Self Deception

“At the core we lie to ourselves because we don’t have enough psychological strength to admit the truth and deal with the consequences that will follow. That said, understanding our self deception is the most effective way to live a fulfilling life. For when we admit who we really are, we have the opportunity to change.” -Cortney Warren

Cortney has an interesting Ted Talk that I’ve copied below. It’s about 13 minutes in length. The title is Honest Liars-the Psychology of Self Deception. 


Her plea is simple: “Be more honest liars. Choose to become more honest about the lies you tell yourself. Use the truth to live the most fulfilling life for you, because you’ve only got one.”


We all employ self deception on a regular basis. Psychological defense mechanisms, such as rationalization, denial and projection are there, according to Freud, to guard our ego from information that would hurt us. Infidelity is wrought with all sorts of self deception and psychological defense mechanisms. Cheating 101: cast your spouse as being absolutely horrible to justify the affair. “We don’t have sex enough.” “He doesn’t make enough money.” “She’s let herself go.”

On the flip side we have the faithful spouse. “I’m not loving him enough. I’ll do the love dare.” “She would never cheat on me. Who does this person think they are, writing me a letter saying my wife is cheating on me and I’m ignoring the signs all around me?”


Self deception applies to everyone. Both spouses can contribute dysfunction and function to a marriage. Cheating is 100% on the cheater. They need to figure out the lies they’re telling themselves in order to justify the affair(s). The faithful spouse needs to fix their picker, as Chump Lady refers to it as, and that is 100% on them.  Why were the signs ignored? How did we contribute our own dysfunction or function? The end result is each party does the heavy lifting to look in a mirror, clean out the skeletons in the closet and make the choice to change.


“Self deception leads to massive amounts of pain and regrets. To avoid being honest we frequently make choices with harmful consequences to ourselves and others. Or we may choose not to change, even when we’re miserable, we’re causing profound harm to those around us. When we don’t take full responsibility for who we are, we hurt ourselves and everyone around us. As we become more honest and aware we also become more responsible for our choices. Work on our insecurity or not? Whatever we decide we are now more responsible for the consequences because we know better.”


Façades don’t last. The shack gets torn down. The script gets burned. The only way to have a fulfilling life is to be honest with who we are.