2. You keep justifying other people’s behavior
In order to evade the truth, you find yourself making excuses for other people and their bad behavior. For example, you might tell yourself that your emotionally abusive husband is just “blowing off steam from work” or that your backstabbing friend “just made a stupid mistake.” Justifying other people’s behavior is much easier than facing the truth and making hard decisions.
3. You keep justifying your behavior
“I didn’t hurt him, I just taught him a lesson,” “I don’t hate my career, I’m just feeling a little stressed,” “I can’t move, I have no other option,” “I’m not terrified of moving out of my comfort zone, I’m just busy with commitments.” Self-justification is deceptive: on one hand, it makes us believe that we have a “good reason,” but on the other hand, that reason is blatant bullshit. Unconsciously we know that we’re just making excuses, but consciously we’re oblivious.
4. You have a rigid attitude
You cannot accept blame or responsibility for anything that has happened, instead, other people are always to blame. This tendency to perceive yourself as always being right, and others as always wrong, hides a tremendous amount of fear. Beneath the narrow-mindedness, you’re secretly afraid of answering to the truth, so in an attempt to escape reality, you form rigid mental barriers and point the finger at others.
5. You feel inauthentic
You can’t seem to shake the feeling that you’re a “fake” or “sham.” Inside of you, there is a sense that you’ve lost touch with who you really are. You go places you don’t want to go to. You make friends with people you don’t like. You buy things you can’t afford. You laugh when the joke isn’t funny. You don’t know what makes you happy or who you really want to be in life anymore.
6. You prefer to wear rose-tinted glasses
You prefer to live in a dream world rather than in reality. For example, in your relationships, you project your fantasies onto your partner, believing that everything is fine, even when it isn’t. The idealist in you believes that you can make everything work out, but your idealism is a form of escapism that obscures the truth. In order to buffer yourself against the harsh realities of life, you prefer to see the world in a naive way.
7. You don’t like listening to other’s advice
When a friend, colleague, or family member gives you a fresh perspective on your situation, you immediately close off. Feelings such as anger, sadness, and irritation are triggered within you, often causing you to lash out at the poor soul who dares to help you. Why does this happen? When you are lying to yourself, you will tend to only favor others who reassure you – not challenge you. Anyone who challenges you, even with the best of intentions, poses a risk to exposing your elaborate self-fabricated lie.
8. You carry around deeply-rooted anxiety
No matter what you do, you feel a sense of subtle unease and insecurity following you everywhere. This pervasive sense of unease causes you to constantly second-guess yourself and privately wonder if you really are doing the right thing or making the best decisions. Sometimes this deeply-rooted anxiety may manifest as a sense of guilt that you do not want to face and try to bury.
9. Your heart contradicts your mind
You keep trying to convince yourself that everything is fine and you’re in control when emotionally, you are a wreck. You might find yourself exploding in anger at others or trying to hide your tears, and you might wonder where such emotions came from. If you are extremely disconnected from your heart, you might find your emotions manifesting in your body instead. Your mind might believe that everything is peachy when your body is suffering from tension, high blood pressure, infections, and other afflictions.
How to Stop Lying to Yourself
We all lie to ourselves: no one is excluded. In fact, self-deception is part of being human, and in a sense, is necessary for our inner growth.
If you feel embarrassed and uncomfortable about this topic, you’re not alone. I have caught myself in my own web of self-deception many times, and it isn’t an enjoyable experience.
However, for any true inner work to occur, we must all honestly take a look at ourselves. Lies only serve to alienate ourselves from the truth of who we are.
If you think you might be struggling with self-delusion, here are some useful pieces of advice:
1. Journal and write down your true feelings.
Journaling is a safe space that allows you to let out all of your suppressed thoughts and emotions. Don’t hold back anything: go wild. Sometimes it takes a bit of time to fully “unleash the Kraken,” but with patience, you will find this practice invaluable.