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5.5 Lies You Need to Stop Telling Yourself

Pinocchio
There are certain things I tell myself that I know to be true.

Cats are bastards
I should so write for the Onion
Geez Emily Blunt’s lovely

Those are all undeniable facts of course, but there are other things—let’s call ’em lies—that we all tell ourselves. Things that we should just stop. Right now. Not just because they’re bullshit, but because they’re damaging bullshit.

Here we go.

1. I’m not that kind of person

I’m the least sporty guy you can imagine. Not only do my legs look slightly ridiculous in a pair of gym shorts, but if a bad man yelled at me to catch a ball or “I’d get it” I wouldn’t have a cat in hell’s chance. I’d get it right in the kisser. I’m just not that guy.

But then, there was a decade when I went to the gym 5 times a week and not only loved it but got myself a six pack to boot (now sadly MIA). And there was the time in school when I loved playing Basketball, and the time when I saw the Dallas Cowboys play the 49ers and loved it, and the time I did a marathon.

So the thought that I’m not that guy is only true until it becomes not true.

You’re not fixed in stone. You’re growing right now. Your body, your mind, your hopes, your fears, your aims, your skills, your dreams, your talents and everything else that you are is pregnant with possibility.

Blocking a path towards something amazing, fun or interesting because you don’t think you’re that kind of person is crazy like Meryl Streep only choosing to play women named “Joanna Kramer” because she doesn’t feel like she can do justice to other parts.

If it matters to you or looks interesting, forget about “what kind of person” you are. For heavens sake, just get to it.

2. Other people have all the luck

Part of me wants to be Benedict Cumberbatch.

He’s smart and funny and looks pretty bloody good in a suit. He’s insanely talented and could fill 221b Baker Street to the roof with all his cash. He just got engaged to someone completely gorgeous and it looks like he’s going to play Dr Strange in the Marvel cinematic universe (trust me, for a geek like me, that’s huge). Lucky son of a bitch.

So why the hell do I have to struggle in a small town in Kent when I could be on the red carpet with Hollywood throwing money at me? Geez. The injustice of it all.

The thought that others have all the luck and you don’t get the breaks is nasty like a really angry bear holding a shark. It’s a comparative statement; you look at your own situation then compare it with the success you perceive someone else to have, and conclude that other people get all the luck.

It’s comparing your insides with someone else’s outsides, and it’s bullshit.

So stop it.

3. I’m not attractive

While I am quite clearly, gorgeous, there are times when I look in the mirror and recoil at the misshapen figure reflected back at me. And when I flirt with someone I fancy and don’t get anything back, I wonder what it is that’s wrong with me that they didn’t immediately offer to have my babies. Maybe I should get some botox or have one of those little chin dimples put in? Screw it, I’ll have both done. My new chin dimple will have its own damn botox. Then I’ll feel irresistible.

Telling yourself you’re not attractive is self-criticism gone mad, casting imperfections as fatal flaws, when they’re the very things that make you you and make you interesting.

It’s a reflection of the thought “I’m not good enough”, just a story you tell yourself to feel more secure. This story then either drives you to:

a. become attractive by any means necessary, or
b. pre-empt rejection and possibly never try again

Route a will make you a narcissistic asshole, while route b will make you a sad loner just one-step away from crazy cat-lady. Both routes seek to make the short term much more certain and controllable.

The alternative is that you are enough and you are attractive enough.

A scary thought, because that means there’s nothing in your way.

4. I don’t have what it takes

The world is a fucking tough place, I don’t have to tell you that. Quite apart from the likes of ISIS, the financial crisis and global warming, there are all manner of problems, forces and obstacles in our way. Like other people with their damn feelings, angry bears with sharks and saturated fat. Honestly, it’s really kind of a miracle that any of us get anything done at all.

And there are those moments—quiet, introspective moments—when you tell yourself you don’t have what it takes.

In those moments you wonder if you should just stop dreaming or stop trying. You wonder if it wouldn’t be a heap easier to let life happen and forget this whole struggling thing. And then the thought enters your head that you’ll never have the kind of success you always hoped for.

I could argue that you already have what it takes (because when you decide to, you can do extraordinary things) and I could argue that you’ll never have what it takes (because you’re never finished and you’ll never succeed at everything). Having what it takes is a judgement based on fiction and emotion, so let me tell you something straight and true.

Fuck “having what it takes”; it doesn’t exist.

The only thing you need concern yourself with is doing your best in the places it counts.

That’s everything.

5. I’m a phoney

Sometimes, right before a client session, I think to myself. What if I have nothing? What if I’m just making this shit up? What if they tell me I’m full of shit and write an exposé?

You ever thought something like that? That you don’t know what you’re doing? That you’re not as good as people might think? That any second now someone’s going to see right through you and your whole “thang” (which includes things like your reputation and your value to others) will be sunk faster than a tissue-paper ark?

You know what this is, right?

It’s just the scared part of you—the part that hides behind masks and feels more comfortable playing a role than being uncomfortable being you—looking at your life and thinking, “Shitting hell, how did we get here?”.

You work hard. You’ve been through a lot. You’ve learned heaps. That’s all real. None of it’s phoney.

You’re already worthy of being seen as you really are.

5.5. I don’t belong anywhere

I get it, you feel like you don’t fit.

You see all those faces around you, all of them seeming to be getting on just fine, and you, well, you just feel different. A little awkward, like you don’t really belong, or like others are part of something you’re not. I bet they talk about you when you’re not around. They snigger at you because they know you’re not like them and stop as soon as you enter the room. And they’re probably all in on some cosmic joke where you’re the punchline.

Your head is filled with stories with you as the protagonist. Stories where you’re at the centre and all the plotlines come back to you, while everyone else is separate from you. But these are just stories, and considering the boundaries put in place by the fact that we can’t see into other peoples heads, everybody feels like they’re on the outside.

That’s why this one is just half a lie, because it’s extrapolated from a truth.

BelongSo first of all, nobody thinks about you as much as you do. Seriously, they have their own stuff going on. Then of course, we often conflate belonging with gaining approval. And let’s not forget that belonging requires letting go.

Throughout my life I’ve felt like I haven’t belonged. But I had it all wrong, which is why I had the word “Belong” tattooed on my pasty English arm last year, because it reminds me that belonging is really just anywhere I get to be myself.

Which of these lies are you ready to stop telling?


PlaybookCould you use a hand getting past the lies you keep telling yourself?

Or maybe you want to find your own truth?

The Playbook is perhaps the ultimate in truth-telling, helping you cut straight through the crap and figure out what’s what.

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Comments

  1. I really needed this. Thanks for the reminders!

  2. simontoyourgarfunkel says:

    Damn it – I love it when you write like this…like if JK Simmons or Henry Rollins were in the corner and you just took it to them. More please…more motivational, more educational… more ‘RAGE HARD’.

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