Saturday, October 29, 2016

Quit Lying to Yourself

I don't know if you noticed, but I began my previous post by admitting that the headline about doing a "5-day water fast" was a slight exaggeration. The truth is that I only went 4 days and 13 hours until I broke my fast.

Why would I start a blog post in such a way?

It's not very catchy. It doesn't pull the reader in. It certainly doesn't generate more eyeballs or clicks or likes or shares.

I did it because it's the truth and because little lies can build on themselves, even if only within our own minds. Lying to ourselves changes our perception of the world, tiny little bit by tiny little bit, causing us to see and experience things differently than the people around us who we think are having the same experience.
photo from Valley News Live who has a good article on this

Last week a study came out whose results were shared by The Guardian, The Daily Mail, ABC News and FOX News (amongst many others). The study finds that:
   'When we lie for personal gain, our amygdala produces a negative feeling that limits the extent to which we are prepared to lie,' explains senior author Dr Tali Sharot from UCL's Experimental Psychology division.'However, this response fades as we continue to lie, and the more it falls the bigger our lies become. 'This may lead to a 'slippery slope' where small acts of dishonesty escalate into more significant lies.'
Read more: 
Once again science is proving what wise humans have known for generations. From The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevski
The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to such a pass that he cannot distinguish the truth within him.
Telling small lies, whether to ourself or to other people, desensitizes us to telling bigger lies. As we are seeing right now, politicians tend to be great examples of people who can tell a lie with a straight face and totally believe it themselves. They could probably even pass a polygraph test. Why? They've been doing it all their lives. It's who they are.


  1. to stroke our ego
  2. fear of the truth
  3. anxiety
  4. to avoid responsibility
  5. to cut corners
  6. etc.

I began learning about this a few years ago when I read Practicing Radical Honesty by Dr. Brad Blanton. The book goes into far greater detail about all of this -- lying, honesty, culture, brain science, happiness, ego, etc. I'll let you explore more if you're interested.

As for me, I want to be the most authentic, caring, curious Kirk Ahlberg I can possibly be. And how can I achieve that if I'm lying to myself?


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