When we interact with people around us, whether it is with our family or our neighbourhood, even with the community at large, no one wants to be seen as a liar. Quite simply, liars are considered untrustworthy at best and immoral at worst. However, we are perfectly satisfied with lying to ourselves all the time!
A person may say to himself: I love my work; who cares that I keep complaining about it? Or even - ironically - to say — I’m always true to myself. What I mean is that somehow everyone is fooling themselves, but that doesn’t make him harmless. If we take the advanced levels of self-deception, for example, you will find that it is associated with poor mental health. While at moderate levels, self-deceptionists can temporarily protect against bad feelings, but they can still be a barrier to the profound well-being that comes from living with integrity. To be truly happy, we must learn to be completely honest with ourselves!
And here we may see it in our reality, that at times some people engage in self-deception to protect their vanity or to gather courage for themselves. For instance, if public speaking isn’t your forte, you might try to bolster your courage before a scary presentation by saying: I’m a great public speaker! while looking at the businessman, he will still convince himself that his hard-line plan is a great idea! This is perhaps the same as that fake to make something forever, especially if your success at work or school resulted from cheating or preferential treatment but you chose to put it back to your own merit....is not it?
And here we must realise a very critical point, which is that these self-deceptions will delay the changes we need to make and incite our lies to others. Indeed, self-deception is a classic method of manipulative persuasion. Indeed, don’t you see with me that when people are tasked with making a certain argument, they will fully resist hearing other words to the contrary? In other words, the salesman who tells you that the Mercedes - for example - you are looking at is the best car ever... has convinced himself that!
So let me ask you, what about your long-term happiness? Living in a cave of lies may be comforting, but it is like experiencing bliss at the end of a cigarette: it will never lead you to the deepest satisfaction. It is more important to believe that this conviction can only be found in the true version of yourself. This self-deception of reality is linked to the inability to see our flaws, which makes self-improvement more difficult. As such, refusing to admit that you are a little nervous may make you feel better in the moment, but it will also discourage you from making those efforts to change for the benefit of yourself and those around you in the long term.
And so each of us has to decide: Do I want the whole truth, no matter where it leads? If you are ready to give it a try, I advise you to start with small acts of defiance against your self-deception until you feel it. Maybe you can ask yourself this question: What are people most likely laughing behind my back? Make a list of your weaknesses or personal moves, and imagine yourself laughing at them too! And here you will undoubtedly find that this exercise has created relief from acknowledging something you felt the need to hide and trusting your true self and everything.
In the end, keep asking yourself questions like these: Do I prefer having people laugh behind my back or with me? Do I really want something I didn’t have? Indeed, the honest path is not easy, but you can be sure day by day that you will be proud to say that the person who appears in the mirror tomorrow is not a liar and that’s the fact!
Dr Yousuf Ali Al Mulla is a physician, medical innovator and a writer.