One of the biggest obstacles to happiness is resistance which is something we engage in by living in denial by telling ourselves lies and half truths, that enable us to continue doing and investing in people which also helps to create illusions. This means we end up resisting acceptance, resisting the truth, and resisting change because if we didn’t resist, whether it’s actively or in quietly passive ways, we’d have to see things in reality and potentially make uncomfortable decisions and more importantly take action.
When we deny and lie to ourselves, we:
Say that it’s them not us.
Claim that the reason that we continue to engage with someone or do something is for reasons that it’s not.
Focus on their problems, their lives, their everything to distract from looking closer to home at ourselves.
Continue being and doing things that in the wider scheme of things detract from us but because we’re only looking at the trees, the short-term and ‘reacting’, let us stay in our comfort zone.
Create obstacles to why we can’t be or do things out of fear and use these as reasons to remain afraid and spend more time worrying than experiencing the reality of these fears.
Claim we’re addicted to someone as our reason for continuing to engage when really that person and the situation is a distraction from experiencing other feelings and being accountable.
Act happier than we feel, so much and for so long that we lose touch with who we are, what we feel and our values – we often end up normalising bad behaviour too.
End up not knowing who we are, what we like, our dreams, hopes and ambitions.
Claim that what we want from life is to make others happy because it seems easier to do this than to put the work into making ourselves happy – we think our own happiness will happen as a by-product but end up often trying to make the wrong types of people happy.
Shoot down people who don’t say what we want to hear, get defensive sometimes even aggressive, and can end up isolating ourselves because we’re not ready to hear the truth.
Hold onto our anger, indignation, frustration for an extended period of time and keep replaying the situation, analysing them, pondering the coulda/woulda/shoulda’s and basically holding on tight to ‘it’ or ‘them’ as a security blanket.
Become people so distanced from our core selves that we become inauthentic, acting out of sync with our values, doing one thing, saying another.
There are lots of reasons why we end up effectively bullsh*tting ourselves and it all leads back into a central theme:
Even though it may only be for the short-term, we focus on the ‘payoff’ – the benefit that we think we experience from believing that whatever we are being or doing as a result of the denial/lie.
Unfortunately what we don’t look at or focus on is the ‘fallout’, which tends to have far wider reaching consequences and ends up being the negative consequences of engaging in the denial/lie.
How much we deny and lie to ourselves is very much tied into our beliefs because if we acknowledge these lies, we’re actually forced into challenging negative beliefs that we hold about love, relationships, life, and ourselves. If we do this, it doesn’t fit into our self-fulfilling prophecy – what we predict is likely to happen based on our beliefs – which means we’d be vulnerable or not get to be ‘right’ by catering to our pattern.
Denial and lies let us keep telling ourselves the ‘story’ that rolls around in our head about what we believe to be true about ourselves, people, love, life etc. We often have it all mapped out…even if it doesn’t serve us that well.
If we really want to experience real change, real self-love and loving relationship, we have to minimise the lies and have an honest conversation with ourselves so that we can get back to ‘us’.
This gives us boundaries, lets us know what feels right, wrong, good, bad, and basically treats us with love, care, trust, and respect.
I’ve seen people participate in relationships where there were clear red flags both medium and large that indicated that all is not well, but they were immersed in so many illusions that they just didn’t ‘see’ them or they saw the red flag and completely denied them.
They just decide that the problem doesn’t exist.
That the problem is less than what it is.
That if they love enough that it will cancel out the problem.
That supposed ‘good points’ about the person override the bad points.
In order to live authentically, in line with your values and with boundaries so that you can love yourself and have healthy relationships, you need to go on a Bullsh*t Diet (BS Diet).
This means minimising the amount of dishonesty in your life, especially what you have 100% control over – you. No deceiving yourself on an ongoing basis, no living in LaLa Land with a fur coat of denial and rose tinted glasses, no pretending to be and feel things that you don’t, and certainly no normalising bad behaviour. A BS Diet stops you from being a participant in unhealthy situations.
Why do I say an ‘ongoing basis’? Because there is always a certain amount of BS in life, but being on the diet means you catch yourself up and say ‘Hey – is that actually true?’
I can for instance, say that the reason why something hasn’t been done is because I’m time poor, the kids, yada yada, but actually, when I say ‘Hey – is that actually true?’, I go, ‘Well…yeah but in truth it’s mostly down to poor time management’. No it doesn’t mean that I revolutionise the wheel immediately but being on a BS Diet makes us accountable and we don’t duck out on the responsibility that we have to ourselves.
You’re far more likely to do something about a problem and actually find a solution, if you’ll acknowledge the reality of the problem in the first place.
You will get out of poor relationship and acknowledge that you’re not the solution, if you acknowledge the reality of the person, their problems, and the holes in your relationship.
You’ll get over someone if you stop trying to deny who they are, the reality of the situation and your own feelings and learn to accept even the uncomfortable truths instead of trying to control things through denial and opening yourself up to further pain.
Denial in the short-term is very useful in allowing you to process information at a level that you can handle, allowing you to aclimatise to the truth and acceptance – just like in grieving. In essence you feed yourself the truth a chunk at a time and by accepting one bit, it opens you up to accepting others as often by accepting some of the truth, it invalidates other stuff you believe to be true. If you have a healthy affinity with the truth and yourself, you won’t stay in a denial fog beyond the short-term.
Where the problems occur is if you are not working your way to the truth and have long ago established that there isn’t a great deal of truth that you can handle because it means you never get to acceptance. A lot of people have a high denial level because they are always trying to avoid feeling out their feelings. Denial and lies become a big problem if they are your lifestyle and you keep them around on a medium to long-term basis and make them your ‘truth’.
If you allow too much BS to take up your life, you will make BS decisions, end up in BS situations and basically end up out to sea without a paddle completely distanced from yourself and the truth. When you try to work your way back to the ‘shore’, you’ll struggle because you have no basis of truth and authenticity.
It’s one thing for other people to lie to you but lies have room to breed and take hold when they are given life by you. When you discover someone is being dishonest whether it’s by lying straight up or dripfeeding you the truth or by their actions not matching their words, don’t feed the dishonesty by being dishonest .
There will always be the potential for certain people around you to be dishonest but their impact is minimised if you are ‘honesty aware’ yourself with boundaries because they will not be able to wreak havoc in your life.
More importantly, you can experience how you feel, make genuine connections and forge healthy relationships if you’re prepared not to delude yourself.
Yes in the short-term it may mean discovering uncomfortable truths and feeling uncomfortable feelings, but being authentic and taking care of you on a consistent basis will yield great results in the medium to long-term.
Even if you only become gradually aware that something isn’t the truth, that means you have to adjust your vision, your assumptions and your trust levels. If you deny and lie to yourself, you’ll love, trust, respect, care, and assume blindly which means you’ll put yourself in danger.
Being on a Bullshit Diet means:
Not letting your imagination run so wild that you end up living disconnected from reality in a fantasy world.
When you let your ‘story’ take hold in your head or even verbally – you know that stuff you tell yourself to legitimise your beliefs, your actions, and your self-fulfilling prophecy – follow up with ‘Is that/this actually true?’
Not just doing stuff for kicks, for the short-term thrill, for the instant results and considering the medium to long-term consequences.
Being conscious in your actions and feelings instead of just floating around or acting like you’re helpless and someone else is in control of your wheel. This causes you to do things that are not congruent with the values and desires that you profess to have.
At the core of any emotional, mental, physical, or spiritual energy you spend burning up about a relationship that is not working in the way that you want to and may be causing you to be at best, taken advantage of, and at worst abused, you must have this as your central question:
Why, if someone is behaving in this manner are you still there putting up with it or claiming that you’ll never get over them?
If it’s about a general situation:
Why, if this situation is not working for me am I still complaining instead of doing something about it?
Basically – what’s in it for you?
If you’re honest about your choices, why you do something etc, you are a hell of a lot closer to finding a solution that you can live with, whether that’s opting out, taking measures to distance and protect yourself, or doing something to improve the situation and give you your power back. Until you eliminate or minimise the BS, it’ll feel like you’re ‘helpless’ or that it’s the fault of someone else.
Take the focus off your distractions and bring it back to you.
Your thoughts? I’ll be doing some more posts on tools and tips for getting rid of the BS.