You’ve seen and you’ve met people like that. You see that that there is something wrong with their lives. No, cross that. You see exactly what’s wrong with their lives, and how they can fix it, and you are surprised that they didn’t do it already. However, when you start talking more to these people, you realize that they do not even see it (oppressive relationship, meaningless job, self-destructive behaviors/lifestyle, <insert your own example here as there are many others>) as a problem. They act surprised when you ask leading questions, admitting they never thought about it this way. They practically admit that they never asked themselves many questions, accepting their lives the way they were.
So, you walk out of the party, feeling that you, like Spanish settlers in North America introducing Christianity to locals, you have enlightened this person and showed him/her the true meaning of life. You feel pleased and you recognize the important role you have played in this person’s life.
Now, imagine that few months have passed, and you meet this person again, perhaps at another party. You are surprised that this person does not look happy to see you, in fact it looks like this person is trying to escape communicating with you all together.
So you finally approach this person and ask him/her a question related to his/her previous problem. To your surprise, this person continues having the very problem he/she had before. Moreover, he/she did not even try addressing this problem, and now rudely tells you to leave him/her alone.
Perhaps this experience really confused you. Perhaps you stopped helping people after this and started pretending that everything is well to keep some relationships. What if, however, you are this person with the unsolved problem?
How could this be? Why would someone, instead of appreciating the help, pretends that the problem does not exist? Well, most of us actually have been lying to ourselves at one point of our lives.
How to find out if you’ve been actually lying to yourself?
- When someone points out something they think is a problem, the first feeling you get is some sort of a sharp pain (or anxiety or some negative emotion like stress), but you pretend that nothing happened and respectfully tell them to mind their own business
- There are insightful questions about yourself that can make you angry or stressed.
- It’s been weeks since the last time you were reflecting on your life/your goals/aspirations, and
- Whenever someone suggests you to do it, you find an excuse to avoid doing it (because you do not want to disappoint yourself and you’d rather feel good lying to yourself)
- When you are not reflecting on your life on a daily basis
- When you do not ask WHY you are feeling what you are feeling
- When you think about the people from your past, you can only remember good or bad things – being hyper-pessimistic or optimistic (for example, if you had a fight with someone and you two are no longer in contact, but whenever you remember this person you can only think of the fun times you had together)
- When you are generally unhappy, unsatisfied or feel that you are searching for something that you cannot define (for example, you cannot finish a single book- you get to the middle and you put it aside because something in the book bothers you)
- While feeling unhappy/unsatisfied, you are struggling with identifying a problem
- You change your mind. I am talking 360 degrees – one day you make a decision to change your life in some major way (e.g. leave a job that you hate, quit an abusive relationship) but next day you remind yourself of all things that can go wrong (your fears get the best of you) and you decide to postpone the big decision to a later date (that may never come)
- You avoid people, books or horoscopes that point to the issue that you are having
- You seek escape or distraction from your current situation. You may want to be too focused on traveling and seeing new places, or keeping your calendar and to-do list busy just to avoid being alone with yourself
- You “nominate” someone else to be the source of your happiness. This is always wrong because it is not fair to the other person, and also because happiness comes within, not from outside.
- You are too focused with other peoples’ problems that you do not get the time or effort to deal with your own – whether it is your friends’ relationship, your boss’ health issues, world politics, Kardashian’s divorce or a lack of thereof – something always keeps you busy
- You find ways to clutter your mind and do not spend enough time in reality. While learning is something very important, you take it to the next level because you seem to be interested in learning everything about everything. You are too curious about the world but your knowledge does not make any difference to the way you live your life, what you do or how you can help others.
- You blame others as an excuse for doing or not something, including habits
- If this post upsets you or makes you angry
What to do if you have actually lied to yourself?
- If after reading this, you’ve realized that you’ve been in some shape or form lying to yourself, it is fine.
- The most important is to identify that this happened, accept it and start doing something about it.
- You can start by taking sometime each day to reflect on what happened, how it made you feel and what this all means (the bigger picture).
- Write like no one will read it.
- Or better, write like you are writing to your future self, and think what aspects your future self will agree with you about, and what aspects your future self will tell you to address.
- Additionally, you should always phrase your answers from the perspective of seeing the situation in third person. Write facts and emotions separately. If it helps, imagine yourself looking on at a close person to you experiencing the same situation you have just experienced. Think about the situation factually. What happened? Do not use any references to ifs or maybes. Only reflect on what you’ve observed. Then reflect on the emotions you have observed yourself to have experienced during the situation. This will help you see the effect that your emotions play on your interpretations.
- You can even go as far as estimating the best and worst possible outcomes that may take place as a result of you not making any changes to your life. Keep in mind as many factors as you can, and how each person in your life, including yourself, will be affected in both cases.
- Finally, you can also do what business analysts call a “gap analysis” – identify your current situation (where you are right now), where you want to be, and how far these two things from
each other, estimate the time it will take you to get your desired state (let’s say you are giving yourself a year to find a dream job), write down a list of specific actions that will take you from point A to point B, and write down 3 things you can start doing today. The most important is to then go and actually do them.
- Do not delay your actions to a better date – the sooner you will start addressing the problem, the sooner you will achieve your desired state.