You might think you're being honest with yourself, but it's common to fall into the trap of some serious denial (especially when you're in the wrong). Unfortunately, there are many things people lie to themselves about, and they're also not super obvious, so it's possible to get stuck in a bad habit that's tough to break out of. It's better to be real with yourself, though, so you can always keep improving in areas that might need some work.
As a certified health coach, I work with clients on staying true to themselves and really owning their authentic power. Sometimes certain relationships or situations might make you feel less like yourself (or that you won't be accepted if you lay all the cards out); yet, it's better to realize that surrounding yourself with those who like you for all your traits and really understand who you are will benefit you and your own idea of self-worth in the long run. Plus, it's never good to be dishonest with yourself, as if you can't be true, it'll be hard to come off as a genuine person to others (no one should know you better than you know yourself, right?). So, here are 11 common lies you might tell yourself and how to quit the nasty habit.
1. That Narcissism Will Change
According to Dr. Ramani Durvasula, a therapist and professor, over email with Bustle, if you think you're not narcissistic, or that your partner isn't, but all signs point towards yes, it's better to get out, as the trait likely won't change. "If s/he is entitled, grandiose, superficial, arrogant, and lacks empathy - s/he won't change. And your love won't change them. This is an important insight before you waste months, years or decades trying to change them," Durvasula says. It sounds extreme, but it's pretty real, and it can be tough to deal with.
2. That Exercise Alone Will Make You Healthy
Of course, exercising regularly is great for your health and wellbeing, and it does aid in weight management and better heart health. Yet, it's not an excuse to eat all the cookies you want (well you could, but you might increase risk for disease). Instead, "focus on healthy nutritional calories - (no fads), fruits and vegetables, multigrains, lean proteins, healthy hydration - there are no shortcuts - so work on cleaning the cupboards and eating mindfully," suggets Durvasula.
3. That You Can "Fix" People
It's impossible (and not right) to control other people or try and "fix" their qualities that you don't necessarily appreciate, says NYC based therapist, Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW, to Bustle. "People also lie to themselves about being able to fix people. We think we can change a selfish friend or make a boyfriend stop drinking. People only change when they want to change," Hershenson adds.
4. That You Can Control Every Situation
Similar to above but in a greater context, there are some things in life you simply can't control: Being fired, the weather, a work meeting you'd rather not have but know is necessary, and more. Instead, "practice acceptance," says Hershenson. "Make a list of what you can control in the situation and what you can't control. Focus on what you can control to make change and accept what you cannot control," Hershenson recommends.
5. That You Don't Have Enough Time
Please. There's always enough time for things that matter. Quit this excuse, advises Tara Bradford, a growth strategist and career coach, over email with Bustle. Instead, "reassess your priorities," says Bradford. "Make time for things that matter and stop making time for things that don't. Once you're clear on what your goals are you will know exactly what you should be saying yes to," Bradford adds.
6. That You Don't Need Sunscreen
According to Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in Beverly Hills and a Clinical Instructor at the University of Southern California, over email with Bustle, it's common to think you're invincible, and a few spare minutes out in the sun won't do damage. Same with tanning beds. But, those minutes sunscreen-free can cause free radical damage and increase risk of skin cancer, Shainhouse warns. Wear daily block to stay safe.
7. That You'll Save When You're Older
"Folks seem to gloss over their personal finances unless there is an emergency," says life coach KJ Landis over email with Bustle. Landis went through a similar process, where she spent many nights in LA heading to lavish dinners and events, and then found financial distress. Instead, start saving young and be honest with what type of lifestyle you can afford.
8. That You're Not [Blank] Enough
"The way to stop lying to yourself about how incredibly enough you are, is to start taking stock of all of the qualities and attributes that make you the awesome person you are," says Shirani M. Pathak, LCSW from the Relationship Center of Silicon Valley to Bustle. "Everyday, keep a list of at least 3 things you like about yourself, or things other people have said they like about you. You can repeat things to start and it might feel really awkward in the beginning. Don't worry, as with anything, this will get easier and more comfortable with time," Pathak recommends.
9. That Your "Intuition" Isn't Real
Here's a hint: Trust your gut. "People often lie to themselves about their intuition or what their 'gut feelings' are telling them," says Pathak. "For example, when you get that feeling your partner is cheating on you and you lie to yourself and tell yourself it's not true. Then, when you actually find out the truth about being cheated on, you get that 'If only I had listened to myself' thought," Pathak uses as an example. "The best way to work on trusting your intuition is to simply allow yourself to feel it," Pathak suggests.
10. That You're Not Addicted To Something
Be it drugs, sex, or even sugar, denying an addiction for too long can be life threatening. "We lie to ourselves when there is something we don’t want to take a look at, because we believe it will be too painful to confront. This often shows up in cases of addiction," says Tiffany Louise, LCSW, Therapist & Life Coach to Bustle. "People who struggle with alcohol and drug abuse will often make excuses for their consumption, hide it, or create stories that justify it. The addicted brain is set up for denial of the problem, because it becomes wired to prioritize the chemical above all else," Louise explains. Instead, it's better to be brave and seek help early on.
11. That You're Out Of Options
Often, you might think you're out of options (for the future) and so you cling to the past (even when it's toxic). Instead, try and seek hope that you can have a fresh start with a prominent change. "This starts with having compassion for lying to yourself in the first place. We can do this by telling ourselves we were doing the best we could with what we had at the time, and we were only trying to avoid more pain. Then we can take an inventory of the honest facts. We can ask ourselves what the cost of continuing to avoid addressing the issue is, and we can use this information to leverage ourselves into making a change," recommends Louise.
If you see any of these lies popping up in your life, it's best to address them head on and come to terms with the truth, moving forward.