I was reading an article recently, titled, The Radical Cure for Self-Deception. (By Carrie Flynn February 2010). What is self-deception? Self-deception is a process of denying or rationalizing away the relevance, significance, or importance of opposing evidence and logical argument. Self-deception involves convincing oneself of a truth (or lack of truth) so that one does not reveal any self-knowledge of the deception. In layman’s terms, it is lying to yourself.
Ben Franklin said, “It is the easiest thing in the world for a person to deceive himself.” Sometimes we lie to ourselves to shield our conscience from the truth, or to justify decisions we have already made. I agree with the author, when she writes, The number one reason we lie to ourselves is because facing the truth is too painful. Our self-deception blocks us from confronting the truth. Self-deception is an ability that we all possess and we have all practiced at one time or another. It is easy to deceive ourselves about faults, growth, habits, relationships, health, finances and the list goes on and on.
So what is true? How do we know it is true? How do we face what is true? As written above facing the truth is painful. So asking ourselves these questions would be the last thing someone would want to do. If you practice the art of self-deception, my thought is, you already know what the truth is and you are making a choice to look the other way. The biggest problem with lying to yourself is that in order to maintain the lie, you need to lie more and more. Eventually, the question becomes what is real? Let’s take the example of self-deceiving in health. I am currently working with a client, I will call her, June. June has actively practiced self-deception regarding her health for years. When I asked her why her response was; “I don’t want to face the reality. I am so scared of the reality, I avoid it”. The fear of what will happen if I face this? What if I stepped out of the dark and into the light and actually let my fear go? Then what? Then there is nothing to hide behind. Fear is an amazing component. It can stop us from doing a great many things, including saying no to self-deception.
Look at the fear. That is how I begin with my clients. We write it all down, break it all down. We put the feeling of the fear into an object. It could be a balloon, a rock, a blob of goo. We examine the object, etc. Once we realize that we are in control of the fear and can visually manipulate it…you are one step closer to moving into the light.
Control your fear, examine what you are lying to yourself about and with that knowledge take one step at a time.