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The destructive power of self delusion

Lying to ourselves always leads to disaster. Working out what's true and what's false isn't easy. It's a skill that we've to learn and practice all the time. This is hard work. Many people prefer their fantasies. Moreover, when it's painful to accept the truth you're facing, lying to yourself can seem the easiest option.

Men who habitually lie to themselves tend to prefer lies that relieve them of responsibility, while women often prefer the kind of lie that leads to guilt.

When we lie to ourselves, we are holding two contradictory ideas. Neuroscientists have shown that the ideas we hold in our mind, either consciously or unconsciously, are represented in our brain by certain connections between the neurons. They've yet to discover the pattern of neurons that forms when we try to hide a truth that we know behind a denial of that truth, but when, eventually, they know what this is, it's sure to be some kind of neurological snarl-up.

The toll of such as snarl-up are shown in the way that we behave when we lie to ourselves. When lying to ourselves becomes a habit, we get into a tangle. We don't know when we're actually lying to others because we've told ourselves that we're always truthful. Other people, knowing or sensing that we're lying, regard us as insincere. They cease to trust us.

Without making the effort to remember truthfully, we lose the ability to remember accurately. We lose track of our own life story. When we do this, we lose touch with who we really are.

Worst of all, our buried truth do not disappear. They break through, if not in words, in actions. We find ourselves doing certain things and not understanding why we're behaving like this.

We hate ourselves for destroying those things that matter most to us, but we find that we can't control what we're doing. No matter what lies you tell to others, always tell yourself the truth. - The Times

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