If I offered you a course called Lying 101, what do you think I would teach?
I imagine you’d figure I was going to teach you how to tell when someone is lying
These days we spend a lot of time online.
We are constantly evaluating—is this statement true? Is this statement a lie?
So you would probably welcome some tips on how to tell if someone is lying.
I could do that.
Or, others of you might be wondering: Huh? Is she going to teach us how to lie???
Actually, I do think it is a skill everyone needs to possess.
So I could do that, too.
But what if my course about lying wasn’t going to teach you a single thing
about either of these questions?
What in the world could it possibly be about???
What else is there to KNOW???
Are you game to find out?
Let’s DO this!
What is the real problem?
Do you suppose that, as a psychologist, I have heard a few lies?
Yes. I sure have.
But the lies we tell others are seldom the main problem.
The main problem is the lies we tell ourselves.
The excuses we make.
The alibis we come up with.
All to avoid taking responsibility.
I had one extremely destructive patient who excused herself completely
of all wrongdoing, on the basis that she had experienced childhood abuse.
She firmly believed her own lie that as a victim she was utterly innocent
of any pain or injury that she caused to others.
We all have lies we tell ourselves
I believed for years that I could never be a happy person because of major losses
and traumas in my teenage years. This was a lie I told myself, and I believed it.
I know people who tell themselves they are going to die young because their father or
mother did. They are so sure of it, they don’t make plans for retirement.
These lies we tell ourselves can become self fulfilling prophecies.
We believe them and we act them out.
So what would Lying 101 be about?
If I were going to teach you a great course about lying,
I would make you an expert at detecting your own lies.
Not so you could beat yourself over the head
with guilt and judgment and self condemnation.
So you could see just how absurd our inner lies really are!
Once you would see how utterly ridiculous the inner lies are that you believe,
those lies would begin to die of their own absurdity.
Sneak preview of my course
So let’s take a look at the trailer…
How do we recognize our inner lies?
Our inner lies are repetitive.
We hear the same ones over and over.
They have never led to a good outcome yet.
Always to a bad/lousy/terrible/painful outcome.
An outcome you can foresee.
Ah, but this time will be different! says the lie.
There’s your tip off: This time will be different.
No it won’t.
But we choose to believe it will.
We choose to buy the lie.
Here’s a simple lie we buy over and over
We have an all purpose lie:
“You can handle it.”
Covers darn near everything!
Allows us to go ahead and do self damaging things.
Some of which are extremely dangerous.
Things that could ruin our lives, ruin all our efforts toward happiness.
Want to hear how this simple little lie works?
We tell ourselves:
“You can still drive (after three drinks.) You can handle it.”
“You can try out this drug. You won’t get hooked. You can handle it.”
“You can go 75. There’s no cops around. You won’t get caught. You can handle it.”
“You can go to the casino. You’ll leave when you’re ahead. You can handle it.”
“You can have that chocolate cookie. One won’t hurt your diet. You can handle it.”
“You can go back to her place on the first date. You won’t have sex yet.
You can handle it.”
“You don’t need a therapist just because you feel like you’d rather be dead.
You can handle it.”
So how do we deal with a lie like this?
Telling ourselves we won’t make the same mistake again doesn’t work.
We have already tried that.
More times than we can count.
So, what does work?
What works is to challenge ourselves.
If we want to get free of the lie, we ask ourselves a simple question:
Why am I listening to this lie?
We ask the same as we would ask if a lousy song or movie came on:
Why are we listening to this junk?
We are holding the remote in our own hand.
There is no law that says we have to listen.
So when we hear:
“Have another drink. You can handle it.”
we ask: Why am I listening to this lie?
Why do I want to suffer?
Why do I want to lose my license?
Why do I want to kill somebody on the road?
Why do I want to die in a crash?
We ask ourselves these questions in order to wake ourselves up.
In order to face ourselves with the true consequences of the lie.
Our questions reveal just how self damaging our inner lies are.
And how dangerous it is for us to listen to them.
Free at last
When we see through our inner lies, they lose most of their power over us.
Next time you feel tempted to buy an inner lie,
ask yourself some questions like the ones above.
Yes, I know it isn’t easy.
Getting free of our inner lies is hard work.
It is so much easier for us to point at other people.
Call THEM the liars.
Indeed, calling people liars is our national sport these days.
We blame the lies of our leaders, red and blue, for all our misery.
And they are having a field day accusing each other.
Yes, it is much harder to face ourselves.
Much harder to stop being misled by our own inner lies.
But that is what we hope ALL of us and ALL our leaders will do now.
Face ourselves and take responsibility for uniting and building America.
What do you want to learn about getting free of inner lies?