5 Lies We Like to Believe

· March 31, 2017

As terrible as they may be, lies never stop having an attractive and seductive quality about them. While many truths hit us with a directness that disappoints us, the exact opposite happens when many lies: they give us hope – the word “hope” has a lot to do with disappointment – and they even motivate us.

Not all have those characteristics, but many do. These are the lies that we tell ourselves or that others tell us that and that we like to believe in because they fit our desires better, or they allow us to see the world in a way that is better adjusted to what we are hoping from it.

He who tells a lie is not sensible of how great a task he undertakes; for he must be forced to invent twenty more to maintain that one.

–Alexander Pope–

It is not without reason that one of the kings of lies, Adolf Hitler, said that “The bigger the lie, the more people who will believe in it.” In fact, we often know that something is not true, and yet we make an effort to support its truth, even after it has been proven to be false. As an example, we present you with a list of 5 of those lies that we like to believe.

1. One of the most classic lies: if you explode with anger, you will feel better

This is a very widespread idea. It is said that feeling anger is venomous for us and that the best way to avoid this happening is to let your anger out. Supposedly, as soon as you have yelled, shattered a fragile object against the wall, and voiced everything that is going through your head at that moment, without fail, you will feel great relief and be at peace.


Man Wrapped in Roots

This is absolutely false. Anger is addictive and manifesting it without control leads you into a circle that feeds it. This means that if you do not learn to control your anger, you will be more and more likely to feel it, which will then lead to the exercise of self control being even harder for you. It may start with yelling, but over time, it leads to a person ending up in the hospital. Anger is relieved through relaxation, not through uncontrolled explosions.

2. Healthy self-esteem does not guarantee success

Self-esteem is a concept that has earned great recognition in recent years. It is true that those who have a good opinion of themselves suffer less in social situations and waste less of their energy on useless anxiety.

However, having healthy self-esteem does not automatically lead to success, nor does having weak or inflated self-esteem necessarily lead to failure. History is full of great men and women who always doubted themselves and yet they made important contributions. It is possible for healthy self-esteem to predispose us to greater adaptability and, as a result, to a lower interest in asking large questions or having great worries, but it’s never a sure sign nor a sufficient condition.

3. “S/he was” or “S/he wasn’t” “the love of my life”

The “love of my life” is another one of those myths that everyone wants to believe. It is one of those lies that comforts us or contributes to a hopeful vision of the romantic world. It is wrong to say that there is one love that perfectly fulfills and that is for that very reason “the love of your life.”

Man's Face

Every choice we make implies a series of rejections. If you choose one profession, you are putting aside many other jobs that maybe you could have been talented in. If you choose one partner forever, you are rejecting many other people that you could have been just as happy, or maybe even happier, with.

We can say that every love is imperfect. One love may cover what another one does not, but it will also reveal other things that the other love was better with.

4. You can achieve anything you set out to do

The reality of life is that we do not always achieve what we set out to do, even if we put great effort into it or we dedicate the greatest part of our time to attaining it. We can want it with all our heart and soul and work restlessly on it, but we will not always obtain it.

Sometimes we set our goals in an inappropriate way. We set our sights on objectives that are basically impossible to achieve. We cannot and we will not be able to go back in time, even if we want to. Reality dictates that we cannot earn an Olympic medal in gymnastics if we have already reached a certain age and never practiced it.

Assuming that there are challenges that will be too big for us does not imply that there are other difficult and hopeful ones that we can’t achieve and, above all else, enjoy with enough effort.

5. Everything happens for a reason

For a rational society, it is difficult to accept that there are questions that do not have an answer or realities that cannot be given an exact cause. Saying that “everything happens for a reason” is one of the most popular lies we tell ourselves, because it gives us a sensation that reality is logic in and of itself. All of it is controllable.

Woman Leaning Forward

The truth is that the reason for things or the meaning of things is something that each one of us determines or that stops being determined as a function of our feelings and beliefs. Nothing has a reason for being in and of itself, but rather, people and cultures design causes or explanations for the facts of life in accordance with what they desire or with the principles that they put their faith in.

Images courtesy of Helene del Maire and Henrietta Harris