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“.. Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie, comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” — Fyodor Dostoevsky

You make yourself believe a lie, in order to make your life a little easier. A lie is a paradigm under which you operate to avoid pain. A lie is something you want to believe in because the truth would hurt your ego. You lie to yourself because you seek comfort. Well, comfort is a bit overrated; you lie to yourself because you are scared of the unknown. I wish there might have been an easier way to put this, but one must learn to accept the harsh reality. However, you must stop, for continuing to lie will eat away your soul, thereby causing you untold amounts of pain.

Lying to yourself is equivalent to deep betrayal. If you spend a lot of time convincing yourself that you’re someone different than who you truly feel you are from the inside, then life is going to be much tougher for you than it needs to be.

Sometimes, you know you’re lying to yourself, but the inner voice that’s goading you to deceive yourself screams more loudly. In this case, allow yourself the space to spot the lies you tell to your inner self. Don’t beat yourself up over the discoveries you’ll make. And then there are other times when the difference between a lie and the truth can be subtle. Your brain will try to “logically” trick you into believing a lie.

Don’t Lie to Yourself

Stopping these lies can be an enormously cathartic experience if you’re willing to give it a go. I cannot give you a definitive guide on how to differentiate between the the two types of lies mentioned above as I am not you and I do not understand your specific circumstances, motivations and desires. I can; however, give you some tips that guided me into taking decisions, which I think served me well.

Acknowledge and Accept Yourself

You are definitely lying to yourself when you deny your passions and fail to pursue what excites you, no matter what it is. This is unfair and disrespectful to yourself. Listen to that gnawing feeling in your heart and gut. I have a friend who, after getting an excellent rank in JEE, proceeded to pursue Computer Science as all the toppers do. In the middle of all this, he realized that he wasn’t meant to be in CS at all, that his heart has always yearned to learn Aerospace Engineering. He filled out his branch change forms and is now going to complete his B. Tech. in Aerospace Engineering.

Take Support from Friends and Family

Thinking you can do this all alone is also generally a dead giveaway. There are undeniably great things you can achieve on your own, but it would never be “all”: you will require friends and family as a moral support system for those grim phases of life, and as joyous companions in those celebratory times.

Aim and Do Better 

Then there are those who settle for anything. They think they don’t deserve more than what’s handed down to them. That is a lie of the highest order to yourself: you always have the ability to single-handedly do better for yourself.

Seek Authentic Relationships

All the members of your social circle will unmask themselves during the testing times, never let “their” opinions color your actions. Those who stand by you in looming shadows will be the people you shall cherish for the rest of your life. Seek authenticity, instead of popularity and profits.

Avoid Distractions

Seeking distractions is one of the easiest ways to lie to yourself: you can easily get away from the real hard stuff. Work to fix the problems and not avoid them.

Contemplate Over Your Actions and Future

If you fail to produce quality work even after trying your best, it might perhaps indicate that you are not in the right field. Here, I would specifically like to address those who are trying to pursue their careers in a field that was not their original choice and have managed to convince themselves that they have made a good choice. I want you to contemplate upon your decisions one last time. Ask a trusted friend or mentor what he thinks of your future based on your present actions.

Stop Pretending, Be Yourself

Stop trying to be someone you’re not. One of the greatest challenges in life is being yourself in a world that’s trying to make you like everyone else. Although someone will always be prettier, someone will always be smarter;  someone will always be younger, but they will never be you. Don’t change so that people will like you. Just be yourself, and only the right people will love the real you.

Always Be Ready

Stop thinking you’re not ready. Great people do things before they are ready. Nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises. Because most great opportunities in life force us to grow beyond our comfort zones, which means we won’t feel totally comfortable at first.

Stop Competing

Stop trying to compete against everyone else. Don’t worry about what others do better than you. Concentrate on beating your own records every day. Success is a battle between YOU and YOURSELF only. Stop letting others bring you down to their level. Refuse to lower your standards to accommodate those who refuse to raise theirs.

I encourage you to act on these ideas. Thinking and reading passively is entertaining. You may even trick yourself into thinking that reading is productive. However, you will soon forget whatever you’ve read. Remember what you read by quickly going through this article. Write down how the ideas in this article are applicable to your life. Make some changes, then edit, erase and rewrite. This is the beauty in life: most things are volitional, and nothing is permanent.

As Maria Robinson once said, “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”

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