The School of Life, "How We Lie to Ourselves" より。
A major obstacle to self-knowledge, and in turn, to a flourishing life, is our tendency to lie to ourselves. We lie for a very understandable reason; because we want to avoid pain.
There are four things we particularly like to lie to ourselves about:
- Things we need to change about our lives.
- Things that might disturb our self-image.
- Things we badly want and can't have.
- Things we are angry with others about but don't dare to express.
Here are some of the leading manoeuvres we employ to kid ourselves.
We identify something that can powerfully keep our thoughts away from troubling inner confrontations. Often, we don't so much like what distracts us in and of itself; we get attached because of its ability to keep us away from what we fear.
2. Manic Cheeriness
A sadness we haven't been able to admit to is often covered up with exaggerated doses of manic cheeriness. We aren't happy so much as incapable of allowing ourselves to feel even the slightest sadness, in case we were to be overwhelmed by our troubling feelings.
We tell ourselves that we simply don't care about something - not because that's true, but because we can't have it.
We can often grow censorious and disapproving of certain people and behaviours to ward off an awareness that a part of us in fact really likes the condemned element. When our feelings get tricky, we attack them in someone else.
Feeling offended takes up all our attention. It muddies the waters. When we are defensive, we no longer pay attention to information that may - at its heart - be correct but challenging. The problem with lying to ourselves is that in so doing, we miss out on key opportunities for growth. The things we're in denial about are painful, but usually also contain crucial material that's vital to our overall development.
If we could face up to our stranger thoughts, needs and desires, we'd learn to navigate more freely in our minds and our honesty would render us more creative, interesting and pleasant to be around.