Why do we as human beings lie to ourselves? Fear. We fear the truth and its consequences, so we deny our feelings. This kind of behavior can sometimes have its origins in childhood experiences. If we were not given a healthy feeling of self worth and a sense of belonging; if we didn’t have a safe place to process and consider our feelings, we learned to deny the truth about what was happening around us and our feelings about it. Eventually we became able to close ourselves off from our feelings altogether. Denial is a powerful, powerful thing. As a child, you may have learned to deny your feelings as a way to insulate yourself from the painful circumstances that surrounded you. This kind of self defense may have served as a way to protect you when others didn’t. Now that you’re an adult, you may not even be aware that you’re lying to yourself when things go wrong.
You could be telling yourself a lie that prevents you from accessing the greatest joy of your life in an attempt to avoid pain or disappointment: “I’ll never be able to do it right. I just shouldn’t have kids. Look at how my parents screwed me up.” Or, you may be feeling the pain of an unacceptable situation, without having any understanding of fact that you could be the one to extricate yourself from it: “I just wish she would stop cheating on me. I know what she’s been up to. Everything would be okay, if she’d just stop seeing other people behind my back.” By learning to be more honest with ourselves, we could avoid a lot of pain and suffering.
Animals don’t have this problem. If something is good, they run toward it. If something is bad, they shy away from it. They do not have the kind of elaborate thought processes that we do, and so are unable to circumnavigate the whole fight or flight process. Humans are the only creatures who lie to themselves about danger-to their own peril. Even insects have systems of detecting danger and warning others of their kind to stay away.
When my own marriage was falling apart, I told myself the same lie over and over again: It Will Get Better. I didn’t know how or when or by what miracle this was going to happen, but I clung to this lie. On the outside everything seemed fine, and everyone thought we had the perfect marriage (note how I said it seemed fine). Of course, a few people knew. But, honestly, even they were thinking: It Will Get Better. How do I know this was a lie? Because it came with a whole list of what I call companion lies. Lies like: Every Marriage Has These Kinds of Ups and Downs; He Didn’t Mean To Do That; He’ll Change, Because He Loves Me; He’s Going To Start Considering My Feelings; I’ll Never Love Anyone As Much As I Love Him; If I Leave Him, It Means I’m A Bad Person-No Matter How Much He’s Hurt Me and Let Me Down; If I Get Divorced, I’ll Be A Failure; I’m Too Old To Find A Soul Mate Now, etc. It was not until a friend said to me, “We have exactly what we think we deserve in our lives,” that I realized that by staying in my loveless marriage, I was telling the world that I didn’t think I deserved to be loved. I finally saw that I had been lying to myself for years. That was when I knew I had to take action. I had to give up on what was never going to be, and begin the search for what was meant to be.
We are all capable of love, joy, hope, success, friendship and peace. At Life Skills Resource Group Orlando, our counselors are ready to help you find the truth that can lead to all of these. Visit the Our Team page to read about each of our counselors and contact one of us to schedule a Free Phone Consultation and begin your journey to the life you deserve. Kim