Why Do We Lie to Ourselves?

Bill Abbate

When was the last time you said, "I'll get to it someday."? Practically everyone repeats this common statement or something like it at some time in their life. Have you noticed how easily it comes out of our mouths and the mouths of others? But how often do we really mean it?

The word "someday" is so vague it is virtually meaningless. The following quote sums it up well:

"Someday is not a day of the week." Denise Brennan-Nelson

The lie

It is difficult to make such a vague statement without lying to ourselves and others. Whether we mean to or not, that is the result 99.9% of the time. Why do we tell ourselves this lie? Is it because we do not want to commit our time? Could it be because we want to do it but never find the time or make it available? There could be many reasons we never follow through on such a statement, so the lie persists.

"Someday' is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you.… If it's important to you and you want to do it 'eventually,' just do it and correct course along the way." Blake Mycoskie (1976-present)

Since when did lying to ourselves and others become okay? You say, "but it is just an innocent lie." Is it really? Since our lives exist because of our thoughts, what else will we allow in our lives if we permit this one "little" lie to exist?

Here is what the famous Russian novelist and author of Crime and Punishment had to say about lying to ourselves:

"Above all, don't lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love." Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881)

It sounds like Dostoevsky takes lying seriously, as should we. Too many so-called "innocent" lies exist in our society today. Sadly a great many of them come from the last people we need lying to us, politicians, and the media.

Why not stop lying to ourselves?

Did our parents not warn us that so-called "little white lies" were just as bad as big ones? This sentiment about "small" lies seems to have changed in the past couple of decades. Unfortunately, you can find articles saying little white lies are innocuous, socially acceptable, and not meant to deceive. Really?

The very definition of lying is to deceive! Could it be any clearer? Some people try to justify anything and everything today. How do they do it? By lying! You cannot make light darkness, or darkness light, no matter what anyone says!

Fortunately, a great deal of writing has existed for decades about how much harm lying creates, including these so-called small lies. Like many things in life, lying starts small and grows into larger and more deceitful lies. It can even get to the point where we quit thinking lies are so bad and stop recognizing them as lies. Until someone lies to or about us, that is!

Final thoughts

Why not start with this one little lie we tell ourselves so often and stop saying it! The proper use of "someday" is as the greatest heavyweight champion of all time used it:

"Live everyday as if it were your last because someday you're going to be right." Muhammad Ali

Now that is no lie!

Why not enjoy the significant benefit you gain when you quit lying to yourself and others? By always telling the truth, you avoid having to hide anything. Whenever we hide things in life, it creates unnecessary stress. When we rid ourselves of this stress by being truthful, we free ourselves to live a healthier, happier, and more peaceful life. I don't know about you, but I'll take that kind of life any day of the week!

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Semi-Retired-Leadership/Executive Coach -Personal & Career Growth Expert -Editor and Leadership Writer at Illumination -Author

Richmond, VA

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