What sort of lies do you regularly tell yourself? Do you tell yourself you will fit into those jeans again someday? Or maybe you tell yourself you are only going to watch one more episode. Me, I tell myself I don’t need to write something down — that I will remember it. Big fat lie. And I know it. Yet, I still tell myself that, and I believe myself! I easily talk myself into believing lies I know are not true. What’s more, is I act on those lies. I will tell myself I don’t need to write down that killer blog topic I just thought of while in the shower. I will also tell myself I am full of shit. And, then I tell myself this time will be different! I will remember this time. And, of course, I don’t. I completely forget my million dollar stroke of genius before I am even done washing my hair.
Those sort of lies — the I will only eat a few chips sort of lies — are pretty harmless. What happens when we tell big lies to ourselves? What happens when we tell ourself we are too stupid, or too broke, or too old to do something? What happens when we look at ourself in the mirror and tell ourself we are ugly?
How much time do you think you spend telling yourself lies? How much mental effort do you spend on finding every real and perceived fault you have and using that as an excuse to not do something — to not leave the job you hate, not to leave the loveless marriage, to not seek what excites you? An hour? Two? Probably many, many more. How much happiness do you think living by these lies is costing you? How much happier could you be if you saw the lies for what they are — beliefs we have been given by others as a means of control, or beliefs that we choose to hide behind because we are afraid? How much happier could you be? Much, much happier, I believe.
Below is a list of common lies we tell ourselves. When you find yourself repeating a lie from this list, or from the thick file of “All The Ways You Have or May Have or Might Yet in The Future, FAIL” that lives in your head, redirect that thought by telling yourself, THAT IS A LIE. You can say in out loud or not, either way works — but you must begin to gain control over the conversation that is happening in your head. If you are serious about changing and growing into the amazing person you are, you have to stop being passive to these lies. You have to confront them.
Here’s what that looks like — I am in the shower and think of the most awe inspiring article to write. I then tell myself, surely I will remember this later, I mean, it’s SO good — how could I forget it?! This is where I have a choice; I can believe my lie, KNOWING I have a good chance of forgetting OR I can call it for what it is. I can say, “That is a lie!” But, I’m not done yet. There is more to this than just words. Now that I have called it out, I have to follow up with an action — if I truly want things to change. Not only do I have to think differently, I have to act differently. I have to either immediately stop what I am doing and write it down, or I need to write it down as soon as possible, if I can’t stop right away.
A word of caution: Don’t over-think this, and don’t over complicate it. Don’t spend time and energy chasing the why and the who and the how. It is common to spend precious time, energy, and money on trying to figure out what led up to having these beliefs. Who did this to me? Why do I believe it? What are all the ways I have failed in life because of this lie? What have I missed out of because of this lie?
I ask you this; do you want to know the philosophy and reason behind your lies, or do you want them to change? Do you want to plot, plan, and figure — or do you want to get better and grow? Most people want to grow. All you have to do to grow in this case, is to see the lie for what it is.
Some Examples of the Lies We Live By
I will finish that tomorrow.I am only drinking to take the edge off. I don’t deserve to ask for that raise.I will start my diet on Monday.I’m never going to make enough money.I will quit after the next one.I deserved to be hit, I had it coming.No one wants to hear what I have to say anyway.This is just the way I am, I can’t help it. If I fail at this project, it will mean I am a loser. I can’t do that, I will just make a fool of myself. I’m too old to go back to school. I don’t have time for this.I can’t do what I love and make money.