We can’t know for sure how many times we’re lied to in a day—unless we count the number of times we lie to ourselves. Have you ever stopped and turned your self-talk on its head? Sometimes our state of mind is more confined by self-imposed boundaries than we realize.
Get rid of that clutter. Cut that mental red tape. Stop telling yourself these 9 lies.
1. I have to be perfect.
You’re allowed to make mistakes. Little ones, big ones–even mistakes no one else sees. You’re supposed to make them. You can’t hold yourself to a standard of perfection and also expect to live a life that is free from unnecessary stress. If you’re a perfectionist, start taking down your strict standards bit by bit. Stop cringing at yourself for the way you handled something, and reframe it. Ask yourself, does this have any serious consequences? Odds are that it doesn’t. Let yourself let it go.
2. Taking care of others is more important than taking care of myself.
We all have responsibilities to other people, but taking care of others and neglecting ourselves do not have to be a package deal. I’m not suggesting that you shirk your duties, but instead, take a look at your time. Are there any times that you’re overextending yourself for someone else when you can afford not to? Probably! Some of us are just programmed to care about others more than ourselves, but to use a cliché: you can’t take care of someone else if you’re not in good shape yourself. Whether you’re a mama, a spouse, a friend, or an employee who is working overtime for others, don’t lie and say that you have no time for yourself. Make that time happen whenever you can.
3. I have to be in a state of constant improvement.
Setting self-improvement goals can be great, but it can also be harmful when you don’t give yourself resting time. Do you ever feel guilty for taking time to relax and just be? Stop telling yourself that it’s wrong to stand still. Every piece of matter in this world experiences times of stasis and times of motion. You are not exempt. Sometimes, life is just life, and there is learning and growth to be found in those quiet times too. Don’t miss out on them because you’re busy revving your engine all day every day.
4. No one understands me.
Your loved ones know you better than you think. You may feel that there is another layer of yourself that no one knows, but ask yourself why that is. Are you forthcoming, or do you hide things? Often with this misunderstood feeling comes a tendency to keep the mystery going and shroud some of the more intimate parts of yourself. Is it that no one understands you, or is it that you’re not showing yourself for fear of vulnerability? Some of us feel comfortable and shielded when we withdraw, but we can’t tell ourselves that this challenging feeling is because others don’t understand us.
5. I don’t know what I’m doing.
Don’t question the things that you’ve invested your time in. If you’ve spent the time to hone your craft and have illustrated your ability, don’t let yourself be the only person in your way of sharing it. No matter what level of expertise you have, your knowledge is valuable and respectable. And this applies to life itself as well! You’re living it every day. You’re making it through and every day you have more wisdom. You are an expert in your life.
6. If I control my environment, I can control myself.
Exercising external control to bring on internal control may not be the right tactic. We never know what’s ahead of us, no matter how much we try to curate our life and make things go our way. If you’re feeling shaky within your sense of self, you need to start building security within you instead of just around you. Of course, having some security in your environment will help to encourage internal security, but it cannot be your only focus. Don’t lie to yourself and think that you don’t need reflection to heal internal wounds.
7. I have to avoid negative feelings at all costs.
We’ve all heard the idea that life is about balance. How can you live a balanced life if you don’t let yourself experience difficult feelings every once in a while? Life will present situations in which those feelings are appropriate, and shielding yourself from them every time could hinder you from growing and feeling even-keeled. Even worse, the things you sweep under the rug could come back stronger in the future. Don’t be afraid to let yourself feel hurt, sad, anxious, or angry sometimes. It’s healthy to feel both sides of the emotional spectrum in moderation.
8. I can be free only if I’m independent.
It feels wonderful when we can be self-sufficient, but if you’re searching for freedom, don’t set your sights on achieving it through independence. We all need someone to lean on every once in a while, so opening up yourself to people you can trust can be even more freeing than acting independently. Relying on others for some things does not equate with weakness or entrapment. It makes you human and allows you to forge strong relationships.
9. My presence isn’t as important as others’.
If you’re a giving person, you can easily adopt a habit of self-forgetting. You lie to yourself and say that you aren’t as important as those around you, especially your loved ones, and you start to lose your way. It’s hard to live your own life and find contentment when you assign a lesser value on yourself. Stop this cycle by listening to the people who care about you when they say that you matter. They’re not lying to you.
Maybe you don’t tell yourself all of these lies, but I’m sure there’s one or two you can relate to. Think about what you tell yourself on a regular basis, and don’t be afraid to scrutinize it.
Which lie are you guilty of telling yourself?