Yes, it is possible for someone to deceive themselves, and this phenomenon is known as self-deception. Self-deception occurs when individuals deceive or lie to themselves or hold on to beliefs, thoughts or ideas that are not in line with the business at hand. There are several ways this transpires.
Here are some of the prominent ways individuals engage in self-deception:
Self-deception is a complex psychological process, and it can be difficult for individuals to recognize when they are deceiving themselves. It usually originates from on an unconscious level, and people may genuinely believe the false information they are telling themselves. However, understanding the mechanisms of self-deception can assist individuals to become more aware of their biases and potentially work toward a more accurate understanding of themselves and the world.
- Denial: Individuals might refuse to acknowledge certain uncomfortable truths or realities about themselves or their circumstances. This denial can be a defense mechanism to protect themselves from emotional pain or cognitive dissonance.
- Confirmation bias: This is a cognitive bias where people seek out information or interpretations that confirm their existing beliefs and avoid or dismiss information that challenges those beliefs. In doing so, they reinforce their self-deception.
- Wishful thinking: People may deceive themselves by clinging to beliefs that align with their desires or hopes, rather than accepting objective evidence or reality.
- Overconfidence: Individuals might overestimate their abilities or the accuracy of their judgments, leading them to believe something that is not true.
- Selective memory: People may conveniently forget or distort past events or experiences to support their self-constructed narratives.
- Cognitive dissonance: When confronted with conflicting beliefs or evidence, individuals may adjust their beliefs or perceptions to reduce the discomfort caused by this inconsistency.
- Minimization: Downplaying the significance of a situation or minimizing its impact on oneself. This helps maintain a positive self-image and reduces feelings of guilt or responsibility.
- Projection: Individuals attribute their undesirable thoughts, feelings, or actions to others, projecting their issues onto someone else. This can be a way to avoid facing personal shortcomings.
- False Consensus Effect: Assuming that others share the same beliefs or behaviors as oneself, even when evidence suggests otherwise. so, what is the harm?
- Self-handicapping: Preemptively creating excuses or obstacles for potential failures, so if things don’t go well, the individual can blame external factors rather than face their own shortcomings.
Deceiving yourself or lying about one’s beliefs, thoughts, feelings and behavior is analogous to being your own enemy.
How To Eliminate Self-Deception::
1. The first step to change a self-deceptive behavior/self-talk is to acknowledge it. Acknowledging one’s beliefs, thoughts, ideas and feelings isn’t a condemnation. It is an opportunity to improve your life.
2. Step two: Decide to observe your self-talk and conversations with others.
3. Step three: When you notice you used a self-defeating statement. Stop! and rephrase your self-talk or statement to another.
Continue to practice changing your self-defeating self-talk or statements, until you notice that you seldom say it or have stopped using it. If you have others to revise, use the same strategy for each way you are defeating yourself.
Life is a process from conception to transition. Live it well.
Self-deception is a common human tendency, and everyone engages in it to some extent. It can be challenging to recognize these patterns in oneself, as they often operate at a subconscious level. However, self-awareness and a willingness to confront uncomfortable truths are essential steps toward personal growth and breaking free from self-deception.
Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, Ph.D., Metaphysician – Certified Hypnosis and Transformation Hypnosis Practitioner, International Best Selling Author, and Speaker. Dr. Dorothy facilitates creating healthy empowered life styles. All diagnosis from A to Z. She brings awareness to concepts not typically obvious to one’s thoughts and feelings. You can live the life you desire. Published: July 20, 2023