NEVER LIE TO YOURSELF.
There is one thing that really gets me upset and that is for my words, views or opinions to be willfully and deliberately twisted and distorted to make others look good and I look bad. No one wants to be labelled a liar or be subjected to a situation where others spread malicious lies to tarnish your good name and reputation. Once a malicious rumor is out there, it has this habit of spreading like wildfire and by the time it reaches your attention, irreparable damage has already been done.
What is however of more damaging consequences are the lies that we tell ourselves about ourselves. How often have we not said things about ourselves that is far removed from who we really are? In the process it totally derailed our vision, curtailed our passion, created doubt in our own abilities and caused us to act out of character to desperately project an image merely to impress others. I am not good enough, I simply don’t have what it takes, I come from a poor and disadvantaged background and this thing is totally beyond my reach, I am not attractive enough, I do not have the personality, I am too thin, I am fat, I am too short, I am not as good as so and so, I will never, this will forever, it will always……… Does this sounds familiar? If you fall for this bait, you are voluntary enrolling yourself as an honorary member of the Executive Lie Club. I come from a very impoverished background and high levels of family disorganization during my high school years. There was a time in my life when these things were serious impediments on my outlook towards life and my self-confidence took a serious beating. I could however not indefinitely wallow in this pity party and allow my senses to continuously being assailed by the lack in my life. The real Martin had to show up and instead of focusing and what I don’t have to what I can become, in an honest and rational manner.
‘’ If you want to be successful, you must respect one rule – never lie to yourself “ Paulo Coelho
THINK THROUGH WHAT YOU ARE TELLING YOURSELF
Self–deception is a process of misleading ourselves to accept claims about ourselves as true and valid when they are false and invalid. David Tripp describes this problem so well “ We’re all very good at making ourselves feel good about what God says is bad. We’re all very skilled at recasting what we’ve done, so what was wrong doesn’t look so wrong to us.”
We can very expediently rationalise the wrong and repackage it into a wrapper that looks acceptable. For example my arrogance will be explained as merely being assertive, deep seated anger gets couched as not being afraid to speak my mind, unbridled ambition can be justified as me merely living out my dreams and envy being masked as a mere difference of opinion.
If some of the above traits are left unchecked, we will get ensnared into a web of self – deception and effectively living a lie. This will invite other deviant aspects into our lives like pride. Pride will reinforce the lie as you increasingly look down on others and have a false sense of superiority. Pride will not only deceives us but makes us ineffective and fruitless. We will be well advised to think thoroughly through what we say about ourselves and continuously make an honest assessment as to whether we are truthful to ourselves.
INVEST IN THE TRUTH
The cost of lying is just too ghastly to contemplate. It starts very subtly with ‘’white” lies and later on you become so accustomed to it that it becomes part of your personality until you are deeply immersed in it. You will out of necessity have to sustain it in order to hide your own insecurities, the need for acceptance, the lure for easy fame and fortune and sometimes the chronic fear that your horrendous past might be found out and you simply not being ready to manage the possible consequences. Chronic lying is simply not good for your total well–being. Some people even lapsed into other destructive coping mechanisms to mask their life of lies and deceit like alcohol abuse, drug addiction and sexual promiscuity.
Everyone needs to have a set of values. Values are those non-negotiables in your life against which all your endeavors are calibrated. They define who we are and who we desire to be. If you do not know your core values, how will you know that you are honest with yourself? May I kindly raise a few questions with you just to calibrate your thought processes in this regard:
1. What do you tell yourself when you make a mistake? … stupid, failure, imperfect? It’s not how much you fall, it’s how many times you get up.
2. Do you talk when you should have been quiet or being quiet when you were supposed to speak up in a given situation? Are you being defensive or merely trying to keep a false sense of peace?
3. How do you respond when others are advancing quicker in life then you do? Envy says that they are less deserving then you.
4. What are you putting out there in the public? Is it authentic or are you projecting an image that is totally at variance with who you really are?
5. Are you overextending yourself to get into the good books of others? This can lead to a situation where you promise something you can’t deliver.
Being a people pleaser, can cause you to even put your life on hold to advance the agendas of others. Unless you set the agenda of your life for yourself, others will do it on your behalf.
6. To whom are you accountable? Are you genuinely open to wise counsel and advise or merely seeking the latter to endorse what you have already decided upon? Accountability in its simplest terms is a genuine and sincere request that says- I need you to help me to protect myself against myself.
7. In your workplace, have you merely settled for a position or are you pursuing your life’s mission? After the pay cheque, do you still have a real sense of purpose and destiny?
Life in itself is already a very complex undertaking; one cannot afford to overburden oneself with the baggage of lies and half-truths. Even more importantly, we cannot afford to perpetually have internal dialogues with ourselves that leads to a state of self-deception. Job 15 : 31 – 32 in the Message translation puts it so aptly “There’s a lesson here: Whoever invests in lies, gets lies for interest; paid in full before due date. Some investment! “ It all starts with a thought; changing your thoughts can radically change your life.
Our world is yearning for truth and authentic living. Keep truth alive in you!