- I am the best web developer in Oklahoma.
- I am an amazing writer, and someday the world will know it.
- If I'd wanted to, I could've been a rock star - my music is JUST. THAT. GOOD.
It's really easy for me to lie to myself, especially when the lie is something that I really want to believe is true. You probably already know that those three statements about myself are lies (no cruel jokes, please!), but what about these next three?
- I spend way too much time working - I need to establish a better work/life balance for myself.
- I don't know why, but I judge everyone around me.
- I have no personal style, and I hate it.
Are those honest assessments of myself, or are they lies?
There seems to be this perception that lies are always sins of inflation - puffing ourselves up to appear better than we actually are - but I think that, just as often, the opposite is true. I know that I frequently tell myself things like "Randy, you suck at this..." or "Geez, why didn't you do that? You're so stupid."
But these lies of deflation - making ourselves feel or seem worse than we actually are - cause every bit as much damage as lies of inflation.
Why do we do this to ourselves?
Ever since I was old enough to listen, I was told that pride was a bad thing. I'm sure you've heard the sayings, like this one:
Pride goes before a fall.
To an extent, the sayings are true. But there is a such thing as a healthy sense of pride.
As a kid, I'd always believed that all pride was bad until I was preparing for the 4th grade spelling bee. Every year, each class took a special spelling test, and the best speller from each grade would go on to the regional spelling bee. My classmate Andrew had gone to regionals every year since kindergarten, but things were going to be different this year.
I was determined to go to regionals. I studied the lists, made flash cards, quizzed myself, and drove my parents crazy by spelling everything in sight. When the time came for our class's test, I was ready.
After my teacher had graded all of the tests, she pulled me aside to tell me that I'd won. I'd had a perfect score. I was ecstatic.
But in spite of my elation, I tried to suppress my smile. "Pride goes before a fall," I told myself.
Seeing my inner struggle, my teacher told me something that I've never forgotten.
It's okay to smile, Randy. You've worked hard for this. You should be proud.
Pride is inextricably tied to self-worth. When I was in high school, a close friend of mine was struggling with severe depression. As he worked through his demons, he helped me realize that living a life completely devoid of pride is the same as living a life of loneliness, depression, and fear.
This year, more than 2 million teenagers will try to kill themselves. While there are tons of reasons for this, I think that it's time we discuss the idea that we, as a society, have contributed to this issue by telling them over-and-over-again that pride is bad. If we truly valued honesty - the good, the bad, and the ugly - then they wouldn't be looking to Instagram and Facebook to validate their self-worth.
I think it's time that we be honest with ourselves. I'm tired of lying to myself.
If I continue lying to myself, how can I ever value myself? How can I grow?
I am going to embrace my strengths, and I am going to improve my weaknesses. But that's not enough to make an impact on society. I need you to join me on this journey.
If you've read this far, then I hope that something in this message is resonating with you. In the comments section below, list 5 insights about yourself. Be positive, be negative, but above all, be honest.
I know that you probably want to just close this window and go back to browsing Facebook, but please take a stand with me. This step is so easy - you can sign in with Facebook, Twitter, or even Google. Don't wait until later - let's begin creating a world where it's okay to be the people that we truly are.