The Art Of Self-deception

The art of self-deception

We perfect the art of self-deception in situations in which we lie to ourselves. It is our minds that are playing tricks on us here. We commit self-deception when we convince ourselves that something is true even though it is not. We do this unconsciously.

The difference between lying and self-deception is that when the person is lying, they are aware that they are not telling the truth. People who deceive themselves, on the other hand, unconsciously convince themselves that the lie corresponds to the truth. In other words, D ie even fraudulent person does not realize what it does, or at least it does not recognize it forever. And therein lies the power of self-deception. As long as we do not recognize it, self-deception will work in its own quiet, disguised way.

There are different types of self-deception and some are more common than others. In addition, each of them has different psychological effects. We are going to explain the four most common types of self-deception and their psychological consequences.

1. The functional self-deception

We observe functional self-deception in situations where a person lies and tries to convince himself that his or her decision is correct. The best-known example of functional self-deception can be found in the fable The Fox and the Grapes .

In this fable, the fox, distinguished by his cunning, is drawn to a large number of juicy grapes. He tries to reach her by jumping up repeatedly. After a few unsuccessful attempts, the fox gives up and justifies his decision with self-deception. He convinces himself that he no longer wants the grapes because they weren’t ripe anyway.

The self-deception described in the fable is called functional self-deception. He fulfills a very clear function : lying to himself helps the fox because it saves him the anger that arises in him from the failure of not having reached these grapes.

Woman holding a cloud in her hands

The problems of functional self-deception

The mentioned psychological effect is achieved because the person chooses to turn a truth into a lie that soothes them. So in the short run, functional self-deception can serve a purpose, but in the long run it is neither positive nor otherwise beneficial.

According to the psychologist Giorgio Nardone, any good intention, if uttered too often, turns into something negative. D ie person using the functional self-deception, not to the challenge and stays in their comfort zone. Instead of trying to keep trying to achieve her goal and gain the skills she needs, she lies to herself. She convinces herself that what she wanted isn’t all that important after all, or that it isn’t worth all the effort it takes to get there.

“Lying is a language game that needs to be learned like any other.”

Ludwig Wittgenstein

2. Value and Faith

The self-deception called “value and belief” arises from the need to end a conflict of desires. This type of self-deception is based on the idea that what costs a lot of money, time, or effort is automatically worth more than what is easier to get. For example, we value it more to belong to a group that has made it difficult for us to join the social network than to belong to the group that does not deny entry to anyone.

In situations where a person is working hard to achieve a goal , they selectively focus their attention on anything that confirms that the goal is worth all the effort. In the end, she believes that the goal is sufficiently desirable to justify the investment she has put into it. Otherwise, they would strain the conflicts of desire that we mentioned in the section above.

Where does this art of self-deception come from?

Because we stress ourselves psychologically dissonances between our cognitive system (perception, thoughts and ideas) and our behavior , we like to choose this type of self-deception in order to solve it.

The psychological consequences are that the person struggles to achieve a goal that may not fit into their system of principles and values. It is a self-deception that has an expiration date because its effects do not last long. In the long run, people tend to become aware of the fraud and disappointment spreads.

3. Comforting self-deception

The comforting self-deception is the cleverest of all, and is very often seen in jealous people. Comforting lies are placed in situations where the person blames someone else for their situation so that they can feel sorry for themselves.

The following thought should be mentioned as an example of comforting self-deception: “I am a very jealous person because my partner gives me a reason for it.”

Head of a man into which people look

In this way, comforting self-deception protects our self-esteem and ego. He makes us believe that nothing is our fault and that we are always the victim. In some ways this is positive as in many situations we are not 100% responsible for the circumstances in which we find ourselves. However, we must be careful not to oppose the changes that cannot be avoided too much.

The pitfalls of comforting self-deception

The comforting self-deception protects us. But it keeps us from growing. It keeps us from facing the problems that make us feel bad and leaves us believing that they are impossible to overcome.

4. Lie to others to convince yourself

One of the most subtle ways to deceive yourself is to lie to others and thereby also lie to yourself. It is characterized by situations in which someone conveys distorted stories, situations and views. At first he is aware of his distortion of the truth, but bit by bit he is absorbed in his story and its characters. Until he doubts the truth himself.

“Anyone who tells a lie is not aware of the great task he is taking on. To keep up this lie, he will be forced to invent twenty new ones. “

Alexander Pope

When this strategy is repeated several times, the lie becomes the truth – even for those who created it. One possible explanation for this phenomenon is that the brain adapts to dishonesty so that the lie can be lived as a reality. It’s like the person has forgotten that they just made it up. Even in the light of clear evidence, man manages to continue to deny reality, not because of a lack of honesty but because of self-deception.

Nobody is immune to this type of fraud. The art of self-deception is a very interesting phenomenon, and up to a point it is perfectly normal. Getting rid of your own lies takes a lot of reflection. Seeing yourself and understanding your own values, ideals and desires is the first step to protect yourself from self-deception and to orient yourself towards goals that you really want to achieve.

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