I lie all the time.

Yeah, well don’t be so quick to judge me because I know you lie all the time, too.

I’ve never met a woman who didn’t lie – to herself – on a regular basis. And I know men have their lie repertoire as well.

No, we’re not all manipulative, deceptive, back stabbing, con artists bent on fraud and falsehood. We’re simply humans attempting to handle, solve, take care of or do way, way too many things in our busy lives. Our fall back way of accomplishing the impossible is by lying our asses off – to ourselves.

Some of my familiar lies include:
I don’t really need that much sleep.
I’ll get up super early and finish that in the morning.
It will only take a minute.
Yes, sure, I can get the 25+ huge things on my to-do list done well today.
I’ll meditate and exercise tomorrow.
I’ll eat better tomorrow.
Because of course I can eat the same way I did in my 20s, no problem.
We’ll save more next month.
All will be well when that other person changes.
We’ll get the house thoroughly and completely cleaned this weekend.
Everything needs to be perfect with my marketing plan before I can contact prospects.
I’m going to write that book this year for sure. (Ouch! This one really hurts.)

As you can see, I’ve got some big lie themes going on – all around self care and my health, time, money, commitments, creative pursuits, and relationships.

My beautiful, wise, gracious, and smart southern lady Mama taught me that some white lies were not only acceptable but also kind. You can say the offered meal was delicious even if you had to gag it down. That’s just being polite. We’ve all had training in how to lie or fudge the truth, be polite or heroically optimistic, set outrageously high personal goals or be blissful magical thinkers – all for perfectly good reasons.

It is not gracious, not polite, not tactful, not optimistic, not hopeful, not practical, not strategic, certainly not powerful, and not sustainable to lie to ourselves, especially about the most important things in our lives: our health, relationships, creativity, money, time, and spirituality.

These are the lies – to ones to ourselves about the important things – that kill our spirit. Because when we repeatedly lie to ourselves, we play right into the hands of our inner critic who tells us how rotten we are. We doubt ourselves even more. Of course we don’t trust known liars which means we learn we can’t trust ourselves.

One of the first steps back from the edge of overwhelm or burn out or exhaustion – whenever our needs seem to exceed our resources – is to open our eyes and our hearts and our minds to the lies we are telling ourselves. It is vitally important that we do this compassionately, not with judgment or not as one other way to beat ourselves up – but with knowing we have all been doing the best we can and for very good reasons.

When we start really noticing what we’re up to and stop lying to ourselves, then we can begin the process of real solutions, deep and meaningful solutions, sustainable solutions to the very real challenges we all are facing in this time of endlessness (you know what I mean by this – endless opportunities, choices, people, obligations, causes, books, bills, classes, email, internet, 24/7, and the like).

This is probably some of the hardest work we can do – to look at situations with our strong eyes, with our clear eyes, seeing through the illusions and lies we employ as we attempt to get what we want or just get by.

In our Mystery School of Life, learning about this – how not to lie to ourselves – is a requirement we just can’t seem to avoid. In order to live our truth, we have to first tell ourselves the truth. So we have to be compassionate yet firm with ourselves in this process.

What are some of the spirit killing lies you tell yourself?
What are some of the lies you’ve told yourself for so long that you no longer trust yourself?
What might be possible if you could trust yourself and live from your truth?

What am I doing to stop lying to myself? I’m working with my coach and coaching colleagues (talking truth instead of trash to one’s self is part of powerful coaching). I’m embracing failure – the failure to do everything well – and getting better at setting limits and saying no. For my lies about time I’m using several time management tricks like writing down how much time a task will take next to the task itself on my to-do list to ensure I don’t over commit each day. And I’m getting really good at returning to my powerful and practical business plan to keep me focused.

Just noticing how, when, and where I’m lying to myself has made a huge difference. I can now make choices that actually work for me.

For more on breaking out of lying to yourself, check out my day long class on thriving When Needs Exceed Resources. And for more on Getting Past the Inner Critic, Defeating the predator that devours our dreams, check out my tele-class.

 

stone path at Hovenweep

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My husband and I just got back from an equinox trip to the Colorado Plateau. I wanted the red rock canyon deserts to teach me more about how to do hard things. My deep gratitude goes to the wild and sacred places that remind us of our true selves.

 

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