*** I’m putting a disclaimer here, as I probably should with most of what I write. It would be easy to challenge that my premise doesn’t cover every single aspect of life. So here goes… disclaimer…. my premise doesn’t cover every single aspect of life. I know there are situations people are not to blame for. This is just one person’s opinion for what I think covers a wide swath. I understand there are exceptions.
Sometimes, it’s hard to be honest with someone. Maybe you don’t want to hurt them, or you don’t like confrontation, or you’re embarrassed, but whatever the reason, it can be difficult to be honest with others at times. And if you’re good enough, sometimes, you can get away with that lack of complete honesty.
However, by far, the most difficult person to be completely honest with, is you. Lying to yourself is easy. And if you want to believe it bad enough, you will. It can even become second nature.
Self-deception happens because you don’t want to believe certain things about yourself. You do something inconsiderate, ...
and spend the rest of the day rationalizing why it was the right thing to do. You get fired and convince yourself your boss had it in for you. Or your significant other left you, not because you were too messy, but because they were too neat. Not because you were too clingy, but because they were too distant. You tell yourself these things because you need to believe them.
You know all your own weaknesses. You've spent a lifetime working up good rationalizations for them. It's a self defense mechanism, because if you're constantly reminding yourself of all your poor choices, your self-esteem will disintegrate and you’ll never get anything accomplished.
But this self-rationalization, this "blocking" of the things we don't want to see within ourselves, can be habit forming. It can be easier to block out what we don't like then trying to change it.
So we eat poorly and tell ourselves we're under a lot of stress. We don't exercise and blame it on a malady. We have snags in a relationship and rationalize how we're right, and they’re wrong. We don't save any money and blame it on the bills while we rationalize the things we buy that we don't need. We don't get enough done at work and blame it on too many things to do.
And there’s no one there to call you on the lie, because you don’t want to.
But this also leads to great unhappiness and frustration. Since you convince yourself very little is actually your own fault, you also convince yourself you have very little control over your own life, a cloud is following you, you have terrible luck, fate is against you and life is unfair.
What a difficult way to go through life.
Instead, we need to learn to be honest with ourselves. You can't progress, and you can't take control of your life, if you can't be honest with yourself, and really understand where it’s going wrong.
Once a person learns to recognize his or her role in how their life is playing out, their chances of finding center, of being happier, more satisfied and more content, expand by multiples.
Think about it. If everything is your fault, than you have the ability to change everything you want about your life. And even if you decide not to, the knowledge that you could, takes a huge weight off your shoulders. You’ll know you’re not unlucky, fate isn’t against you, and that you do have control over your life.
If we're gaining weight, we need to be honest and examine why. Maybe we're eating too much junk food. Maybe the stress we’re under is part of the problem, but maybe we’re also using the stress as a rationale for completely losing our discipline. At least be honest and admit it. If we don't exercise, don't blame it on lack of time. We know how many minutes each day we slack off. There's time. We just don't make time. Relationship problems? Take a look from the other person's perspective. We're probably as much at fault as they are. Money Problems? Admit you waste money. The bills may be large, but admit you helped some of them get that way. Recognize what's wrong so you can fix it. Look at your job. Do you really work like a slave? Or have distractions crept into your work day? Admit it if they have. It gives you control.
Recognition of one’s own culpability is a key element in finding contentment.
When a negative happens in someone’s life, all too often, he or she will look outward to place blame. That’s when the “Why me?”, or “What did I do to deserve this?” thoughts come. This perspective only serves to perpetuate the thought that you don’t have control of your life, and negative things happen to you undeservedly. You feel unlucky, frustrated, with no recourse.
On the other hand, if you could honestly dig down, and find the root cause of the problem, very often, you’d find it had something to do with a choice you made, or an action you took, at some point in the recent, or even distant past. The ripples of consequence can travel for years, or even a lifetime after a choice has been made.
And once you recognize your own role in these occurrences, you no longer have to ask questions like, “Why me?”. The feeling of fate being against you disappears. Once you recognize the role you play in your life, you realize you have more control than previously thought, and life may not be as unfair as it once seemed.
It's a "free will" society to a very large extent. We each make our own decisions that affect ourselves, including how we react to things that we do not have control over. Recognize that you made many of the decisions that led you down paths you don't enjoy.
You have to recognize the problem to heal it. You have to be honest with yourself so you can begin to address where you need to start fixing things. You don't have to fix them all at once. Tiny steps are better than none.
Be aware that being honest with yourself is really difficult, but also one of the most beneficial skills you can develop.
When those feelings of lack of control, lack of luck, and feeling put upon go away, they’re replaced by feelings of empowerment. You do have control. Even if you continue to make the same choices, you’ll know that life doesn’t hate you, and fate isn’t against you. You’re no longer the unlucky one. And your life, is in your own hands.
David S. Chorney
This is where I'm supposed to write something about myself. I still have some hair left. I am still undecided which I like better, photography or painting. My four major food group are seafood, melted cheese, pasta, and Advil. I love the hunt of a finished piece of art. All quotes, essays, stories, and any other written piece on this website, are original and written by yours truly, unless otherwise noted.