You lie to people… often
The biggest lie we tell ourselves is that we’re honest people. It’s not even close to true for most of you. Simply ask yourself, “What don’t I want these people to know about me?” in any given situation and an answer will arise, proving that you’re not completely honest. For most of you, it’s more like the opposite – many people would be shocked and surprised by who you really are, meaning you represent yourself falsely.
You only lie because you’re a coward
For all your noble narratives about why you hide truths and outright deceive, the underlying fact is that you’re afraid of the consequences of being honest. And that’s the only reason. You’re not protecting people, or building relationships, or preventing unnecessary conflicts. You’re just scared. Let go of your bullshit narratives and at least admit to yourself that you’re a coward.
You don’t need to be a coward
Tragically, you lie because you’re a coward, and yet you’re stronger than you give yourself credit for. You tell yourself that you couldn’t handle confrontation, or rejection, or punishments, but you’re a human being. Humans survived Auschwitz. Humans survived wars. Humans survived torture and famine and poverty. You can handle someone being upset about your truth.
You’re not going to start exercising on Monday
Fear’s greatest manipulation tool is to delay the uncomfortable action. The reason we promise ourselves that we’ll get started on something “later” is because what this really means is we never intend to actually do it. You’re either doing it right now, or you’re never doing it. Whenever you catch yourself promising a future change, say to yourself, “That just means I’m never intending to do it. How do I feel about that?”
Your financial problems are a result of self-sabotage
Being born into financial hardship wasn’t your fault. But if you’re an adult who struggles with money, that’s very unlikely to be bad luck. I can guarantee to almost 100% certainty that if I were to review your bank statement I’d find that you’re living beyond your means with overspending and bad debt. Most of the issues you have in your life are the result of poor decisions you made in the past. Accept this, or continue making those mistakes and blaming others.
You don’t need THIS job
If you wouldn’t do your job for free, it means you don’t enjoy it. And if you were capable enough to get this job, you’re almost certainly capable of getting another one. Therefore, there’s no logical reason to stay at this job. Even if you’re struggling financially with a family to feed, you can still apply for better jobs every week or build a business on the side. If you could get a better job but choose not to, you’re a slave.
Stop feeling like you’re not good enough: Use a systematic, practical approach to replacing Shame with Confidence:
School did not prepare you well for life
If you stopped “learning” after school or university ended, then you never really learned anything at all. Your education has only just begun. School taught you nothing about managing resources, dealing with people, and building self confidence… and yet no other topics are more important to your quality of life.
Your parents have completed their job, now it’s on you
Yes, you may have had a traumatic childhood. But you’re looking back on it now. You know what that means? It’s over. Whatever is happening now is a direct result of your most recent decisions. Your parents can’t be held to account for your latest follies and cowardice. It’s time to take control of your life and responsibility for yourself. They did the best they could. Maybe they failed. Doesn’t matter. It’s now your problem.
You won’t live forever
If you look at the things you tolerate, like a dissatisfying job or an emotionally draining friend, you’ll see that it appears as if you are simply waiting for time to pass. You’re passive about issues that you could remedy. Only an immortal would respond to such easily solvable issues without any urgency. You act like you won’t die. Yet you’re probably going to die much sooner than you expect.
There’s no such thing as fairness
We talk about justice and fairness and what is “right” with no sense of irony. The universe clearly doesn’t give two fucks about what you think is fair. You can bash your head against the wall all you like, complaining and protesting and trying to force people to act a certain way. Or you can accept that life is unfair and work with it as it is, take the hits that come knowing they are inevitable, and pick yourself back up for another round each time.
Controlling other peoples’ emotions is disrespectful
You think making people “happy” is a good deed. You think calming an angry person is an act of kindness. You think reducing someone’s sadness improves their life. You’re wrong on all counts. All you’re doing is manipulating them to make them easier for you to handle. Their emotional experiences are important processing systems that make them a stronger person. You weaken them when you manage their emotions, all because of your own selfish desire for comfort and control.
You’re not special
You have it in your head that you either deserve “more” or “less”. You’re either the hero or the loser. The truth is you simply don’t matter that much. You don’t deserve anything, not even a life. Entitlement is a completely fictional human belief. Both arrogance and self-loathing are equally narcissistic. You could let go of being special in the grand scheme of things and just be a good person by your own standards instead.
You’re the common denominator in all your patterns
If you have a string of bad relationships, it means that you are terrible at choosing healthy partners and terrible at being a healthy partner yourself. It’s not bad luck when harmful situations repeat themselves in a pattern. When you notice a pattern, your first and only question must be, “How am I doing this to myself?”
Avoiding confrontation won’t make the problem go away
You tell yourself that it’s not worth the hassle; that you shouldn’t rock the boat; that you’re not right to feel that way; and that it doesn’t matter in the long run anyway. You actually lack confidence and refuse to back yourself, avoiding a small discomfort now in order to accumulate a thousand unspoken grievances, eventually leading to a total collapse. Maybe you’ll get divorced. Maybe your career will be destroyed. Maybe you’ll crash into a three year black depression. Who knows? But eventually, these avoided conflicts will come back to slaughter you somehow.
Leaning on others doesn’t make you a weak person
Priding yourself on being “independent” is a self-aggrandizing delusion. You wouldn’t be alive without support from others. Who built the roads you drive on? Who taught you to read? Who treated your illnesses? You rely on lessons taught and actions taken by others every single day, whether you admit it or not. A confidently resourceful person knows how to maximise mutually beneficial relationships; an arrogant person fails to achieve their potential because they believe in a fiction called “independence”.
Most of your problems are just you wishing for the impossible
Suffering is rarely objective. Most of your pain is the emotional reaction to a story in your head. It’s a story that changes its characters and settings constantly, but the plot is always the same: “Life should not be this way”. If life was supposed to go what way you want it to, it would go that way. If it hasn’t, then you’re wrong about how it’s supposed to go. You need to adjust to life, not the other way around.
Having high standards is just a way to avoid intimacy
Whether it’s a clear checklist or simply a hypervigilance for flaws, many of you pride yourself on having high standards about who you allow in your lives, especially when it comes to romantic partners. These standards are nothing more than an untouchable rainbow; an impossible unicorn that serves a single purpose: to keep you alone. High standards are nothing more than a trauma response designed to avoid deep and potentially painful connections.
Your life will never be smooth and easy
If you pay close attention, you’ll notice yourself rushing and stressing in your attempt to permanently solve problems. You’re constantly beset by your mind’s strategies and plans to remove pain from your life. This comes from a deep-seated belief that there is a golden finish line, a final milestone you can one day pass to end your problems forever. Not. Going. To. Happen. No amount of wealth, love, order, or health will prevent you from experiencing frustration, disappointment, confusion and loss. Accept those terms, because they’re the only ones life will give you.
Nobody owes you anything
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been generous. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been nice, or kind, or considerate. The universe isn’t keeping score. There is nothing owed. You can enjoy the reward of simply being a good person, but if you’re doing it merely for a payday later, you’re going to be disappointed. And if you’re only kind in the expectation of future rewards, then you’re not really kind at all; you’re manipulative.
Avoiding risk is just tiptoeing your way to death
Nothing is guaranteed. You can do everything “right” and still get cancer. Avoiding uncomfortable and unfamiliar situations by saying they’re “too risky” is taking the biggest risk of all. You balance a bicycle by pedaling quickly. At first, this will feel like you’re going too fast, but if you were to slow down you’d fall. A healthy life feels risky and daring; a dangerous life feels comfortable.
You can’t read minds, and other people can’t read yours
The top psychologists in the world aren’t as confident in their people-reading abilities as you are in yours. Why is that? Because you’re badly mistaken. You think you see through people and know what they’re thinking and feeling. But you don’t. You simply believe narratives in your head, stories your mind creates to explain to itself things it doesn’t understand. You’re not psychic. And hoping that other people are psychic, so that you don’t have to explain yourself and express your needs, is just asking for relationship breakdowns.
Your way is not THE way
You tell others how to live. You give advice when asked, and even when you’re not asked. You give your opinion on every topic that arises. And you fail to see this embarrassing habit for what it is. Odds are, the way you live doesn’t even work that well. Odds are, the advice you give is something you rarely follow yourself. Odds are, your opinions are completely uninformed and uneducated, and you’re not even an expert in more than a single specific topic, let alone many. The most honest thing a person can say in nearly every situation is, “I don’t know”.
Treating others poorly is never a justified act of integrity
Call it revenge, or teaching, or justice, or whatever you wish, but deliberately harming another person is only ever the lashing out of a traumatised person. Unless you are defending yourself or another from being immediately wounded, any action designed to harm another person is not a noble act. You would hate it if it were done to you. You debase yourself when you harm another person, whether it’s a nasty comment or a closed fist.
You don’t live by your values
You spend so much time convincing yourself that what you’ve done is justified that you fail to see that the fact you need to explain your behaviour to yourself shows that you’re doing something wrong. Lying awake at night with inexplicable resentment, guilt and anxiety is not random, it’s your core values reflecting on your behaviour and imagining a future where you do not change. If you don’t like people lying, then be more honest. If you don’t like people avoiding their duties, then take greater responsibility for yourself. Align your behaviour with your principles. Virtuous thoughts and feelings mean nothing.
You lie to yourself more than others lie to you
We live in a time where the corruption of politicians and corporations and celebrities has never been more apparent. So you rage and rant about the injustice of it all. And yet, every single day you lie to yourself more frequently than any of those others do. You justify your actions when you know they’re wrong. You talk yourself out of confronting people. You pretend you deserve unhealthy food. You’re so full of shit that it’s hypocritical for you to complain about other people’s dishonesty. You should only complain about them once you have your own house in order.
Stop feeling like you’re not good enough: Use a systematic, practical approach to replacing Shame with Confidence: