It’s amazing how often our minds lie to us.
We’ll think of excuses to not do something instead of admitting it’s procrastination.
We’ll try to justify bad choices rather than call them mistakes.
Then there are negative thoughts and beliefs telling us what we can’t do.
Why do we let this happen?
Lies are usually told to avoid trouble or as a way to get something from another person. There’s really no reason to lie to ourselves. You’d think that we’d always want to tell ourselves the truth.
And there’s a big problem when it comes to lying to ourselves: it can hinder our growth and ability to improve our lives.
For example, when I graduated from college, I got a job in a big corporate office. After a few months of working, I realized I didn’t enjoy it as much as I expected.
But I kept telling myself that I would eventually get used to it. In my mind, the job was a good fit and I just needed to give it more time. If something was wrong, it was my attitude, not the job itself.
Unfortunately, I was just deceiving myself. One day I faced the truth that I hated working in the corporate world and had to find another line of work.
This repeated lie hindered my progress. It was the only thing keeping me in a job I hated. If I had just accepted the truth earlier, I could have done something about it sooner.
Truth is the First Step to Positive Change
Lies don’t do us any good. If something isn’t working, we should be honest. When we do something wrong, we should own the mistake.
It reminds me of a time when I was in middle school. Sitting next to a friend at lunch, he told me that when I get nervous or anxious, I bite my nails – something I didn’t even realize I was doing. Apparently the habit was getting out of control.
I was naturally embarrassed and didn’t want to hear it, but then he made a really great point:
He said it’s way better to hear the horrible truth from a friend rather than be unaware of a problem that needs to be corrected.
He was right. It was better to hear the embarrassing truth rather than have the problem continue.
Because he was willing to tell me the truth, I could do something about it; his honesty improved my life.
We all need to be our own best friend. We all need to be someone who is willing to tell the truth to ourselves even if it’s unpleasant or embarrassing.
Otherwise you may hinder personal growth and leave big problems unchecked.
Let’s say you’re making excuses to not do something. Instead of being honest that you’re procrastinating, you’ll say you’re too tired or that the timing isn’t right.
Those excuses are lies masking the real problem: procrastination. They make a real problem more likely to continue.
Mentally you’re justifying your bad behavior which makes you more likely to do it in the future. After all, you don’t feel so bad about procrastinating when you have a reason to do it.
It’s easier to tell yourself that you like a job or relationship you hate rather than admit you don’t. That means facing an uncomfortable truth you’d rather not deal with.
But you have to deal with these things if you want your life to improve.
Lately I’ve started to watch my thoughts to see when I’m being honest with myself and when I’m not. My goal is complete self-honesty.
I won’t tell myself excuses or justify misbehavior. If I’m procrastinating, I will be honest about it. If I make a big mistake, I won’t try to cover it up. I’ll get rid of any self-limiting thoughts.
The goal is to be my own best friend who is willing to say things I might not want to hear. This will help me uncover problems so I can make improvements.
Be Your Own Best Friend
You need to take control over your thoughts and be honest. If you don’t, you’ll ensure that whatever you’re covering up continues to make your life a lot less satisfying.
After all, if no one comes around to tell you about a bad habit – whether it’s biting your nails or procrastinating – you may never know it’s there.
photo credit: gato-gato-gato