“Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies…” ~ Stevie Nicks
How many lies do we tell ourselves on a daily basis? Sometimes we need to pause and take a good look at ourselves. A habit that has become an unhealthy pattern of addiction may creep up on us, but we are continuing to believe we can give it up any time we want. We may think we have put on a few extra pounds, unable to see the truth that the mirror reflects back on us. Those few pounds may have added up to a health threatening level.
It is easy to live with a lie if you repeat it often enough. Sometimes this is how we make a relationship work. You can create a whole story about the person you love, not recognizing it is based in a fantasy. Believing in love, in the fantasy, you may go for many years denying the reality of who that person really is. Your friends may try to tell you, and you will turn against your friends. ‘No-one knows him like I do’ you will tell yourself. Or you will be sure that with your help, he will become the version that you are so in love with.
On NPR I heard about a study that found that there was a high correlation between people who lie to themselves, and successful athletes. It makes sense. They say if you conceive it, and believe it, you can achieve it. And that may mean that you actually have to lie to yourself in order to visualize winning against a crowd or competitors, or against your personal best. So perhaps it isn’t always a bad thing to be able to believe in a dream that defies the odds.
But many of us are not using our self-deceiving stories for such a cause. We get into habits of thought that permit us to cope with our reality, that enable us to live with unwholesome situations. But what happens when we look ourselves in the eye? Can we examine our stories, and see if they are really helping us?
An addict has to first admit that they have a problem before anything can begin to change. By refusing to search and find the lies we tell ourselves, we are blocking the potential to change and to grow. We stay stuck in unhealthy patterns, some of which may be life-threatening. I watched an interview with Jennifer Hudson the other day. Even though the brother-in-law who killed her mother and nephew had made many threats against the family, his wife never believed him. She managed to lie to herself that he was something other than what he was. Women who stay in abusive relationships lie to themselves every day.
But we deserve so much more than lies and abuse. Our bodies deserve to be treated with respect, to be fed healthy food, to be exercised and honored with good habits! Once we open the door and survey the lies we have been telling ourselves, we make room for the sun to shine on our true potential; we give ourselves permission to grow into the best people we can be.
This Friday morning I challenge you to identify one lie you are telling yourself, so you can make a fresh start. Whether it is a vice you need to give up; a relationship that is harming you more than you know; or a diet that is packed with unhealthy fat calories. Perhaps the time has come for a candid heart to heart with yourself. Admitting the lie may be the hardest part. After that comes the relief as you drop the weight of the lies off your shoulders. Looking back, it may amaze you how long you were able to persuade yourself of something that was completely false. You will see your friends nodding their heads, they tried to tell you. Trust me; I am speaking as one who believed in a lie for many years. It holds you back from living an authentic life, and being the best that you can be.
I wish for you the strength to look deep within, and then to forgive yourself. Most of the time we delude ourselves not for any malicious reason, but as a way to cope with life’s challenges. We are human, and will continue to mess up. Lean on your friends, reach out for support, but confront your uncomfortable truths. Your life may be so much richer once you take that brave but uncomfortable step.
Have a wonderful Friday, and a great weekend!