What’s Your Lie?
Don’t act like you don’t have one or that you totally incensed that I would even suggest you’re a liar. You are. I am. We all are.
Now, I’m not talking about your level of honesty or integrity when it comes to cultural norms. Yes, you probably are an honest person. If you found a wallet you would try to return it. If your best friend asked if her new pants made her butt look big, well… you’d say the right thing.
I’m talking about the lies we tell ourselves and we don’t even know it. These are the most insidious of lies. These are the lies that keep us stuck in our negative narratives of who we ‘think’ we are or who we ‘should’ be. Let me give you an example.
A few years ago a woman I know adopted a stray puppy. I asked what kind of dog she thought it was. She said it was a lab mix. About a year later I saw the lady again with her full grown dog. I didn’t have to be a vet or the Dog Whisperer to see that the ‘lab mix’ was really a ‘pit-bull mix’. A very sweet dog, but obviously a pit-bull mix. So, I made a comment about the lab becoming a pit-bull. No judgement, simply an observational comment. To which the lady replied (emphatically) , “No, it’s a lab”. I followed up with a comment about it having a lot of pit-bull in with the lab. The woman, frustrated that I couldn’t see it was a lab, picked up a book from her table, handed it to me and said, ‘Its a lab, I bought a book on labs.” It was a labrador because she bought a book on labradors – Period. End of discussion.
She wasn’t one of ‘those people‘ who owned pit-bulls. She was a person who owns labs, nice, friendly labs. And she was going to make that her truth no matter what anyone said because she has strong beliefs about the type of people who own pit-bulls.
Ok, so this is a bit of an extreme example, but we all have a ‘lab’. A lie we tell ourselves because it supports a belief we have that without this lie we would have to do the real work of seeing a part of us we might not be ready to heal, yet.
Let me give you another example that might hit closer to home.
Another woman whom I’ve known for many, many years, keeps getting thinner and thinner. She is now skinnier than in all the years I’ve known her – and she didn’t have weight to lose in the first place. She is now what I would consider to be ‘underweight’. Her clothes hang on her and she has dark circles under her eyes. A few times I’ve made a comment about how thin she is. Every time, without exception, she responds with a comment about how ‘fat‘ she is, how her weight ‘hasn’t’ changed‘, or that she ‘feels healthy’. In essence dismissing my comments as an untruth.
She will be enough, be lovable, be perfect, be, be, be…. when she is ‘skinny enough’. Or maybe she is so self-loathing that her lie is that she if she could just control her food she wouldn’t be such a loser. Or maybe her lie is that people ‘like her’ aren’t ‘fat’. The truth is I don’t know exactly what her lie is, but I do know that for someone to hold so tightly to a lie (I’m fat) when all signs point otherwise, well, …. she may as well buy a book on Labradors!
Our lies are fragile, that’s why people get defensive when you get to close to them. Our lies are the fragile foundation of beliefs that we are scared to death to let go of. Our lies hold a thought that we don’t know who we’d be without them… or even more scary… who are we with them?
What if, instead of being one of ‘those people’ who own pit-bulls, you let go of what type of person that is and just be a person who loves dogs?
What if, instead of believing that your value as a person, employee, spouse, or friend is measured by pounds on the scale, you relaxed into knowing that you are perfectly imperfect at a normal/natural weight?
Actually, it would be incredibly scary to let go of those beliefs because then we have to face the bigger scarier idea that maybe we’re not worthy of love. It’s much easier to believe that if we just work hard enough we will be able to earn the love we want. Or if we don’t own a pit-bull we must be a ‘good person’.
Believe you me – I am not immune from these lies! I have all sorts of shit I tell myself.
One of my biggest lies is that if I can’t do something 110%, be the best, be perfect, be amazing and knock it out of the park…. why even try. After all, anything less would mean failure and losers aren’t worthy of love. Need proof?
- Why just finish a marathon, when ‘real runners’ qualify for and run Boston. Check and done.
- Why just go to college, smart people get masters degrees. Check and done.
- Why just enter a beauty pageant, beautiful women win pageants. Check and done (and don’t ask about it)
- Why just start a blog on grief, real bloggers will write a book. Check and done
- Why just get married once… oh, wait, that might not be in this catagory. But, check and done it twice!
My lie is that I am only lovable if I am an over-acheiver.
And let me tell you… it’s exhausting… So, I’m doing the work and it’s hard.
Right now I’ve started training for a half marathon. I haven’t run a half marathon in over six years because I know I can’t run a sub-two hour race…. and why would anyone do that? So, my goal is to ‘finish’ a half marathon. Just holding that thought gives me anxiety!
What’s Your Lie? What’s Your Labrador?
We all have them. The lies we tell ourselves that hold these fragile beliefs. These lies that (we think) protect us, actually keep us stuck. They keep us from growing spiritually and they keep us from connecting to those who would love to have meaningful relationships with us.
There’s a lie-detector question you can ask yourself, but it requires listening to your deepest of inner-truths. It requires being vulnerable to the answer and potentially feeling ashamed of yourself for that truth. But that’s where the light comes in in my friend! When we can sit in our shit – and even more powerful, tell a friend – you are freed from the delusion of that belief. It’s magic!
So I ask you the lie-detector question…
Who would you be without that belief?
For me. I would be someone who engaged in a lot more things. I would do things ‘just for fun’, not for performance or recognition. I wouldn’t be scared of outcomes if I knew I’d done my best.
Now it’s your turn. Start looking for those ‘lies’. The beliefs that you hold on tightly to.
You are too amazing to hide behind your lies. And, if you are ready to grow into the peaceful, powerful, purposeful person I know you can be, this is a great place to start! Good Luck!