want to hide our light. If our dreams are poo-pooed as unlikely, we stop sharing and eventually forget them.
As long as we believe our own lies, we’ll stay in our safe, small cocoons and never reach for the stars. Becoming aware of our self-lies is the beginning of growth, the movement from mere survival to truly being alive.
Are You As Good a Liar as Me?
I pride myself on being honest – with myself and with others. Which is why it’s always a shocker when I recognize yet another lie I’ve been telling myself. Today, it’s this:
“My talents are nothing special and my dreams are unlikely to come true.”
I’m so used to making myself small, I can’t imagine playing out my talents on a large scale.
I see others lying to themselves. One of the worst self-lies is believing that outside conditions can make them happy when all they need is right inside.
In my case, I know it’s a lie because I hear/know/feel some part of myself pushing toward my dream: Using my experience to help other people out of emotional hell.
Can Lies Lead to Truth?
Lies can lead us to truth is if we become aware of them AND if we decide to fight them. Here are a few suggestions for turning your dirty self-dishonesty into golden truth.
Acknowledge the lie, but don’t attach to it – Lies are the stories we tell ourselves based on false information. That information may have been fed to us in our youth, but we’ve learned to perpetuate it for ourselves. We can observe the story, acknowledge it, but detach from its “truth.” When we step back, and decide that the story doesn’t define our identity, then the lies lose their power.
Get a reality check – Once we’ve exposed our lies to ourselves, we can gain even further distance on them by asking friends for a reality check. How true is this story you’ve chosen to believe about yourself? If you’re like me, you’ll likely hear the opposite of what you think is true from your friends. Try to listen and allow rather than react negatively.
Act on your best vision for yourself – Much of the reason we stay stuck in our self-lies is because we think they define us. When we begin to parse out the truth from the lies, we allow for the possibility of a new vision of ourselves. Even if we still don’t believe the new possibility, we can act as if it’s true. The old stories became “true” because we repeated them over and over. So can the new vision become real if we add energy.
I’ve got some homework to do. How about you?