The Power of Telling (Yourself) The Truth

Lying to ourselves is more deeply ingrained than lying to others. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Most people don’t think they lie to themselves. Or, if they acknowledge that they don’t always tell themselves the truth, they certainly don’t call it lying.

Yet, if you don’t keep promises, don’t do what you said you were going to do, if you don’t go for the things you really want and tell yourself (un-true) stories about your life, then you are lying to yourself.

Better to call it what it is than to suffer the dishonesty tax – something that applies internally as much as it does externally.

What is this “dishonesty tax” you ask?

We all understand that when we lie to others and get caught that there are consequences. Even if we don’t necessarily suffer pain or loss when we’re caught lying, there’s a cost.

There’s also a cost to us when we lie and don’t get caught. Either we have to develop the habit of ignoring the lying so we don’t notice it or we feel the dis-ease of being dis-honest – because we know.

The same is true for “internal” dishonesty.

Even if we’re so good at lying to ourselves that we hardly notice it, the cost still remains and must be paid.

Every lie has a consequence.

What’s the solution?

Do we all-of-a-sudden start doing everything we’ve always wanted to do?


Such is impractical.

What do need to do is be clear and honest with ourselves. And gentle and non-judgmental.

The solution is to recognize that we’ve made choices and have commitments. That, because there’s only so many hours in a day, we can only do so much.

But there is much we can do. We can get clear about what we want and what the next-smallest-step is that we can take is. And take that step. And keep repeating that . . . .

What about things we’re already doing, that don’t fit or work anymore?

We can be honest with ourselves in saying, for example, “This is not something I want to do anymore; yes, I have a commitment here, but I am going to negotiate myself out of that commitment, with honor. And, I’ll be more careful about what I say ‘Yes’ to in the future.”

The up-side to all this honesty is that you’ll start to trust yourself more. And when you do that, you’ll think and act bigger about who you are and what you want.

That’s when things get really fun.

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