Why Self-Deception is Dangerous
Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. — Fyodor Dostoevsky
The most dangerous form of deception in the world is self-deception. This is because of all the people deceived in the world, the self-deceived are least likely to discover the fraud. When our foe is external, we are watchful and quick to suspect dishonesty. However, when the enemy is within us, we collaborate and do not resist. We enjoy being deceived, hence there is no fight or struggle to free ourselves.
Have you met someone who admits that they are deceiving themselves?
The simpler question would be, how often do you find an alcoholic checking themselves into a rehab? Or a smoker admitting that smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer?
A drug company once produced the world’s best smoking cessation drug, with minimal nicotine withdrawal symptoms reported. They then marked the prices as very high since the drug was of excellent quality with the benefits worth every penny. However, the sales were very low hence they devised a marketing strategy. In a city market with the highest number of smokers in the country, they set up a stand. They then started explaining the benefits of the drug and giving out samples for free to the smokers. Even then, only very few of the free samples were picked.
After several interviews with the smokers, the discovered that even with the global known effects of tobacco smoking and addiction, the smokers did not consider their tobacco use a problem to be solved. They were self-convinced that tobacco smoking is pleasurable and fun and didn’t want to stop.
What are the dangers of self-deception?
1. We lose our identity by hiding behind a mask — Our real self can be grown and developed regardless of the stage we are in life. Admitting to who we are and where we are is the only start point to personal growth and development. By hiding behind a mask of who we are not or where we think we should be, we never get a chance to improve ourselves.
2. Self- deception weakens our relationship bonds — When we are living in deception, those around us are likely to pick it better than ourselves. If the point it out to us, we are likely to overreact or break the bonds. This affects the relationship between families and friends.
3. Everyone is wrong — Everyone seems to be wrong and either jealous or envious of us. Always remember that when everyone is wrong, you are the one who is wrong but doesn’t see it. When two or three people see something detrimental in your life, investigate it.
4. It’s a recipe for failure — When we are living in self-deception, failure is the most certain outcome. Self-awareness is the opposite of self-deception. Unless we become self-aware, we cannot be successful.
How to reform from Self deception
1. Admit that you are lying to yourself — Look around several aspects of your life: marriage, work, circle of friends, studies, church. Evaluate aspects in which you aren’t totally honest in and start making amends.
2. Question your true intentions — Ask yourself a question, if forgot your wallet at home and its time for offertory in church, what hurts most? Not being able to make your offertory to God or being left seated as everyone else lines to make their offertory? You know the answer. Make amends. Always have the right intentions and remain true to them.
3. Catch yourself lying to others — Lying to others is the first step to self-deception. Have you told a lie so good that you believed it yourself? Always catch yourself lying to others and stop immediately. Honesty to others is honesty to self.
4. Don’t turn a blind eye to the wrongs — When you identify your areas of self-deceit, don’t beat yourself too hard or ignore them. There is nothing to be embarrassed about as this is not unique to you. Start working on improvements.
Although self-awareness and complete honesty is difficult, it is rewarding. When we discover the need to be honest and improve ourselves, the are no limits to who we can become.
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