Without exception, human beings have developed a habit of self-deception. It is one of the few things we are universally participating in, one of the few things we are universally effective at achieving.
We lie to ourselves in a myriad of ways. Some are very conscious and some are unconscious. Some take a lot of effort to keep the ruse going and some are so ingrained in our perspective we don’t even know we are participating in a deception, let alone one of our own making.
The best way to continue to deceive oneself is to constantly tell yourself you aren’t being deceived. The fact we lie to ourselves is not an indictment on our personality or self-worth. It is human nature. Facing it head on is the only way to learn and grow.
1) Confirmation Bias
We’ve learned we need to be perfect. And we’ve learned specific patterns of thought for how the world works and how we operate in that world. Now, we spend most of our time trying to reinforce those perspectives, even if they happen to be false.
We see what we are looking for. Recently, Kylie was editing a chapter in our upcoming book and came across the word “fulcrum”. She had never seen it before and we had a humorous discussion about whether it was the right word to use. In the last week, she has seen it in other books and heard friends use it maybe half a dozen times. What is at the forefront of our minds affects what we see, think, and feel in this world.Most of us are in self-justification mode. We are trying to defend ourselves against the world and its perspectives. In this mode, we are looking for things to confirm what we already think. And if that is what we are looking for, that is what we will find. We will see evidence that supports us everywhere we look. We won’t see the holes in our arguments or the ways we can grow. We won’t see the naked truth. We can only see through our filters, and filters, by design, are limiting.
If we want to confront our self-deception, we have to recognize that we have filters and they affect how we see the world. It is not that our filters are wrong, some of it is very helpful and true. But nobody has it all figured out. At least one strand of your filter is based on a lie you’ve internalized. A lie you are now desperate to defend.