Are you an honest person? Obviously, you’re not! We all lie in one form or the other. And the most damaging lies are not the ones we tell others but the ones we tell ourselves. And the tragedy is that we have become such master liars that we can literally ‘kid ourselves into kidding ourselves’. Wait a minute – what the rat-ass is that supposed to mean. Let me explain because if you can understand this seemingly obvious concept, you can unlock doors to some massive positive changes awaiting you. So pay attention.
Knowing when someone is lying to us is easier than catching ourself lie to ourself. It’s like proofreading your own write-up. You read the paragraph 5 times and it reads perfectly. Gleaming with confidence, you show the same write-up to a friend and she spots a typo in her first glance even before she starts reading it. You just wrote ‘the’ twice (the-the is my favorite typo).
Call it a rare design flaw in God’s creation but our brain is not that good when it comes to finding its own faults. It has evolved to be seen right, to be seen as a hero.
When I ask you – are you honest with yourself? Your brain says YES the next second. Why? Because that’s how it’s designed to work, fundamentally to protect itself. But protect against what you must wonder? It protects itself from pain. The pain caused by our own actions or by others; actions or words that don’t go well with our self-image. Being called a liar doesn’t go well with our own self-image. So we lie.
When something challenges or disturbs our self-image, our brain lie as an impulse reaction. It tells itself a beautiful story that goes well with its self-image.
So when we light another cigarette, put a slice of pizza in our mouth, order another round of alcohol, open a porn site (yet again), open Facebook or Instagram every 5 minutes, talk to an ex, hit the snooze button of an alarm clock – we’re telling ourselves stories.
Has it ever happened to you – someone telling you that how much they love you but instead of feeling their love, you feel used? Can you imagine what story they are telling themselves?
Likewise, the people who cheat with their business partner, justify their misdeed by telling stories of their hard work, sacrifice and how they deserve what they actually stole.
When we lie to ourselves, we bury the lie deep and plant a fucking garden to conceal it. Lie, what lie? Look at that magnificent garden – your mind tells you.
What a tragedy.
Self-dishonesty is the biggest roadblock to self-knowledge and it’s a bigger problem because everything in our life flows from our self-knowledge – wealth, confidence, love, happiness, respect… literally, everything starts with self-knowledge. Without it, we make bad career decisions, bad financial investments, put our time and energy into wrong places, make wrong friends, choose wrong business partners, even choose a wrong life partner. Without self-honesty and thus self-knowledge, we can never know what we want and what makes us happy.
Instead of doing things we’d like to do, we do things ‘we like to like’ to do. Our life becomes a loop of lies, wrong decisions, and resulting unhappiness and the only way to break which is being ‘actually-actually’ honest to ourselves. Again, not the story of being honest, but actually being self-honest.
So next time, you tell yourself a story, catch yourself in the moment and ask – Is this a truth or a story I am telling myself to avoid pain? Introspect.
Now – let me ask you again – are you an honest person?