TED Conversations

Timothy Campbell

Mammal,

This conversation is closed.

Do You Ever Lie to Yourself?

Some people have told me that it is impossible to lie to one's self because according to their definition a lie is a conscious act and we cannot simultaneously know and NOT know something. Fair enough, but let us consider those self-deceptions we sneak under our own radar.

Have you ever lied to yourself? If so, how long did it take to catch the lie? What motivated the lie in the first place? What motivated the discovery of the lie?

If we can indeed lie to ourselves, what does this say about us? If one part of us is deceiving another then can either part be considered the true self?

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Sep 7 2011: Yes, I did it almost everyday.

    I think it's influenced by circumstance.
    I have a self-image that I want to, but the all surroundings brings me another way.
    So, I always say "It's all right, no problem, I'm in right way,or I am happy man"
    but It's a lie.
    Honestly, I am almost always anxious to everything.
    And when I sense to this anxiety, my heart is beating very fast..

    I apologize for my poor English.
    I am Korean and I'm not good at English.
    It's very hard work for me that explain my opinion in English. T-T
    • Comment deleted

      • thumb
        Sep 8 2011: Dear Birdia.

        Thanks for your worry about me.
        But I'm not in terrible condition..
        I am normal person, I think.
        My expression was so poor.
        Sorry about that, but thanks again your worry about me.
      • thumb
        Sep 9 2011: Dear Birdia.

        Thanks for your opinion.
        I agreed with your thinking about how to live well and be happy.
        I really think that as same as you.
        And I think if when I counsel to other people,maybe I will advice in same way.
        But I think it's quite difficult to find out what makes me happy and to do the right thing.

        Nowadays, I'm seeking employment..But I don't know what exactly I want to.
        There's so many factor's to think about. For instance, payment, future, my family's condition, etc..
        I can't decide to what is right choice.
        I major in law in university..but I think it is not to fit my aptitude.
        And in Korea, my country, unemployment problem is very serious, I think.
        There's few company that want law degree, very few.
        And payment is very important problem for me because my family's situations are quite bad.
        And I think my aptitude is IT area, but there's no time to preperate to this.
        And what is my aptitude problem is very difficult and life-long stuff.
        So I mean I will get a job in some areas, but I wonder that will be my best choice.

        In addtion, I have a girlfriend, possibly going to marry.
        I love her but sometimes I am confused about her.
        I mean, sometimes her think or opinion are so different from me in important fields I think.
        I think she has some obsession to something..
        Her parents had divorced when she was young,
        maybe that incident has influenced to her,I think.
        So sometimes I afraid to my future with her. Maybe I might can't tolerate her in future.
        But generally, she is kind and beautiful for me.

        Marriage is very important especially in East, in Korea ,divorce is evil thing,
        so I worried about it, some seriously.

        I am trying to get a job diligently, and trying to get along with my girlfriend.
        But it's not easy to find right way.

        But I am normal person likewise you.
        I think the other peoples are have some similar worrys that I have.

        That's my opinion, but I wonder it conveys to you.

        Again, sorry about my poor English and rough expression.
        • thumb
          Sep 10 2011: Hi JangI fully support Birdia what she posted above. Neither being coach or mentor just as fellow human being like suggest to do that.

          Another point to consider , don't try to control everything in life. No one can do that, ignore uncotrollable things of life and focus only what you can control. Do what you love to do. May be you are trying already , try more of those.

          Life is beautiful but that doesn't mean it's a bed of roses. Challenges and happiness in life makes it beautiful. Enjoy your all happy moments how big or small it si doesn't matter, try to find more and more happy moments, face challenges with a intention that you can't influence everything so focus what you can.
    • thumb
      Sep 7 2011: You explained your opinion very well, Jang hun.

      I think it is common for people to lie to themselves to preserve their self-image — their picture of what they are (or usually are). For example, if somebody thinks they are "a good person" and they are tempted to do something bad, they might come up with all kinds of excuses that lets them do it. But none of those excuses will challenge their belief that they are "a good person". It might sound like one of these:

      "Yes, I insulted my friend, but I needed to show her how much she had insulted ME."
      "Yes, I stole that chocolate bar from the store, but that store charges too much."
      "Yes, I punched that man in the face, but he needed to be taught a lesson."

      Imagine how the world would be different if we could avoid this kind of self-deception.
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Sep 8 2011: You may be right, though I can't tell because of the partial language barrier.

          I agree that if somebody has anxiety problems that distraction is not the answer. I speak from experience!
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Sep 8 2011: (1) Jang hun said that his English was poor. It's MUCH better than my Korean, which is limited to the word "Kimchi". In any case, since he is having some trouble with English it's possible I misunderstood him.

          (2) I have suffered from panic disorder for most of my life. It is no longer the crippling problem it was a few decades ago, but even now it occasionally causes difficulties.
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Sep 9 2011: When panic disorder triggers, it overrides almost everything else in one's awareness. To illustrate: would you be thinking about your plans for tomorrow if you were being chased by a tiger?

          Even when the disorder is not fully active there is the fear that the tiger might show up at any moment. This secondary fear cripples the sufferer. Some people end up living a life of isolation and terror. Learning to cope with that fear meant that I was able to once again live a normal life.

          How did I learn to cope? By studying and disarming the cognitive distortions, gradual desensitization, and getting on with life even when it sucked. Oh, and I took up drinking for about 10 years!

          Drinking eventually became as bad a problem as the panic disorder. After I quit that I discovered that having some benzodiazaepenes handy helped. And I do mean having them "handy". Taking them too often could have led to addiction, but merely the knowledge that they were there (and could de-fang the tiger) made them quite effective even while in the bottle!

          Now, after some 32 years of suffering, the disorder is merely a mild inconvenience. I don't have to carry the pills with me when I go out. Still, I do not know if it'll ever go away altogether. Probably it will be with me as long as I have a working hippocampus.
      • thumb
        Sep 8 2011: Dear Timothy!

        You're comment is exactly accord with my opinion!
        That's what i mean.
        You explained my rough idea very well! Thanks! :)

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.