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Quit Lying to Yourself

No one wants to be seen as a liar. Liars are considered untrustworthy. And yet, we are perfectly content to lie to ourselves all the time. “I’ll enjoy this sleeve of Oreos today because my diet starts tomorrow,” I might tell myself. Or, “I love my job; who cares that I complain about it constantly?” Or even—ironically— “I am always honest with myself.”

Deceiving yourself doesn’t make logical sense. After all, lying involves telling someone something you know to be untrue. When you are both the liar and one lied to, this means you have to both know the truth and not know the truth. To be really happy, we must learn to be completely honest with ourselves.

Relatively few people are completely honest with others. In one study, researchers found that 60 percent of people lied at least once during a 10-minute conversation, and many lied multiple times. Distorting reality inside your own head might be even more common. No one is completely honest with themselves, because the truth hurts. Life is simply full of harsh realities.

All that self-deception takes a lot of work to maintain. Consider procrastination, a form of self-deception that can be trivial (“I’ll unload the dishwasher later”) or catastrophic (“I’ll call the doctor next week about that chest pain”). This form of self-deception is costly not only because avoiding problems can make them worse but also because the procrastinator must do the mental work of a task over and over, without reaping the rewards of actually getting it done.

If you are willfully oblivious to your flaws, you can’t correct them. In the end, each of us has to decide: Do I want the full truth, no matter where it leads? The honest path isn’t easy, but you can be sure that day by day, you will be proud to say that the person in the mirror is not a liar. And that will be the truth.

Possible Preaching Angle:

Real happiness starts with telling yourself the truth, even when it hurts. Real healing begins when we stop making excuses for our sins, telling God the truth in confession, and receiving his forgiveness.

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