Dishonesty can be super destructive, but it’s even worse when the one lying to me is the man in the mirror. Here are 5 lies we tell ourselves.
One of my favourite bands is going to be here in Brisbane in the next few weeks – TFK. Absolutely love those guys. Usually when I’m giving people a lift somewhere and they haven’t ridden with me before, people always comment that they’re surprised I listen to their style of music. Not many people pick me as a metal/rock fan, but when it comes to their music I can’t get enough of it. They do have quite a few more mellow acoustic ballads too, which make up some of my favourite songs of all time, but I do love their more grungy and heavy stuff too. No matter which style of song they’re doing, the boys at TFK have some of the best lyrics around. One of their songs set me on a line of thinking here –
Welcome to the Masquerade.
The song is pretty much a reflection on how we live in a sea of masks, all portraying a character we think we’re supposed to be. With our distorted projections and falsehoods, we present to others an image of ourselves that isn’t necessarily true. And we join with all the others in our lives who are doing the same. Pretty profound thought.
And it got me thinking – I think most of the time we’re not always aware we’re doing it. I think if we’re really honest about it, the one we’re usually the most dishonest with is ourselves. We’re dishonest with others because what we’re saying actually sounds true to us, because we’ve been lying to ourselves for so long.
Michael Jackson said to change the world, he was gonna be starting with the man in the mirror. Maybe we should do the same. Here are 5 lies we tell ourselves.
#1: It’s not a big deal
Oooh boy. Let’s start with a big one.
Have you ever found yourself in a conversation where someone or something is frustrating you? I know I have. Many times in these situations I’ve found myself biting my tongue and then just going on later thinking “ah well, it’s not that big a deal”.
But that’s not always true, is it?
Sy Rogers, renown relationship speaker, said that in our relationships, a little resentment goes a long way. In putting others before ourselves, sometimes we’re afraid to be true to what we really need or want. And this can be our standard approach to conflicts, disappointments or opportunities… for a while.
But eventually the heart builds up and becomes overwhelmed with how repressed it has had to be.
Because those things we said didn’t matter actually really did. And they still do.
I think we need to be quick to jump on these things when we identify them. And continually squashing our desires can eventually lead to an eruption or a sustained depression – a path we don’t want to go down.
#2: I’m too busy
I know we say this one to others, but I find myself sometimes saying this to myself. Oh I can’t go help that person cause I’m too busy. I have too much going on. My calendar is smashed.
It really isn’t always that smashed, you know. Sometimes yes, for sure, but sometimes we can say this by default when we haven’t actually thought about it. Often life is actually more about what we make time for then what just so happens to fall in the schedule.
Maybe sometimes we need to take a step back and think about what we really mean when we say we’re too busy. Often we’re busy doing the things that don’t matter at the expense of some things that really, really do. It’s usually because we’re lying to ourselves about the value we’re placing on certain things in our lives.
#3: I have to
I have to do it. I have to be there. I have to finish this. I have to be the one. I have to.
I think we lie to ourselves way too much about what we feel obligated to do. I dunno about you, but I’m fortunate to live a life where I don’t have anyone holding a gun to my head forcing me to do the career I’ve chosen, to live the lifestyle I do, to plan my week the way I plan it, to use my time the way I choose to spend it.
When we say “I have to”, it’s usually short form for “this is something I believe is really important”. But then there are other times where that’s not true, either. Sometimes we’re doing things because we’re on autopilot, or because we feel like we don’t want to disappoint someone else, or because we really don’t know what else to be doing, or because we don’t like having nothing on because we get our identity from our activity.
I know I went through a big season last year where I got myself in a bad health situation because of a warped view of “I have to”. Fortunately, you and I still have choices to make. You’re not trapped, you still have your free will.
Will my decisions today take me closer to or further away from the person I want to be?
#4: I’ll work it out myself
This one is dangerous.
I really have never encountered a big decision in my life or had friends facing big decisions where there has been any wisdom in facing things alone. Usually our perspective is limited and emotionally driven, and doesn’t see enough of the picture to be able to make an informed or wise decision. You know what this really amounts to?
We’re too proud to ask for help. Too proud to admit a need. Too proud to get a second opinion. Too proud to let it hurt. Too proud to be corrected. Too proud for whatever reason.
I’ve had to train myself to really challenge myself whenever I try to say this to myself. In fact I’ve even told other people to challenge me if I ever try to go down this path. Because we weren’t meant to do this alone. And we don’t have to.
I saw a picture this week (wasn’t able to find it again) of someone sinking in a sea of Worthlessness, Uncertainty, Depression and Despair, tied up by a chain and a weight around their ankle pulling them to the bottom of the ocean. The name of the weight was Pride.
Is the 5 seconds of temporary embarrassment really worth drowning over?
#5: No one understands or cares
This one is heart breaking. Another line from a TFK song comes to mind here, from the song Hurt:
And it hurts when you’re lonely, and I’m standing right beside you
Have you ever tried to be there for someone close to you – either friend, family member, even sometimes someone who’s come to you for help – but when you do your best to show them you’re there for them, they just don’t seem to get it? Or worse – they tell you you aren’t there for them.
I wonder if we’re doing that to others in our lives.
This lie is very, very dangerous. It is usually driven by a deep sense of loneliness or despair. These feelings can be very real. Unfortunately, our feelings can speak to us louder than the reality sometimes.
Because we all do have people in our lives who care for us. It’s sad that often we’re quicker to blame others for not being there for us than we are to have an honest look as to whether or not it’s our perception of their involvement in our lives that’s actually the problem.
You are loved and cherished beyond all words. We need to let the truth of that override our feelings of being the only one. Nothing has seized us except that which is common to man. I love this thought because it reminds me that literally no matter what I’m going through or feeling right now, someone else has either felt like that or feels the same way.
People are sometimes surprised at how a generally pleasant and cheerful sort of guy like me has actually gone through some really, really dark times. When people have said that I don’t get it, it’s been really sad for me because I just think, no, I really, really do. I’m sure you’ve felt the same way in your life, too.
So let’s get rid of this lie. Let yourself see the love and the light in your life. Because it’s there. And you aren’t alone.
There are so many other lies we can tell ourselves. But perhaps in facing some of these bigger issues ourselves we can be free from the masquerade and live a whole, undivided life.
How about you? Ever felt like you’re lying to yourself? Or someone else is lying to themselves?