By Harry Petsanis and Donna McCance
Self-deception is lying to yourself.
Lying to yourself is a way of protecting your feelings to spare yourself from being hurt. It’s a way to defend your self-esteem (ego, sense of self) and falsely build your self-confidence.
We often lie to ourselves as a defense mechanism to avoid having to see ourselves as we really are, not accepting the fact that ultimately it just entrenches us more in our misery. People think It’s easier to lie than it is to face the reality that they are imperfect.
We lie to ourselves as a convenient way to defend what we want to believe or to save face from admitting we were wrong. Examples are: saying the boss doesn’t like you when they point out an area in need of improvement; saying there was something wrong with a test when you didn’t pass it; or saying you really didn’t want something when you realize you cannot have it.
Lying to ourselves is also a learned behavior. We have all witnessed other people lie, both to themselves and to us, about themselves and about us. We then take that behavior and extrapolate it to where we then become people who lie to other people and to ourselves.
When you lie to yourself, you are in denial of who you truly are. You aren’t fooling others because they can see who you are and you’re not fooling yourself, you’re actually making a fool of yourself.
Everyone lies and everyone is dishonest with themselves. Anyone who says they don’t lie or are not dishonest, are lying. That lie is a denial of any appearance that they are less than perfect. Emotionally intelligent people practice self-awareness so that they are able to self-correct. Emotionally immature people continue to live the lie.
When you are self-deceptive, you are not being logical because you are not rationalizing information. Trying to rationalize a lie is a futile attempt at blocking the truth, which will always be present and prevail in the end.
People want to give excuses when someone points out something about them, when they turn around call someone out for the exact same thing. People live a life of double standards, with a complete lack of accountability and self-awareness. They are fine with critiquing others, but detest it when others point things out to them.
One of the greatest obstacles to self-improvement and the backbone of self deception is the unwillingness to admit faults and mistakes. People who cannot admit they are wrong lack self-awareness, emotional maturity, and have fragile egos, all of which carry negative consequences in their lives. Emotionally intelligent people are able to deal with the reality of their errors through their development of emotional strength, which includes the courage to admit they were wrong. It requires work to develop that emotional strength and courage, and it can be achieved.
When we keep lying to ourselves about ourselves over time, we put ourselves in a state of denial and begin believing our own mistruths. We live a false life, defending every comment people make about how we may improve, digging ourselves even deeper into the hole of inauthenticity. People are more objective about what they see, and less objective when it pertains to them.
The only way out of the hole we’ve dug ourselves into is to start being honest with ourselves. The first step toward being honest with ourselves is to become self-aware through objectivity. In doing so, we will realize that while lying to ourselves may make us feel better at the moment, it creates long term damage. That long term damage causes us to be inauthentic, make unhealthy choices, and live in a false sense of reality.
Our February 7, 2022 blog on objectivity helps define the steps toward being honest with yourself:
Self-awareness involves the ability to interpret yourself objectively when determining if your actions align with who you truly are. That means identifying and eliminating any false honesty that you develop about yourself.
Objectivity allows you to look at life from a prism of honesty so you can develop true self awareness through self reflection.
Self-deception stems from the habit of people looking at life from the perspective of what someone has done to them, seldom from the perspective of what they have done to someone else and what they’re doing to themselves.
If you truly want to know who you really are, you need to step outside of yourself and look inward, free from your personal biases and emotional attachment to yourself. Look at yourself as if you are someone else.
Journaling can help you to identify what is causing you to be dishonest with yourself so you can start moving forward by creating changes to better yourself. Read our mindset blogs on authenticity, fear, objectivity, and other topics that will be helpful for your personal transformation toward building a new, healthy mindset leading to a new, healthy life.
About the Authors
Harry Petsanis is a philosopher of human nature, mindset specialist, and lifelong fitness and wellness specialist. He is a writer and author, with three published books: “The Truth is A Lie,” “The Logical Path To Life,” and "Knowing Me from A to Z, A Child's Mindset," which he co-authored with Donna McCance, M.Ed.. Harry has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He has an intense passion for psychology and the human condition.
Donna McCance, M.Ed. is a business administrator, writer, author, licensed teacher and principal/vice principal with over 20 years experience teaching in elementary education and educational leadership. She has a Masters in Education, Masters in Human Services Management, Bachelors in Business Administration and Associates in Business Administration.
Click here to order Harry Petsanis’s books
The Truth is A Lie" and "The Logical Path To Life"
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to order Harry Petsanis's and Donna McCance's newly published book
"Knowing Me From A to Z, A Child's Mindset"