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How to Stop Lying to Ourselves

My ideas are foolish.

A passionate and idealistic nature, like mine, doesn’t lend itself to serious business.

My thoughts aren’t as valid as everyone else’s because I don’t understand how the “real world” works.

These are lies I tell myself.

It has taken me a while to recognize my self-deception.

But I am beginning to realize how it has shaped me.

Here are ways that lying to ourselves can cause damage:

  • Limits our potential
  • We are living out someone else’s story or a story that doesn’t fit us
  • Sets us up for disappointment in relationships – someone isn’t who we wish them to be
  • Ignoring problems because we tell ourselves they’re no big deal or justify them
  • Controlled by narratives from our past that aren’t valid
  • Day of Reckoning – we will see the truth eventually, one way or another

“The greatest sources of our suffering are the lies we tell ourselves.”

-Bessel A. van der Kolk

So what are these stories we tell ourselves in our heads and where did those stories come from?

In this newsletter, I will explore this idea of self-deception and the methods I want to use to combat it (astrology included – of course).

What Lying to Ourself Looks Like

Self-deception can take many forms.

Here is a short list of ways people can lie to themselves:

  • Waiting for something to happen that we know, deep down, is never going to happen
  • Telling ourselves we can control things that we can’t control
  • Convincing ourselves we aren’t capable of doing something when we absolutely are
  • Assuring ourselves that something isn’t affecting us when it definitely is
  • Reassuring ourselves that certain habits or behaviors are no big deal when in reality they are hurting you or others
  • Persuading ourselves that someone has our best interest at heart when all evidence proves the opposite

Delusion doesn’t have to look like insanity, it is usually much more subtle than that.

Why We Need to See the Truth

So I lie to myself sometimes.

Why does this matter?

These untruths are how we hand over control of ourselves to someone else or something else.

We live according to those lies rather than our own free will.

Dropping these self-told lies from our inner dialogue could help us to:

  • break free from limiting beliefs
  • put ourselves in control of our self-image rather than outsourcing that to others
  • have more realistic expectations in relationships by seeing others for who they truly are (both good and bad)
  • not waste time living out the stories others have written about us and write our own plot
  • take action to improve issues rather than tell ourselves stories that justify them

The most confused we ever get is when we try to convince our heads of something our hearts know is a lie.”

-Karen Moning

Once we can be more honest with ourselves, this can lead to:

  • living a more authentic life
  • feeling a sense of flow and less resistance
  • more energy spent creating our own destiny and less energy spent hiding from the truth
  • freeing ourselves from roles and expectations unfairly placed on us by others

But if being honest with myself is so beneficial, why did I fall into the trap of self-deception to start with?

Why We Lie to Ourselves

Everyone has their own set of reasons for not being truthful with themselves.

For the specific lies I am digging into – the ones where I tell myself I don’t have “serious ideas” – I have some suspicions.

I am middle-aged and grew up in a time when girls were less “important” than boys.

This message came across in some ways that were subtle and a bit covert.

Others were loud and clear.

When men asserted their ideas, women were not to question them.

My thoughts aren’t as valuable or trustworthy.

This is a lie I still repeat to myself often and one I am working through.

“Stop lying to yourself. When we deny our own truth we deny our own potential”.

-Steve Maraboli

But why have I clung to this when, logically, I know it is false?

And why are there other untruths that lurk in my inner monologue?

Here are reasons it may be hard to be truthful with ourselves:

  • part of our self-story is shaped by those we love and trust the most
  • we may have lived with an ingrained belief about ourselves for so long that it becomes “who we are” – questioning it can feel scary
  • we can lean too far into “happy thoughts” so they become “delusional thoughts” – allowing us to hide from the harsher reality
  • acknowledging shortcomings in ourselves or others can feel disappointing
  • focusing on “what should be” allows us to not have to deal with “what is”

How I Plan to Be More Truthful With Myself

I brainstormed ways I could root out untruths I tell myself – pull them into the light for investigation.

Metacognition

The first one involves metacognition – keeping track daily of the narrative in your mind.

We can’t know what’s going on in our minds if we don’t pay attention to it.

This is simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy.

Here are some ways to start using metacognition for more self-honesty:

  1. When you give yourself a limiting message (example: that’s too hard for me) write it on a list. Later, journal about those phrases. Are you being honest and fair to yourself, or not?
  2. Another journal prompt: Describe yourself as you would a character in a book. Add an exhaustive list of your quirks and traits, good or bad, as a bullet list. Reread them and ask yourself which of those descriptors have evidence to back them up and which do not.
  3. Pay attention to how you instinctively react to situations. Be curious about why you respond or feel the way you do. What messages are you telling yourself?
  4. When a loved one frustrates you, is it justified? Check with yourself that your irritation isn’t from projecting “who you think they should be” onto them – someone they never claimed to be.
  5. Or, if you are justifying bad behavior from a loved one, are you telling yourself a lie that you deserve it or a story that this person “can’t do better”?
  6. Are there any “roles” you play in your family of origin? Are you the “black sheep” the “screw up” the “fixer” the “one with their head screwed on straight”, whatever it is? These aren’t costumes you choose for yourself, but are you still wearing them?

Astrology

There are 3 places I would look first in a natal chart when thinking about lies we tell ourselves.


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  1. The 4th House (Nadir) – This line points to the most private version of ourselves – who we truly believe ourselves to be deep down (good and bad).

    These are ideas about ourselves formed in childhood (and deeply ingrained).

    Check the 4th House sign and planets near the Nadir.

    What kinds of fears may this sign (or planet in that sign if one exists) have about itself?

    How could this sign delude itself, or what kind of blind spots could it have? Our inner dialogue could reflect these.

  2. The 1st House (Ascendant) – The Ascendant is the interface between our inner and outer world.

    This is the lens through which we look at life, but it is also the filter through which others “take us in”.

    How other people see us can be very influential – they may feel like expectations we need to live up to.

    Look at the sign on your Ascendant (rising sign). Are there labels (bossy, unmotivated, cold, etc.) used with that sign that you identify with?

    If so, is that backed up with evidence or are they stories you are telling yourself? If planets sit in your 1st House, repeat those questions for that planet.

  3. The 7th House (Descendant) – Sometimes the lies we tell ourselves aren’t about us.

    The Descendant could reveal untruths about our relationships.

    The sign on the 7th House (and planets near it) shows us traits we are naturally drawn to in others.

    Ask yourself if you project any of your Descendant’s qualities (good or bad) onto your best friends or partner.

    Are there ways you are expecting them to “show up” in life in the style of your Descendant when that isn’t truly who they are?

If you need help understanding the basics of astrology, our Astro Toolkit: Astrology 101 course can get you off to a good start – and it’s now free for everyone.

When we stop lying to ourselves we’re no longer wasting energy trying to hide from the truth.

And, we have more energy available to create our destiny.

If anything in this letter resonated with you, we’d love to hear about it! Simply reply to this email.

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Have a fantastic day and much love,