Unfortunately, that’s not completely the case .
How Do I Lie to Me, Let Me Count the Ways…
Don’t misunderstand me. I’ve never perjured myself on the witness stand. I’ve never lied to the IRS. I’ve never lied about using performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball.
Yet it seems that most of my lying I do – I do to myself.
For instance, when I’m late to a meeting I’ll ignore my tardiness and tell myself that the other attendees will understand that it’s an issue of prioritization – not necessarily an issue of disrespect.
Or when a maniac driver on the beltway outside of DC cuts me off with no blinker as I’m driving home, I’ll be indignant about the injustice and near miss, but I’ll do the exact same thing thinking that since I don’t normally drive this way it’s okay this one time because I really need to get home (for whatever reason).
Enlist Willing Accomplices
Or I may come up with a random idea for a book, a speech or information product that I’d like to sell in area or field I know nothing about. I tend to pitch those kinds of hair-brain ideas to a few of my friends who won’t shoot the idea down, but will be supportive – even if it’s something wacky like opening a Baskin-Robbins ice cream franchise on the moon’s Sea of Tranquility.
These friends of mine entertain such episodic delusions because they care about me.
However, each of those examples is a form of self deception.
Truth Will Set Me Free
I never gave much thought to this personal practice of self deception until I started reading an insightful (and sobering) book titled I Told Me So: Self Deception and the Christian Life by Gregg Ten Elshof.
While I haven’t finished the book yet I’m more than two-thirds through it, which was enough to prompt this post. In chapter six of the book, Ten Elshof tees up the nearly universal opportunity for self deception within all of us – whether you are or are not a Christian:
“For a variety of reasons, we avoid the use of rational standards in the formation of our beliefs. We manage our attention in order not to see certain things. In our avoidance of the truth, we procrastinate, adjust our sentiments, rationalize, and switch perspectives. And when none of that works, we solicit the help of our fellow self-deceivers.”
Ouch! That hits close to home for me personally. I don’t know about you, but that’s not the kind of person I want to be.
If nothing else this book has at least sensitized me to the various ways I lie to myself, elevating my awareness to the instances and circumstances when I’m most prone to that type of conduct.
Thankfully awareness is the key to change.
Question: Have there been times in your life when you may have lied to yourself or someone close to you has? Be honest!
Photo Credit – Creative Commons: ExpressMonorail