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The Lies We Tell Ourselves (and How to Fix Them)

November 14, 2013
David studio

10 Years Later…

When I was a musician, I always thought it interesting that people thought they knew who I was based upon limited experiences with me. For example, they’d see me on stage, or promoting myself, and assume I was an extrovert, that I loved performing live, or that I had a stereotypical “musician lifestyle” of women and drugs, because that’s the image that the music business portrays and it only took at little bit for people to fill in the blanks on that.

There is who you are and who people think you are. For me, this was a good excuse to hide. If what people think about you is an illusion anyway, why not?

This worked great for several years. Ultimately though, the cracks started to show and the illusion was too much to keep going.

Gay Man with 7 Kids

I once did business with a guy I assumed to be gay. Everybody thought he was gay. All the stereotypes were there — love of dance, sharp dresser, etc.

So we filled in the blanks…

I went to his office for a meeting once and there were photos of kids everywhere. And, because I thought he was gay, I asked, “Are those your nieces and nephews?”

“No, they’re my kids.”

My jaw dropped. So much for gaydar…

What I Was Right About

It turns out I was right. He made it official about 15 years later when he finally came out of the closet.

And good for him! It’s painful to hold back your true identity and pretend to be somebody you’re not.

But was he really holding back?

“Maybe He Was The Only One Who Didn’t Know.”

Is this possible?

We’ve all seen people hiding behind something, like a conservative radio host who is secretly gay or a “pro-life values” Republican who paid for his wife to have two abortions. Lots of people, maybe even the majority of people, don’t practice what they preach.

Forget about “them” though, let’s talk about you (and me).

The Lies We Tell Ourselves (and How to Fix Them)

When I looked back on my newspaper interview from 2002, I saw a lot of things that didn’t resonate with who I am (and probably who I was), but when I gave the interview I would have argued until my last breath that it was 100% authentic.

Self-deception is a bitch. It doesn’t just involve one thing — it involves several things that cover for each other and intertwine. And to make things worse, we don’t know when it’s happening.

But given some time, we can often see that it happened. And hopefully, you’ll be able to look at things you’ve done in the past and see where self-deception got you off course. Or you have a trusted advisor (or group of advisors, like a mastermind) who can help shine light on where you might be going wrong now. You’re going to eventually find out anyway, so it might as well be sooner than later.

Are you deceiving yourself? Do you have any of these five limiting beliefs?

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