Although it May Carry a Heavy Social Stigma, Lying is Something That All of Us Do
Lying is ubiquitous; it is a means to an end when we need to protect ourselves or simply to dissemble. It is so commonplace that we don’t even think about it. However, when it is discovered that someone has lied, there is often social condemnation, and the person becomes subject to social shame. As a result, lying is a societal taboo that is negatively perceived.
Despite the stigma surrounding it, lying has become a part of our everyday lives. It is how we navigate social situations, how we impress people, and how we deflect the unpleasant. Indeed, many people often find themselves unwittingly slipping into deceptive behavior, which mostly comes from anxiety or insecurity.
While the scale and scope of these lies may vary, the science behind it is uniform. Every time we deliberately mislead someone, our brains follow the same process, which lie detectors can measure. The technology used in these lie detectors relies on detecting lie-related thought processes that elicit anxiety and activity in the brain’s frontal lobe.
Lying, however, does not always take the form of deliberately deceiving someone. Sometimes, it involves lying to oneself, often in the form of self-talk, which can have significant implications. Although these lies may seem harmless, they carry the potential of preventing us from reaching our full potential.
Below are some of the most common lies we tell ourselves and how we can overcome them.
1. I cannot escape my past.
Many people who have experienced a traumatic past believe that they cannot escape it. They see themselves as hostages to their history and relive their difficult experiences as if they will never be free from them. It is therefore easy to slip into the mentality that escaping their past is impossible, rather than acknowledging the possibility that they may need help to heal and move on.
However, escaping one’s past is possible, and it all starts with a conscious decision to let go of the past and move forward. By taking meaningful steps towards healing and self-improvement, we can learn valuable life lessons, make better choices, and achieve greatness.
2. I can do it tomorrow.
Having a proactive attitude towards life is crucial to achieving self-improvement, but everyone faces challenges that require some level of resistance. Postponing challenges until tomorrow is often the easiest way out, but it prevents us from reaching our full potential.
Rather than postponing challenges, it is important to find courage and confront them head-on. This is where the magic of self-improvement happens.
3. I would be happy if only I could…
Perfectionism has a strong correlation with the fear of failure. Often, perfectionists find fault with people or opportunities to avoid disappointment. Self-examination is not an exception, and we often wish that we would be happier if only one aspect of our lives were perfect.
The truth is that nothing in life is perfect. Instead of focusing on what is lacking in our lives, it is important to appreciate what we have and strive to make it better.
4. I cannot cope in a crisis.
People’s feelings and thought processes are partly determined by their upbringing. Those with a negative mindset may find it challenging to cope in a crisis because they believe they are not equipped to handle the situation. This perception is flawed because challenging situations can present opportunities for growth.
It is crucial to develop a positive and robust mentality that allows us to better face challenging situations. This mentality helps us look for positive outcomes and helps us make the most of the opportunities in the challenges that we face.
5. I prefer to give than receive.
Generosity is a quality that is instilled in many of us from a young age. However, there is nothing wrong with enjoying receiving gifts. Feeling good receiving gifts does not make one selfish.
It is essential to embrace one’s fundamental nature as resisting it can lead to repression and a lack of contentment.
6. I am too busy to…
Sometimes, we become so preoccupied with our lives that we lose touch with reality. This leads us to make false assumptions, such as believing that we are too busy to catch up with friends and family.
It is usually not the case, and if we take the time to evaluate how we spend our time, we will be able to make room for what is important.
7. I cannot live without…
Words often hurt those we care about or elicit a response. However, this doesn’t mean we should start believing them. Words that we repeatedly tell ourselves, like “I cannot live without you,” can hinder our ability to move forward.
Overindulging in self-pity can lead to frustration, denial, and a lack of personal growth. It’s important to acknowledge such thoughts and work on moving on and achieving our goals.
8. I can change this person and their priorities.
Love can be a beautiful thing, but sometimes it can cloud our judgment. The belief that we can change a partner through persuasion alone may stem from insecurity, fear of letting go, or desire to control the situation.
Rather than hoping a partner will change, it’s best to voice our feelings and let them know what we want. If the situation doesn’t change, it’s important to be ready to walk away.
9. I hate my life.
Sometimes, we have difficult days or periods that make us question the meaning of life. Such moments can make us lash out and say things like “I hate my life.” But this doesn’t change one’s reality, and it is important to heal, evaluate, and change what’s not working.
Rather than creating an irritating, negative atmosphere, it is best to express the feelings constructively and work towards a solution.
10. I am so jealous of…
Jealousy is an emotion that can be utterly destructive. It often arises from trivial issues that we view with a lack of perspective and understanding. As a result, we often fixate on a particular individual who has nothing to do with our lives, leading to misplaced feelings of jealousy.
Rather than fixating and developing negative feelings, it is critical to look inward and find the cause of such insecurities.
11. I am too old to…
Although age is (of course) a factor that may change many things, it should not prevent us from living a happy and fulfilled life. Sometimes a deep-rooted fear of failure leads us to declare that we are too old to pursue a particular goal.
It is imperative to acknowledge that age and social customs should not prevent us from pursuing what we so desire.
12. I am unable to give up…
Giving up a particular vice, whether it be during Lent or not, relies on willpower and conviction. The belief that we can’t give up our vices is often an emotional response attributed to challenging situations.
Once we change our mentality, isolate the goal we’re trying to achieve, and adopt a positive outlook, we will find it easier to give up those vices.
Lying is a human weakness that is both conscious and subconscious. It is a societal taboo and is often viewed negatively. However, lying can take many forms and can even extend to self-deception. Some lies, often in the form of self-talk, may provide temporary comfort, but they can prevent us from reaching our full potential.
Awareness of the lies we tell ourselves is the first step in overcoming them. By developing a positive and robust mentality, being courageous and confronting challenges, and embracing what we have, we can live happy and fulfilling lives. We must stop lying to ourselves and confronting the obstacles that come our way.