VIEWPOINTS: Why do we lie to ourselves?

We all know that we lie – about big things and little things. Heck, many of us with small children just came off of a whole season of good-natured lying about the corporeality of the jolly fat man in the red suit. And many of us might have fudged the truth a little with those lovely affirmations and resolutions about going to the gym daily or giving up chocolate until summer.

But most of all – we lie to ourselves, according to a Duke University researcher.

In his book, The (Honest) Truth about Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone – Especially Ourselves, Duke researcher and behavioral economist Dan Ariely tells us how everyone lies a little while a much smaller group lie excessively. That was his conclusion after about 30,000 interviews and experiments.

In December 2012, a Gallup poll about how the public views the honesty of certain professions rated nurses as most honest and car salespeople as the least. Clergy ranked at 52 percent honesty and journalists ranked at 24 percent, just for full disclosure.

So why do we lie to ourselves? What do we lie about most?

2 Responses to “VIEWPOINTS: Why do we lie to ourselves?”

  1. Ladywriter1

    My answer off the cuff would be denial association’. As state in the lead in, we lie to each other, but most of all we lie to ourselves…. one the lying starts for whatever reason, expounding on it may seem all so natural. We can trick or convince ourselves of things sooner than we can apply it to others. Lying to ourselves may come natural as we keep the lie or lies, going.Lying to ourselves may stem from our feelings being real, or imagined too. It may even seem easier and provide us with a false sense of security so strong that we can even end up in a “fist to cuff’s” fight- in efforts to get them to agree with our denial (hence the lie) to get rid of that person, or to force them to join in on our personal madness jaunt! Last, we may even feel like we are not harming anyone, even ourselves; or just ourselves. After all, “what’s a little fudging here and there?” Not a good idea, for me, I need to keep it real at all times! DAC

  2. Elizabeth Ann Terry

    These questions immediately brought to mind Jack Nicholson’s line from A FEW GOOD MEN: “You can’t handle the truth!”

    I think that it takes a great deal of self knowledge and self love to look life in the face and consistently know what is true and tell it to oneself and to others. And there is the challenge – consistency. One way to reach to state of self knowledge and self love is to stay on a spiritual path of constant awareness and knowledge.

    We are only human. Sometimes we are not up to that challenge. However, when we step or stumble off of that spiritual path of staying in constant contact with The Holy, we cease to know and value what is true. It becomes easier to tell lies than the truth to ourselves and to others.

    The Big Lie that I continue to tell myself is about time. I have unreasonable expectations about what I can accomplish in a given time frame. HA! There are still only 24 hours in each day.


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