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Five Ways We Lie to Ourselves and Get Ourselves "Stuck."

Jeevan Sivasubramaniam Posted by Jeevan Sivasubramaniam, Managing Director, Editorial, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.



Five Ways We Lie to Ourselves and Get Ourselves "Stuck."

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Terry Hawkins' new book talks about how difficult it is for us to make changes in our life and how we often resolve to remain in a "pit of despair" than make our lives better and climb out of the pit. Sometimes we're not even aware of the lies we tell ourselves so that we can have an excuse to not change. Terry reveals just five of these lies below.

Lie #1: A pre-set and repetitive pattern of supposedly hopeful thinking can inspire or bring about change.

Why it’s a lie: We keep ourselves stuck because we become addicted to telling the "this too shall pass" story - the one that makes us feel sad, frustrated, pitiful but hopes, in vain, for improvement. We do this because it is easier to hope passively than take action, and self-pity is an ugly form of comfort. We keep thinking things must get better but don’t admit that they won’t until we think differently.

Lie #2: When others are always the problem, be vocal and let them know by complaining.

Why it’s a lie: Have you ever noticed that there are some people who continually complain about the same things even with different people and places, always thinking that the problem is not them but everything else. They change their job, their partner, where they live, what they do - but end up complaining about the same things again. We lie and tell ourselves that others are the problem when in fact, we are.

Lie #3: Things that cause shame and guilt are best kept to oneself.

Why it’s a lie: There was a woman who held a secret about her past for almost her entire life because she thought it shameful. This experience happened to her, yet (as many of us do), she blamed herself. When she “came out” about her experiences to those she loved and shared the tragic secrets of her past, she created meaning for her behaviors and attitudes. Everyone understood why she was the way she was. You owe your loved ones the truth because the truth sets everyone free.

Lie #4: Pain should be avoided.

Why it’s a lie: Pain is a necessary part of life. When we try to numb our emotional pain, we don't give ourselves the opportunity to face the core issues at the heart of our pain. Learn to “do pain well" instead of avoiding it because it will not magically disappear. Know that you have all the resources you need to walk through your pain to come out the other side. We like to numb our pain through blame, accusation, medication, anger, pity, or drama - all forms of lying to ourselves. Pain is one of our greatest guides - pay attention to the wisdom that it offers along with the discomfort.

Lie #5: Don’t compare situations and emotions.

Why it's a lie: The only reason we know what feels right is because we know what doesn’t: someone who has never felt happy wouldn’t know what unhappiness feels like. Life would not be what it is without the opportunity for comparisons, and it is these comparisons that give us the spirit and urge for a new vantage point. It is not the total absence of pain that brings a joyous life, but the knowledge to know pain and so appreciate its dissipation from life. Comparison is a necessary gauge or measure of where we are going and how we are doing.