The Lies We Tell Ourselves
Welcome to another 300 Prompt kind of day. This week’s prompt is to name one thing you’ve liked to yourself about and why.
As always, if you want to join in, feel free to use the comment section to share a blog post or your own response to a prompt. Don’t be scared. It’s actually fun – once you get used to peeling back the outer shell and baring your own gooey insides.
A lie I’ve told myself…and why. Where to begin?
The hardest thing to ever do is become brutally honest in all things, especially with ourselves. It’s much easier to live in denial, lie to ourselves, and believe what we want to believe instead of what we know to be true. Over the years, I’ve told myself all sorts of lies.
He was The One. (Wrong.)
I’ll do this forever. (Pick whatever “this” might be – run, work in management, eat Brussels sprouts – it’s all the same.)
A lie I told myself that I’m working to overcome is that dreams can’t come true. That you can’t control your own destiny. That you can’t close your eyes, leap into a great unknown, and actually land safely (maybe with a few cuts and bruises, but still alive).
I’m a dreamer from a long way back. I’ve dreamed of other worlds, other realities (my own), other things, other places, other selves I want to be – and I’ve been dreaming this way for as long as I can remember. As a kid, it’s called having an active imagination – at least that’s what we tell ourselves. Once we “grow up,” it’s avoidance of harsh realities, a refusal to be serious, or a way of wishing away our current life – ah, more lies we tell ourselves.
Some of my dreams were unrealistic – become a ballerina or gymnast. A dream without talent or an all-consuming urge to succeed won’t get very far.
Some of my dreams were an attempt to believe the easy way can work. You can only win the lottery if you play the lottery, and I’ve never been fond of 1 in a billion chances that cost me money. But damn, I can imagine all the ways I’d handle winning that kind of cash.
Some of my dreams were secret little nuggets of who I really am deep down as a person – working for myself, steering my own course, bringing my innermost thoughts to life through the written word. Somehow, those dreams felt the most unattainable. It was too scary, too close to reality, too possible – and therefore must be denied.
Those dreams, those secret wants, required faith in myself and faith in something bigger than myself to help me along the way. So I told myself those were unattainable. I lied to myself for more than 20 years. Yes, I knew as a teenager I wanted to be a writer, but I also “knew” (another lie) that it was impossible and impractical.
I tucked away the dream. I lied to myself and said that most dreams never come true because they aren’t meant to. I convinced myself that working a dozen hours a day to help someone else profit was how the world worked, and I should ignore the gnawing, aching, clawing feeling in my chest that this wasn’t what I was meant to do. I’d get over it. Countless people before me had put in their 30 or 40 years and retired, waiting until their later years to do the things that filled their heart with joy. I was no different. I wasn’t special. I just needed to follow the tried and true path.
Ahhh, the lies we tell ourselves.
One day I met the person who believed in my dreams more than I did. He read my words, listened to my fears and hopes, and said, “I’ll help you. You can do this. I believe in you.”
That was the day I stopped lying to myself. I wanted a life I couldn’t even name, and for once I saw the glimmerings of a path to make it possible. I was still terrified, but I was no longer alone. “Take my hand. You’re not alone. We’ll figure it out together.”
He helped me in countless small ways – and none of them had anything to do with the work it takes to achieve your goals. That was my job. He simply cleared the path a little and gave me the space I needed to run.
Once you stop lying to yourself about one thing, it becomes much easier to stop lying about everything else. It doesn’t happen over night, but it is easier.
This, the words you read here and elsewhere, are me. They are the steps on a long path to achieving a dream – a dream that never stops growing, not really. I don’t lie to myself about what I want, what it takes to get it, and whether I can do it or not. I know I can. I don’t need the lies anymore. The truth will set you free, even as it kicks your ass a little.
Prompts are fun, m’kay? Want to see past posts and prompts? Check out the entire series: 300 Prompts.