People Lie / Common Lies

According to Gregory House, MD, on many occassions… “People lie.”

The Lies We Tell Ourselves

Dr Albert Ellis documented the most common lies that we tell ourselves:

1. I must have the love and approval of others. I must avoid disapproval at all costs.

2. I must be perfect, a success in all that I do. I must not make any mistakes.

3. People must always do the right thing. When they do not, they must be punished.

4. Things must be the way that I want them to be – otherwise life will be intolerable.

5. My happiness (or unhappiness) is caused by external events. I have no control over my happiness (or unhappiness).

6. I must worry about things that might be dangerous, unpleasant or frightening – otherwise they might happen.

7. I will be happier if I can avoid life’s difficulties, unpleasantness or responsibilities.

8. I am weak and need to depend on those who are stronger than I am.

9. Events in the past have strongly influenced me – and they must continue to do so.

10. I must be upset when others have problems. I must become sad when others are unhappy.

11. I should not have to feel discomfort or pain. I must avoid them at all costs.

12. There is one right and perfect solution to any problem (usually mine). It is a tragedy when it is not found.


If only lies were benign – but they never are. They invade every fibre of our being, making it increasing difficult for us to see the good in ourselves. And as I have asserted before, we cannot build on muck. Nor can we build on a false bottom. We need the concrete truth.

So what are the lies you are telling yourself right now. I will share with you four lies I hear people tell themselves. It’s like everyone got invited to the same pity party. But I’ll also share with you one truth that needs to be addressed – meaning, it ain’t no lie.

Four Destructive and Common Lies

1. I have to make everyone happy.

WRONG! You cannot make everyone happy. Even God cannot make everyone happy – half the people are praying for rain and half are praying for sun. Can you imagine how God must be shaking his head at football games when both teams are praying for a victory?

A GENTLER RESPONSE: Think before you speak or act. Is this in agreement with those things you know to be good, true and beautiful? We cannot achieve a personal or social vicotry in every situation of wrong-doing, but we can have a moral victory by asserting what we know to be true and acting on it.

2. I’ll never find a way out of this.

NYET! You found a way into it, and it took a long time.

A GENTLER RESPONSE: With help, you can slowly crawl back out of this. If you take one small step a day and enlist the help of others, you can do this. But you need to start right now. An exercise on goal setting and achieving is available on this website.

3. Why do bad things always happen to me?

UNTRUE! Yes, bad things have happened to you – but you are taking steps to ensure (to the best of your ability) that your “luck” is changing.

A GENTLER RESPONSE: Why do you think bad things shouldn’t happen to you? This is the price of admission to the “I’m a human being” club. I grant you that much of what passes for back luck is injustice at some level and that for the poorest of the poor, there may not be cause for hope in their lifetimes. But if you have access to a computer and the time to read this, you are not one of them. And while I don’t wish “bad” on anyone, I do know the bad can be redeemed – can be used to make your own life that that of others, better. 4. People p*ss me off. I have a hard time getting along with others.

PARTLY TRUE! The second part, that is. In the first part – except in extreme cases (like torture) – you are overreacting to what other people see as mere blips on the screen.

A GENTLER RESPONSE: People don’t have to adore each other – but they have to be able to interact. It helps to mentally put on a thick layer of vaseline or glidex and imagine things sliding off your armor. Your sword and shield? A smile and a pleasant voice. It disarms people. None of us is so important that there is a group of people out there who exist to ruin our days.

If, however, it’s only in one situtation this is happening – for example, your workplace – you may be working in a toxic environment. You need to be working on two things: a) your exit strategy – in this case finding a new job; and b) coping strategies – my favorite of which is smiling and sliding through (ie refusing to get stuck in negativity.)

5. I have ZERO energy.

LIKELY TRUE! Didn’t think I’d every agree with you, eh? If you are not eating extremely nutritious food and drinking water, avoiding the anti-nutrients, getting your sleep and lots of walking in... Well, let’s just say, if your body was a car, your mechanic would make his/her next few mortgage payments off of you.

A HELPFUL RESPONSE?! All of the above plus the rest of the whole health check in. Remember that every cell in your body is made from the food you eat – or don’t eat. Live like crap, feel like crap. It’s that simple. Plus taking care of your whole health – social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and vocational as well as physical – boosts your energy level and immune system.

Now, I invite you to take part in this exercise…

Five Things I Don’t Like about Me

(and no more than five, so make them good)

Invite your accountability partner to go for decaf coffee. First list the five things – then examine them carefully.





















Further Reading and Videos


"Permission to Succeed: Learn How and Why to Give Yourself Permission to Succeed" - by Noah St. John, HCI, 1999

"Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway" - by Susan Jeffers, 2004, Ballantine Books


Darryl Cross: Self Sabatotage

The art of love [including self-care]... is largely the art of persistence. - Albert Ellis

Bornean Orangutan, Mum and 2 Month Old Baby, Zoo Animal
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