I realized recently that I lie to myself a lot.
How did I miss that for all these years?
Things I lie about:
I will not eat the chocolate – big fat lie.
I will go for a walk each morning.
I tell myself I will not talk too much, and then I do.
That I will listen better, and then I don’t.
That I will work on the project, or make the call today, but I wait until tomorrow, or the tomorrow after that.
That “it” doesn’t matter, but “it” does.
Lying to myself is so easy, and I am good at it.
But I have come up with a plan, which I have been using and it has worked. Honestly!
In fact, it works so well I call it “My Lying to Myself Miracle Cure.”
My Lying to Myself Miracle Cure by Patrice
1. Awareness is always the first step. Notice if you are lying to yourself. Notice when you do it. Notice how it makes you feel.
Then smile about it, and be happy you noticed. An honest “Opps, I just told myself something I don’t think I will do,” is much kinder and more effective than “OMG, I am such a liar. I always . . .”
2. When you catch yourself telling a lie, rephrase and expand your statement.
Instead of telling myself my usual lie: “I will buy the big bag of chips because it is on sale, but I will save it until I have company.” “Or, I will buy the big bag because it is cheaper, but only eat half.”
I say something like this: “Hmm, I tell myself that, but every time I buy a big bag of chips I eat the whole bag by myself, and even though they taste great, after I eat them, I feel lousy. I do not like feeling lousy. What are my options here? I want the chips, but I really do not want to eat the entire bag by myself. Maybe I will buy the little bag. It costs more per ounce, but I will feel better about myself if I only eat the small bag.”
This takes practice and patience, but it is doable.
(And please note, you are right – sometimes buying and eating a whole bag, is perfectly okay – I just do not want to lie to myself about doing it.)
3. Look for patterns in your personal deceptions, do they surround: food, feelings, exercise, shopping, smoking, alcohol, work, projects, events, spouse/significant, kids, family, friends, events, situations, likes, dislikes, etc.
If so, realize these are areas that might need honest assessment and perhaps change. When you are more relaxed – i.e. not in the middle of the lie – take time to look at the situation and how you can make some changes, which will lead to less lying in the long run.
And, please do not tell yourself that you can’t, because that too is a lie and brings us to:
I think the worst lies we tell ourselves are the ones that limit us: “I can’t . . .”, “I won’t . . . “, “I will never . . .” Or the people around us: “You can’t . . .” “You shouldn’t . . .” “You don’t . . .”
I call these “limit lies.” (Hence, the bold section heading of “Limit Lies.”)
I have spent a great deal of time limit-lying to myself – telling myself I could not do things that I could do.
I did lose weight; learn to love statistics; graduate college; take the GMAT; lose weight; stop smoking; get my Masters; learn a foreign language after 50; lose weight (same 10 pounds, but it still counts); travel to Greece, Istanbul, Dubrovnik and lots of other places alone; figure out how to get to the top of the rope, mountain, hill and across the river and climb a 20-25 foot pole, stand on a teeny tiny platform and then jump to grab a big trapeze bar hanging 6 feet out-of-reach, which I missed. (Guess that last part wasn’t a lie, because I did keep telling myself I would not catch it.)
And my most recent biggie: “I could never ever write a blog.”
I need to stop lying to myself, and that is no lie.
So, surprise, surprise, I have come up with a plan to eliminate limit-lies. I use awareness and replace limit-lies with statements like this:
“Doing _____ scares me, but I might enjoy it.” “Doing ________ sounds difficult, but I would still like to give it a try.” “That really does not sound like something I want to try doing or learning now. Maybe later I will be interested.”
I am going to keep practicing and when I stop limit-lying to myself, I will refocus my attention on the chocolate and the chips.
How about you? Have you been lying to yourself about anything?
Any limit-lies you would like to share? Have you done something great that you told yourself you could never do?
Learned to drive, fly, dance, sing? Get out of debt? Make money? Get the job? Run the race? Meet the guy/gal? Be a fantastic Mom/Dad? Develop a better relationship with your Mom/Dad, spouse/significant, son/daughter, sister/brother? Take a walk or a vacation? Listen more? Write a book?
If so, let us know. We would love to hear about your success, and that’s the truth.