Humans are incredibly successful when it comes to self-deception. We do so in all manner of ways and a lot of that stems from our unconscious mind and how it influences our behavior without us knowing it’s happening. Today, we are going to cover five of the ways in which we deceive ourselves.
- We Play the Victim
You might not view this as a deception but casting yourself in the role of the victim means you give yourself pity you don’t deserve or need. It also lets you off the accountability hook. If you speak in generalities then there’s a good chance you make yourself the victim. For example, statements like I’m always at fault. I always cause the issues. I never get anything right. Those are broad, victim-making statements.
- We Make Excuses
This might not sound like a way of deceiving ourselves, but it is. You know the drill. You slept in, you’re running late, and when you arrive late for your appointment you immediately make an excuse so that you don’t look bad.
In the moment, you think you’re deceiving others, but you also deceive yourself when you do this because you are excusing poor behavior when you know deep down you have a history of turning up late for just about everything. It’s a way that you deceive ourselves into believing we aren’t accountable for managing our time more effectively.
- We Shift the Blame
It is easy to make yourself feel better by blaming other people for your shortcomings. The problem is we view failure and mistakes as the end of the world so when we run into failure or we make a mistake our impulse is to point the finger anywhere but back at ourselves.
It might be a natural response, but it isn’t a healthy response. You can blame your angry response on someone else’s behavior or you can address the reason why someone’s behavior elicited such a strong reaction in you. Deal with the problem instead of continuing to deceive yourself.
- We Minimize Bad Behavior
My vices aren’t that bad, especially when other people are doing x, y, and z. We are all guilty of deceiving ourselves in this way. It’s easy to write off our own bad behavior if we compare it to the bad behavior of others. Ultimately, comparisons are always bad news and it doesn’t matter what bad behavior others engage in.
What others do doesn’t impact your life, but what does impact your life is your own bad behavior. Your weaknesses impact your growth. Your vices impact your ability to move forward. All of this influences your personal development… or lack thereof.
- We Overcompensate
One of the sneakiest ways we deceive ourselves is by overcompensating. We go out of our way to do nice things for others, but we don’t do so for the joy of doing nice things. We do so in an attempt to cover up our flaws.
We run ourselves ragged trying to earn the approval of others by completing random acts of kindness. You can do nice things, you can complete random acts of kindness, but it is worth asking yourself why you feel the need to do those things. Is it from the heart? Or is it a way to fill a void of some sort?
If pride is at the root of your behavior, then acts of kindness are simply overcompensating. You tell yourself you do it because you’re a good person, but you know that’s not your motivation.
How much attention do you pay to your life and your behavior? Do you indulge in any of the deceptive behaviors above? It isn’t too late to put self-deception in its place and take back control of your life. Before you overcome them, you need to face up to them.