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Please (Whatever You Do) Never Tell The Following 6 Lies To Yourself
Love & Relationships

Please (Whatever You Do) Never Tell The Following 6 Lies To Yourself

I grew up in a household that was filled with all kinds of music, across all genres; it was actually one of the best things about it. So, whenever I see a music trivia question that goes along the lines of “What’s a song that has [this word] in the title?”, I always wish that there was money on the table…because, 8.5 times outta 10, I’m gonna know it.


Take the word “lie” for example. That’s the trivia question that literally came up recently, and three songs immediately came to mind: Jonathan Butler’s (the real ones know) song “Lies.” En Vogue’s song “Lies.” Ne-Yo’s “Lie to Me.” And can there be anything worse than someone who we trust lying to us? Can there be anything more disrespectful or betraying? Actually…there is. It’s when we find some sort of way to justify why it’s okay to lie to who we should love and want to protect the most — ourselves.

A Russian novelist by the name of Fyodor Dostoevsky once said, “Above all, do not lie to yourself. A man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point where he does not discern any truth either in himself or anywhere around him, and thus falls into disrespect towards himself and others. Not respecting anyone, he ceases to love, and having no love, he gives himself up to passions and coarse pleasures in order to occupy and amuse himself…” That is certainly a mouthful and also a great way to intro today’s message. Because if lying to yourself is delusional and disrespectful and a love hindrance, and something that will cause you to distract yourself with pointless and possibly destructive activities, shouldn’t it be one of the last things that any of us should ever want to do?

So why do so many people do it anyway? Good. Freakin’. Question.

Perhaps exploring six very popular “self-lies” will bring forth a bit of revelation.

1."What I See Isn’t Actually What’s Happening."

I can’t stand gaslighting. I really can’t. I grew up around gaslighters. The religion that I was brought up in is filled with gaslighting. I’ve been in relationships (friendships included) with more than a few gaslighters (probably due to the impact of my first two points). I’ve worked with some gaslighters. It’s all triggering AF. Anyway, since it is such a buzzword these days, just to make sure that we’re all on the same page before I proceed, I want to share an actual definition of what it is to gaslight someone.

Gaslight: manipulate (someone) using psychological methods into questioning their own sanity or powers of reasoning

That’s a very basic dictionary definition. Some signs of gaslighting include:

  • While engaging someone, you start to doubt reality;
  • While engaging someone, they are flippant or dismissive of your feelings;
  • While engaging someone, they try to make you feel bad about what they did wrong;
  • While engaging someone, they try to make you feel like you are doing to them what they are actually doing to you;
  • While engaging someone, they try and get you to think that you are lying to deflect from what you know to be true.

Yeah, if anyone is a manipulator on an Olympic level, it’s a gaslighter. They are also masterful at lying as well. And you know what? While you can probably think of at least five people, easily, who gaslight — have you ever considered that you should add yourself to the list? Because if there’s one thing that a gaslighter is sho ‘nuf gonna do, it’s to try and tell you that what you know is happening…isn’t really the case. Yeah, bookmark that.

You see, a principle (that I pretty much made up) that I live by is if my “human trinity” (my mind, body, and spirit) aren’t all in agreement with something, that is a sign that I need to take some steps back and do some serious reflecting — oftentimes self-reflecting. Keeping that “rule” in mind, is there something going on, right now where, you see the facts and/or know the truth about it, and yet — you’re trying to tell yourself that you don’t?

Maybe it’s because you’re scared to face reality. Maybe because accepting it would require you to make some pretty hard decisions. Maybe it’s because you have a pattern of choosing comfort over progress. Whatever the case may be, a lot of people gaslight themselves. I used to do it in relationships — romantic, familial, and platonic — quite often. And yes, without question, it’s a form of lying to oneself. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

2."Nothing Is Actually a Waste of Time."

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I remember when I first told my mother that “This too shall pass” wasn’t in the Bible. She was in such a state of disbelief that she totally dismissed my explanation of how I came to the conclusion and sought her husband for verification. He didn’t know, so he looked it up — and yes, just like I said…it’s not there. Where am I going with this? There are so many things that we say that we literally take as the gospel truth that pretty much came out of a worldwide game of “telephone” more than anything else.

Take “nothing is a waste of time.” Boy, if there is a saying that will get me to use the dirtiest cuss words, it’s that. Are y’all kidding me? All kinds of stuff are a waste of time. In fact, I’m so passionate about the topic that I’ve written articles like “Love Is Patient. But Is Your Relationship Just Wasting Your Time?,” “These Bad Habits Are Totally Wasting Your Time,” and “Are You Wasting Your Time With ‘Expiration Dating’?” for the platform, just to illustrate the point. And here’s why wasting time is indeed a thing: waste means “to consume, spend, or employ uselessly or without adequate return; use to no avail or profit; squander.”

Something that gets me every time I revisit that definition is that if you’re not getting an adequate return on something that you’re giving your time, effort, energy, heart, and/or resources to, again, by definition, IT IS A WASTE. And the reason why it’s important to really get that is romanticizing something by saying, “I mean, it was a stupid decision, but ultimately nothing is a waste of time,” is what will have you out here wasting even more time…and time is something that you can never get back. Indeed, if there is ANYTHING that you shouldn’t want to squander, it’s the precious hourglass that is your life.

That said, most of us are familiar with the quote by M. Scott Peck (even if you didn’t know he was the source) that says, “Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you won’t do anything with it.” Another quote about time (not sure who originated it) that I really like is, “Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time.” Keeping both of these quotes in mind, no matter what your thoughts are on the afterlife, all of them are rooted in faith. What I mean by that is, what we know for sure is what we have right now — and when I tell you that whenever people say, “What? You’re going on 50?! You don’t look it,” my response is, “What trips me out is not my age now…it’s the fact that in 20 years, I’ll be going on 70.” Time flies. LITERALLY.

So yeah, if you’re out here participating in certain things with people, places, things, and ideas that aren’t giving you an adequate return, and you’re all the while telling yourself that it doesn’t really matter because nothing in life is ultimately a waste of your time, you are lying to yourself. BIG TIME. And — pardon the pun — it’s time to stop.

3."I Would If I Actually Had the Time." (Sometimes Phrased As “I’m Too Busy.”)

For at least a decade at this point, something that I’ve been intentional about breaking the habit of is saying that I can’t do something because “I’m too busy.” It was ingrained in my mind for so many years that I miss the mark of not saying it more than I would like; however, use that sentence considerably less. Why? Because, while this is certainly a “to each their own” kind of resolve, to me, saying that I’m busy sounds kinda-sorta arrogant and flippant, especially when I use it while talking to someone I care about. Why? Because what that resolve boils down to is they weren’t a priority — and oftentimes, that’s not what I’m trying to convey to them at all.

Where do I even get all of this from? A quote by Henry David Thoreau plays a part. He once said, “It’s not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is, ‘What are we busy about?’” Exactly. It’s like an Instagram post I recently saw where the husband was on one side of the bed wishing that his wife would initiate sex (men initiate 60 percent of the time, so his point is valid) while his wife had her back to him, scrolling through TikToks and laughing her head off. Sure, she was busy but too busy for her husband? Especially to watch posts that will be there the next day? Nah.

Yeah, oftentimes, “I’m too busy” is something that we use as a deflection from the real truth: I don’t manage my time well. I don’t prioritize things like I should. I let my emotions decide what I should be doing instead of logic and reason. And because we keep telling ourselves this lie, we oftentimes don’t achieve the kind of “full life results” that we ultimately want.

You know, in a culture that is super consumed with all things the Knowles/Carter family, I’m sure at some point, you’ve seen or heard the saying, “You have the same amount of hours in the day as Beyoncé.” And while that declaration is a bit misleading (because she has billions of dollars along with a team who helps her out), the takeaway is everyone gets 24 hours. And in that period of time, daily, for the most part, you get to choose what you want to do with it. So, it’s not really that you’re “too busy” for something or someone; it’s that you don’t make the time to prioritize it or them. And until you truly accept that, and then make your decisions according to that, you are lying when you say that things can’t happen because you’re too busy for them to. Push back if you wanna, it’s the free-setting truth.

4."Cyclic Things That Happen to Me Have Nothing to Do with Me."

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I recently watched an Instagram post that was so ridiculous that I’m not even gonna put the sistah on blast by linking it here. Basically, for about 45 seconds, she ranted about how, since our hormones as women shift so much throughout the month, we shouldn’t be held accountable for having erratic moods or not making unwise decisions (eye roll).

Listen, if you happen to be a parent reading this, please make sure that you raise your children to be emotionally intelligentand to hold themselves accountable for their actions — and the best way to do that is to make sure that you acknowledge to them when you are wrong and that you apologize to them when it’s necessary (and since you’re not perfect, it’s gonna be needed more than once in a blue moon). Indeed, a lot of grown folks suck at saying “I’m sorry” because their parents sucked at modeling it (amen?).

And when you’re not good at accountability, you’ll find yourself out here acting like life just happens to you; that you don’t play a role in what is transpiring — and that couldn’t be further from the truth.

If there is one saying that really rings true when it comes to this particular point, it’s “Everywhere you go, there you are.” What this basically means is, that if you find yourself in patterns, the common denominator in all of that is yourself. So, if you keep dating the same kind of guy and all of the relationships end up, pretty much the same way — no, that’s not a random coincidence. There are choices that you are making that are creating the same scenarios that you are in. And if you refuse to see and accept that for what it is, nothing is going to change. You will stay on the hamster wheel…using up all of your energy and getting absolutely nowhere at the end of the day.

Why? Because you would rather think that things are happening to you instead of accepting that you are doing the same kind of things that are causing you to choose the same outcome. Hell, I’d probably lose, easily, 40 percent of my clients, if they stopped lying to themselves as it relates to this particular lie alone. NO. LIE.

5."This Is Just the Way That I Am."

For the most part, in my sessions, I’m pretty calm. Oh, but if you wanna see me go next level on some restraint, have me call a client out on a toxic habit and they come back with some, “That’s just the way I am.” What in the entire hell are you talking about? Do you mean that’s how you choose to be? Because, in the wise words of author John C. Maxwell, “Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” And, if you’re out here doing things that are either hurtful to others or counterproductive for yourself (or both) and you think you can’t reroute because you were simply born that way or “that’s just the way it is”…LIES, LIES, LIES.

I won’t lie to you — learning how to grow up can be hard. It requires a lot of self-work. It requires being able to face some really difficult truths about yourself. It requires releasing certain things and people and embracing some habits and requirements that are new and sometimes even a bit scary. Yet no one is out here being…whatever they are being “just because.”

Something that I like is random information (my daddy’s DNA). And so, something that I know is that we make somewhere around a whopping 35,000 different decisions on a daily basis — and a lot of them consist of how we choose to be as a person. And so, even though things like our personality, our belief system, and even our bloodline all play a vital role in our core because we have the ability to change our minds, that means that we can change ourselves…and that means that if there’s something about us that needs to shift, we can make that happen.

So no — no one is out here doing stuff that they can’t alter. They are doing it, ultimately, because they want to…and if they wanted to do something else, they could do that too. “Just the way that I am” is some nonsense. “Just the way you choose to be” is the truth.

6."If I Believe It Will Happen, It Will."

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Cherry-picking the Bible. If there’s one thing that I think that at least 80 percent (and that’s probably on the low end) of Christians do, it’s that. Take the topic of divorce. On one hand, they’ll say that they can do it due to adultery (adultery as actual remarriage, not infidelity — see Matthew 19). Yet when it comes to I Corinthians 7:10-11 saying that divorced people should either remain unmarried until their former spouse dies or be reconciled to them, suddenly, “thank God for grace” (which what they really mean is mercy for ignoring what that says). Chile.

Another example? Believing that you can have whatever you want because God said that you can have the desires of your heart when, actually, that is a really convenient edit. Psalm 37:4, in its entirety, states, “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Translation: do what pleases God, and that will cause your will to line up with His so that what he wants for you is what you will want for yourself — and that could be something that’s totally different than what you want without his influence being put into the mix.

And that point goes really well with the biblical definition of faith: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 — NKJV) You know, just because you believe that something is going to happen, that doesn’t mean that it will. Oh, but you have faith? I hear you, yet do you see how faith has hope attached to it? Guess what hope is. By definition, it’s “the feeling that what is wanted can be had OR that events will turn out for the best.”

In other words, having faith in something isn’t about thinking that everything on your wish list is going to come true. Yes, it’s okay to want what you want (if it’s beneficial…another message for another time); however, TRUE faith is understanding that if you don’t get what you are believing for, things will turn out for the best regardless. Faith doesn’t submit to your desires. Faith helps you to remain optimistic that all of the dots will ultimately connect for your good.

Telling yourself the truth about things like faith and belief is what will keep you from going to the other extreme and believing another lie: don’t expect anything. Faith needs expectation in order to be activated. Being realistic about your expectations is what’s key.

_____

Since my last point was filled with Scripture, I’ll wrap all of this up with another one: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32 — NKJV) Adding to that, an author by the name of Bangambiki Habyariman once said, “It’s the duty of every man to free himself.” Freedom is about liberation. Freedom is about removing restraints. Freedom is about power, ability, opportunity, and flexibility.

Truth, NOT LIES, gives you access to these things, so please don’t lie to yourself and believe otherwise. Life isn’t just too short, it has too much in store for you to (further) betray yourself in that way.

All you’ve gotta do is just commit, every single day of your life, to tell yourself ALL of the truth.

No lie.

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Featured image by Charday Penn/Getty Images

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