How to Know if You’re Lying to Yourself

Part 1

Lola Medicine Keeper, Parser of Truths

Lately, conversations with friends and clients have swirled around the idea of lying to ourselves.

How do you even know it’s happening? It’s incredibly difficult to know because our mind generates lies to obscure truths we can’t yet identify.

How can you “live your truth” if you don’t even know what your truth is?

You can’t live authentically until you understand how it feels when you’re lying to yourself.

To our egos, the truth is an elusive and tantalizing object of prey. Our minds hunt for the truth like a bargain shopper, and when any inkling of it emerges (especially if it’s counter to the fear factory), it’s systematically eradicated – often well before we are aware it ever tried to surface.

Our truth silently suffocates under a white blanket of lies.

So, how do you identify fiction and unveil authenticity?

Ask yourself the following questions…

Are you procrastinating on anything?

Procrastination is often an indication of an agreement made out of alignment. An agreement made out of fear (of scarcity, rejection, displeasing someone, etc.) is not one that the REAL you wants to keep; it’s counter-productive to your soul purpose. YOU know that, but your fear-based ego has infinite believable justifications to go a different direction. When you are scared to do the right thing, there are a million excuses not to do it. Your ego makes sure of that; steering you to instead make regrettable or less-than-enjoyable decisions. This keeps you in a cycle of learning from what you don’t want, instead of from validation of your true desires.

Procrastination can also be an indication that a deeper truth is ready to emerge and your ego is fighting mightily to suppress it. When you get ready to do the right thing (for you) – to take action on that dream or yours, to leave your husband, to ditch college, to ask him out – dragging your feet will start to look reallllllly good. All of a sudden, your office is screaming to be organized, it’s time to redo your website, it’s time to get really busy…

Whenever you find yourself procrastinating, dig into the reason(s) why and you’ll likely discover a lie you told yourself.

Try this story on for size: Pretend you are a writer with something in the works to sell (a program, a book, etc). You have been procrastinating writing guest content for other websites… It’s something you’ve been wanting to do for a long time because you have a LOT to say and you just know that there are people out there who would slurp up your words, if only they knew about you. But, you’ve been “too busy” to write anything outside of your own blog posts. (THIS IS LIE #1).

“Too busy” probably has a steady undertone in your head that sounds this: Your website/program/workshop/ebook aren’t ready (or perfect) yet. You should wait until you launch something/achieve perfection and THEN start writing those articles. God forbid anyone come to your site NOW (shudder).

(THESE ARE MORE LIES.)

And then, the under-undertone-biggest-lie-of-all: You alone are not a worthy enough offering to the world.

(WHOA.)

There you have it. The deeper truth that your ego would prefer remain wrapped?

You are always worthy, you are always enough, and the time is NOW to show up for yourself.

The ego does a VERY good job veiling that truth because once you realize it, your life necessarily changes. YOU become the captain of yourself, you start taking action, and your ego gets relegated back to the tail-area service crew… a crucial part of the team, but not someone who should fly the plane.

This scenario illuminates how procrastination indicates taking off-purpose action (i.e. action that leads you away from your truth) or imminent emergence of authenticity (i.e. you’re about to figure some shit out).

You might not even realize you’re procrastinating when you:

  • Say no to date requests because you don’t feel a connection (you might be assuming they won’t get you, which lets you off the hook for being vulnerable & available)
  • Avoid networking events (you’ll connect with people later, when you’re already successful)
  • Obsess over polishing projects that are ready for closure (i.e. ready to be finished and launched)
  • Decline to get together with friends (you don’t want to admit you’re lonely and life isn’t perfect)

These are just examples and possible reasons for your procrastination; the list is varied and endless.

So, where are you procrastinating?

What justifications do you come up with for it? What do those justifications tell you about your underlying truth? I have found myself guilty of procrastinating more times than I can count; so you’re definitely not alone in the habit.

When you find yourself procrastinating (or over-justifying yourself), here’s what you can do to shift into action:

  1. Run through the analysis above and work to discover what truth is begging for acknowledgement.
  2. Once the truth is revealed, assess whether you need to finish what you started or lovingly walk away.
  3. Communicate clearly to all parties involved what you’ll be doing next (finishing your project or gently saying no to anything further).
  4. Stand by your decision.

Be prepared for the ego to run you through a guilt trip, through fears of lack, through uncertainty and remorse.

Those feelings are normal (initial) reactions to standing up for yourself.

If you commit to seeing the project through, finish it as quickly and thoroughly as possible and then wash your hands of it (or anything similar in the future). If you walk away, remember that you don’t need to justify yourself. Be kind, be honest, and move on.

Once you’ve made a decision and taken action to see it through, you’ll feel calmly invigorated, focused, and powerful.

It’s always worth it to uncover your lies.

It’s also usually scary. That’s okay. Your truth is worth facing a little fear for.

Please, continue this journey in the next article of this series: How your body knows you’re lying before you do…

photo credit: Katie Tegtmeyer via photopin cc

7 Comments

  1. Here’s my confession: This is exactly the place I’ve been in for the last two years. Probably much longer than that. I have moments of lucidity, of knowing the truth… only to see it disappear around the next corner. Guilt, fear, scarcity mentality kicks in. I allow myself to be misled. I listen to others about what I should do. And sometimes I’m grateful to be told because I’m too confused to know what I truly want. It is a miserable place to be in and I’m so ready to break out of this cycle. I want nothing more than to live authentically and with joy, owning my power and do amazing work. Thank you so much for addressing this issue so eloquently and I’m looking forward to the next post.

    • I love you for your your bravery in this confession, Kat. It’s true- we get these ephemeral moments of clarity and then they disappear almost as suddenly as they came. The first step of escaping this cycle is to identify the lies – so after this series you’ll be armed with tools to help change your momentum!! Sending so much love. Be kind to yourself – emergence is uncomfortable and frightening… of course we will backtrack during the process, it’s only natural to retreat when we’re scared. They don’t call it courage because it’s easy.

      • Thank you, Lola! I love you for all that you do. It’s such comfort to know that I can come back to your blog and dive in. This alone lifts the veil a little more and I catch glimpses of my inner truth. Your writing truly touches my soul.

        Yes, the lies. You know, I realize that one big lie I keep telling myself is that I can’t keep re-inventing myself, that I can’t keep confusing others about what it is that I offer. I’m convinced that if I change things one more time people will think I’m a flake and trust me anymore. So I stop and stick with the latest creation, even though it doesn’t feel quite right still. But I guess the point is to first truly and 100% trust yourself before you can expect others to trust you. I’ll keep exploring and I can see now how much power there is in knowing that what I’m telling myself is the lie that holds me back from what I truly want. XO

        • You need to establish a philosophical foundation of beliefs before you can really let loose and live your life to it’s fullest. It can, and should be an evolving entity to some extent. Some lucky people stumble into nirvana at an early age, and more power to them with envy for sure!!!
          Everything is what is by the ACTION that it does, NOT by the words it projects. BY THE ACTIONS IT DOES !!!!!!
          You are what you “DO” and not what you “SAY”.
          If you are truly seeking direction, it Can be found through knowledge, which leads to the elusive WISDOM stage. Seek out intelligent old people who still have an open mind and are still learning. At 60, 70 and older age. Old is not enough, they have to show intelligence and still have an open mind to learn more. You can tell by how they want to “listen” to your answers to their questions.
          I am 62 years old. I was raised in the booming golden time of this Country. After the war. I know what it was like for a Father, who worked in a factory, to raise 4 kids with the woman at home raising the kids. Never wanting for anything. An actual glorious time when compared to todays society.
          For you to question your place, or your direction, or your understanding of what the Fuck is going on is actually a great sign. It shows your “gut” is telling you there is something wrong. And there are massive things going wrong that need to be addressed by the so called adults in charge. And soon.!!
          So your instincts are correct.

          1) Do you believe in a Higher Power?
          2) How important is being Honest “always” to you?
          3) Will you forgive and associate with someone who has lied to you about an important subject?
          4) Do you believe most people are “good”, or only when convenient?
          5) Do you believe in a Higher Power?
          6) Do you believe the “Government” has your best interests in their actions
          7) Do you think that the Police really care about your safety?
          8) Do you understand the total Hypocrisy of “Thank you for Your Service”?
          9) Do think you are brainwashed or manipulated by the MEDIA, GOVERNMENT,ETC..
          10) Do you believe there are truly Evil people, and many of them amongst us?
          11) Do you have the inner COURAGE to stand against the so called Majority when the FACTS show they are wrong?
          12) Do you have the courage to challenge a stated “opinion” that you know is Factually wrong. In the moment?
          13) What do you REALLY need to feel fulfilled most days????????????????????
          14) What is Happiness? Is it in the moment? Or should it be a daily “feeling” ?

          Truly deep, and mostly depressing subjects, but if your goal is to live in a true and natural way then these topics must be addressed head on and DECIDED. For if you choose to compete in the current jungle, you WILL become an animal.

          Really got carried away with my initial intended comments, but they are so on the money that here they are. With only Good Intentions.

          • You are so right that ACTIONS speak louder than WORDS. However, words are quite impactful and carry a density and consequence of their own. But, like you beautifully share, it’s how you follow through with action that actually contributes the biggest difference in the world.

            And connecting to elders is SO essential. As a species built on spoken word and shared experience (usually around meals and fire, accompanied by song and dance) we are on the verge of a hard restart if we can’t connect to the deeper lineage and instead sell ourselves out to the highest, greediest bidder. US Congress is already way beyond that stage, and the more people numb and sedate through candy-coated reality, the faster that decline will happen.

            It’s our hope that with the limited time left for people to connect and establish right relationship with themselves, their community and the greater world (our home), that meaningful and regenerative life may continue to thrive. We have an interesting few decades on the horizon. May this thrashing beast of our shadow find calm and peace to allow our world, and all it’s beautiful animals and objects and spirits to live without undue suffering and distress. Thanks for sharing!

  2. okay so my boyfriend and i have been dating for over a year and he’s amazing. i honestly think he’s a great guy and he’s so wonderful. but we don’t really see eachother a lot and i don’t know if i love him. every time i think about it it hurts me and i want to love him i really do but i can’t help but cry when i think of leaving him for the reason of me not being sure of my feelings. he means a lot to me and i don’t want to loose him but when i look at myself in the mirror and i say i love him i cry. because i feel like i don’t. and it hurts. any advice?

    • thanks for sharing and asking for perspective. you see him as being a great guy and that is wonderful, but it’s understandable that it makes you feel clouded with confusion and pain. it’s usually easier to leave/dislike/abandon something that hurts or undeniably repels you. it’s much harder when you see the human in the person you were once attracted to and intimate with.

      distance is a tricky variable in any relationship. how are you two connecting now? facetime? snapchats? phone calls? distance can make the heart grow fonder, but it can also do the reverse. do you have any upcoming travel visits? he to you, vice versa? if you are truly feeling confused/unsure about if he truly captures your heart, imagination, and soul, but don’t know if it’s just distance that’s hurting you, then increase your contact.

      lola and i were apart for 8 months after our five week love fest. we used a private tumblr blog to write love poems to one another, we created an exquisite corpse short story, and called once a week’ish, with emails sprinkled in. perhaps there is room for more contact, creative exchange that can bind you closer to him, if you feel that he is really your love.

      but, if your looks into the mirror are bringing up tension, tears and uncertainty, don’t silence that voice. give it private air to breathe… the next time you’re in front of a mirror (in an awake/balanced/rested state) look yourself in the eyes and say times, “I love [your partner’s name] like a brother.” pause. feel. what did saying that sentence make your gut, your heart feel? don’t judge it, jump to conclusions, or attach to any thoughts. just register the feeling. now, say, “I love [your partner’s name] like my fellow human.” did that ring any different inside of you? did the first phrase ring more true than the second? again, note, don’t judge, or attach. just be present with the feelings the words make you feel when they are uttered into existence. now, say, “I love [your partner’s name] like a lover.” how does that phrase sit? does it have more punch than the other two? again, don’t attach. now, sit down and free flow journal for 15 minutes starting with the phrase, “The life I envision living includes… “. Don’t filter/judge/or stop. Just flow.

      Now, after those 15 minutes, travel to your a tree that you’ve always been attracted to. Go, sit under it, bring a blanket or pillow to sit on. When you get there. Pour some water near the tree’s roots, if you have any sage/tobacco or other offering, leave it for the tree, and sit. Tap into your heart and place your minds eye at the base of our heart, just like you at the tree, and breathe in and out. Meditate like this, allowing any thoughts to drift by, for a comfortable while. Once you feel comfortable, finish with a hug or bow in gratitude to the tree and sprinkle more water and offering for it.

      This work, coupled with any information you’ve received (overt and subvert) from increasing your contact with your partner, will help you come to a heart centered place where hopefully you’ll better be able to truly feel and honor your truth.

      good luck, approach him with love whatever your final decision. if you want help with sharing your truth in a mutually beneficial way, create a free account here and download Lola’s Wild Conversations: How To Tell The Truth book. also, if you want more of a sounding board, Lola also offers one-on-one sessions.

      good luck and much love in your journey!