Lies That Harm Us the Most (And How to Stop Thinking Them)
“I lie to myself all the time. But I never believe me.”
― S.E. Hinton (Tweet This)
Most of us have a constant dialogue running through our minds. Unless we’re well-practiced conscious thinkers, there’s a continuous loop of judgments, motivations, decisions, contrasts, parallels, directions, and an infinite number of other things running through our heads.
How we speak to ourselves influences our perceptions, choices, and actions. Though we live in a world where we’re greatly assessed by outward presentation, it’s our root thoughts that influence us the most.
We’re taught that deception is immoral, and we’re often on alert to determine if the people around us are lying. Lies and omissions can be painful when we find ourselves on the receiving end of such behavior, but what happens when we lie to ourselves?
When our perception influences us, it’s our own lies that harm us the most. The words we whisper to ourselves are the most powerful we say.
Here are seven of the most common lies we tell ourselves. Learn to recognize and correct these thoughts that hold you back, and you’ll find yourself experiencing a whole new reality.
1. Nothing changes.
Telling yourself that the world is static is a surefire way to limit your possibilities, shut down new paths, and perpetuate stagnation. The world changes from moment to moment. Every breath we take is different; being stuck in a lie like this one can destroy your ability to make necessary changes. Addicts get stuck in this way of thinking often. If it’s accepted that nothing changes, then why try to do something better? Why try to adjust your life or the lives of others?
Observe your moments. Watch how nothing is the same from one moment to the next. Even simply staring at a wall can change as your perception augments or the light shifts.
Nothing is set in stone. Progress is real. When you treat each moment as unique, your life explodes into exciting, new possibilities.
The world is constantly morphing, and as every person makes a decision, a whole new set of circumstances is set in motion.
If you believe that nothing changes, it’s because you’re telling yourself that little lie. Look around. Remind yourself that everything is a work of art in progress. Play with it. Become it. Live and breathe it. Know it. Move forward.
2. That has nothing to do with me.
Moms across the world have said it for a long time.
“Point the finger at someone else and you’re pointing three right back at yourself.”
The world is constantly adjusting, and you’re a part of that world. Whether you make active choices or make the choice not to make a choice, both are a choice.
We often compartmentalize and square ourselves away in protective barriers. We see horror and hardship across the news, and pains of all kind splash across our screens every day.
If you’re not involved in one of those high-profile situations, it’s easy to judge that it has nothing to do with you.
That is a lie.
The world is a community. How we buy food, shop for clothes, and conduct our lives affects people not only in our homes and immediate community, but globally as well. Products flow in from all over the world. How we transport our goods and the conditions in which they are made shapes lives far beyond your own. These aspects are also connected to the jobs we choose to work.
Distancing ourselves in an “Us vs. Them” or a “Me vs. You” mindset doesn’t take in the full spectrum of our actions.
When you see something good or bad in the world, ask yourself how you contribute to creating that situation. Ask yourself every day. We do not put enough weight in how we live our lives or choose to spend our money. Paying more attention and understanding that everything is interconnected allows more empathy in our lives. You start to recognize that you’re a vital part of how the entire world functions.
When you start seeing your role in the world, you can contribute more of your time, energy, and money to things that heal instead of harm. As more people pay attention, the world has the potential to change.
3. It’s all my fault.
Our lives overflow with advertising that’s designed to point out our flaws and illustrate how products can solve all our problems. We’re inundated with the idea that we’re not good enough. Accepting this as commonplace allows marketing to create a global society of self-hating people who lack a core sense of security.
Allowing self-hate and guilt to permeate your life is easy.
Stop it, please.
Start paying attention to how you talk to yourself. Do you speak to yourself harshly?
Do you have unkind people in your life that blame you for things that are out of your control?
Do you beat yourself up with words on a regular basis?
Being accountable is one thing, but taking on the world’s problems, distorting your own perceptions, and allowing others to project their issues on you is crushing.
Start taking a strong assessment of what is within your control. If something is not within your control, and you have not intentionally done harm, it is not all your fault.
Be aware of how advertising paints your needs into a corner. Do your best to ignore it, and stop shaping a negative picture of yourself in your mind.
Thoughts shape action, and belittling yourself holds you back. Be accountable, but don’t be the fall guy.
4. They don’t understand.
Assuming others can’t or won’t make the stretch to see a different point of view is limiting. You’re creating judgment, placing it on others, and carrying it around with you.
We’re often unwilling to expect that individuals are more compassionate than we judge them to be. Living in black and white is easier than understanding the complexity of the human condition and accepting that other people are influenced by a multitude of factors — as are you.
This is another example of “Us vs. Them” thinking. Allowing this dialogue to play through your head puts you and everyone else in a box. It lets you off the hook for trying to communicate or expand a situation.
Whenever you catch yourself disrespectfully using the word “they” or “them” about a group of people or assuming someone doesn’t or can’t get it, try to see the situation from their point of view. Imagine the shoe on the other foot. Seek examples of how decisions can be made from that person’s experience.
Whether you attempt to expand the dialogue or not, making a habit of showing empathy and giving the benefit of the doubt will broaden your ability to interact with people and broaden your own view of the world.
5. I’m broken.
Note to self: I am not a clock.
If you always feel like you’ve failed or can’t do anything right, feeling broken can be normal. When you allow yourself to fall into the trap of judging yourself, you’re rarely allowing yourself room to grow.
Such thoughts create actions that are infused with doubt, insecurity, and fear. You can’t get on the positive train if you’re focusing on what is wrong with what you’ve done, the life you’ve lived, or how situations have unfolded.
One cannot go back. One can only move forward. If you become aware of telling yourself that you’re broken, you can remind yourself that you’re not a clock.
Large chunks of media coverage, history, and publicity is whitewashed. We’re exposed to a perpetual cycle of all bad or all good, and sometimes we can’t quite grasp that successful, kind people are not one-dimensional. We’re flashed examples of airbrushed bodies, lives, and relationships. We think something is wrong with us when we don’t live up to that standard.
That’s all distorted reality, and it’s holding you back. Drop unreasonable expectations and tune out what is commonplace. Meeting unrealistic guidelines does not a happy life make. That’s a path to disappointment and mediocrity. Recognize your hardships, see how they’ve shaped and benefited you, and move forward. Consciously.
6. Everything’s okay.
You can hear it, can’t you? You’re having a craptastic morning, and someone asks how you’re doing. You say, “okay.” You drone through your days doing things you kinda like — maybe.
You say you’re okay. It is okay. It’s not awful, but it’s not awesome.
You’re lying. It’s not okay. Not awful does not equal okay.
This isn’t about manifesting material things or having things in its perfect place. Nothing will ever be perfectly in place. If you think it will be, you’re chasing an illusion.
If you’re not feeling much of anything, it’s also not okay. If you’re just ho-hum, it’s not okay. It is, however, okay to admit you’re not okay.
Open your eyes. Look at your moments. Be engaged. This isn’t even about being truthful with others about how you feel. It’s about being truthful with yourself about how you feel. Be present in your moments. See what you don’t love and work to liberate yourself from the boredom of okay-ness.
Don’t be afraid of your feelings. When you can admit to yourself that you’re disappointed or bored, you give yourself room to improve. Be more than okay.
7. I don’t have time.
It’s as if we’re all living our lives on a planner with more time slots than actual time in the day. We cram our days with things that we think we need to do. Often, we backburner the things we want to do in favor of doing the things we are supposed to do.
You may feel you don’t have time to write that novel or play on that volleyball team, but the truth is, you choose not to make time for it. Think of all the time you have on your hands. We make time to watch movies, peruse social media, sit in traffic, and get that extra work done.
Don’t lie to yourself and say you don’t have time.
Finding time to do the things you love is up to you. If you’re busy, you should schedule it. If you’re a procrastinator, you need to admit that it’s not the time you don’t have, but the true drive to get things done.
We are in charge of our lives and our time. Time is ours to use, and every moment makes up our lives.
The next time you say you don’t have time, recognize that you do. Don’t lie and say you don’t. Tell yourself the truth. You choose not to make time. See where you waste minutes, and start putting them to use. When you remind yourself that you choose how to spend your time, you can start rearranging your schedule to do the things you want and live the life you dream.