5 Things We Lie to Ourselves About

~Part 5 in the Self-Deception Series~

holding it in by devinography

According to Cortney Warren, we humans are masters of self-deception. We fool ourselves into believing things that are false and we refuse to believe things that are true.

The 5 Things We Lie About the Most

1. The smallest details.

How many times have you said you were doing fine, when you really felt like crap?  Most of us do this. These series of small lies affect you.  Eventually, you begin to intentionally deny how you really feel.

self-harm by devinography

2. We lie to reflect our aspirational goals.

We often feel pressured to say what we think are expected and acceptable goals. No one wants to be ridiculed. So, we play along and lie to others. At some point, it becomes difficult to seperate the external from the self-deception.

For example, in the corporate environment, how many people feel comfortable saying that they would prefer to stay at the Manager level than make the necessary sacrifices to ascend to Senior Executive?  Not many.
After decades of losing talented employees to this conflict, many consulting firms have learned to listen to their talent and have adjusted their career model to include management landing points.

Chris shiraldi by devinography

3. We lie to uphold social ideals.

There are several areas in our lives where we feel pressured to live up to social ideals:  education, careers, family, marriage, friends.

Several years ago, I was completing my final chemotherapy treatment and told my physician that I no longer wanted to be a consultant. I was tired of flying every week; living out of hotels and only seeing my husband on the weekends.  She was so surprised that she gasped then asked, “But what will you be if you’re not a consultant?”

This type of response (in this instance job snobbery) can push people to make key life choices in order to conform to social ideals.

accepting identities by devinography

4. We lie about our most important life choices.

Imagine how much better life would be if more people admitted that they did not want to have children. Now, I’m talking about family planning. About making the conscious choice to not have children for a variety of reasons. It’s shocking how comfortable relative strangers feel asking if you have children, why not, how old are you and when do you plan to start.  This pressure, especially if from family members, convinces many people to have children when they really aren’t cut out to be parents.  That’s really a shame.

accepting identities 2 by devinography

5. We deceive ourselves by believing what we were culturally conditioned to believe is true, instead of deciding what we actually believe is true. We compromise ourselves to meet cultural norms. 

At the core, we lie to ourselves because we don’t have enough psychological strength to admit the truth and deal with the consequences that will follow. That said, understanding our self-deception is the most effective way to live a fulfilling life. For when we admit who we really are, we have the opportunity to change.


Photo Credit:  The incredibly talented Devin Mitchell of Devinography (also on instagram)

Enjoy the video and other resources below.

Self-Deception Series:

TED Video:


Categories: Self-Awareness, Social

Tags: , , , , , ,

3 replies


  1. Psychotherapy and Self-Deception – Nowhere to Hide | Sherry Clayton Works
  2. The Power of Self Talk | Sherry Clayton Works
  3. Self-Love: We All End Up in the Same Place | Sherry Clayton Works

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