“The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.”–Leonardo da Vinci

It’s common for us humans to deceive ourselves and others. We do so as a misguided trick for self-preservation or as an attempt to elevate ourselves in the venue of public opinion. We excuse ourselves even though we know that this violates our integrity with our true selves. We live in a culture that treats taking sides in political debate as if we are choosing which sports teams to support. We believe that deception is OK and harmless so our side can win at all costs. Meantime, during our quiet, honest moments, we know in our hearts the deception is terribly wrong.

Sooner or later the wool is pulled from our eyes; or others discover our deceit and we must decide whether or not to come clean. If we decide to continue the deception we lose credibility. If we decide to confess our errors we begin the process of healing. Regardless of which decision we make, our conscience must make some sort of peace with it. In the best cases, we confront deceit and amend our ways.

Most people harbor deep “dark” secrets that we believe must remain hidden. Keeping mum about the secrets creates stress and worry that the secrets may be revealed. This causes fear, guilt, and shame to fester. The thought of confessing seems immensely horrifying in that the admission of deceit could bring about personal failure and shunning from society.

Fear and self-deception may appear in some people in the form of “imposter syndrome”. That is, they doubt themselves and deprecate their own abilities, skills, and strengths. This might stem from feelings of insecurity or self-worth so one may wish to escape from commitments, responsibility, work, or even love. The situation devolves into the problems becoming worse through procrastination. Even worse, we may slip into denial altogether.

The healing process begins with admission of self-deception and the honest (not inflated) accounting of one’s ability to succeed. It’s important to remember that we cannot be everything to everybody. Although people may not agree with us nor understand our needs and logic, we must prioritize according to our best interests through ethical reasoning and self-compassion.

People end self-deception and deception of others by forgiving themselves and confiding in trusted friends or loved ones. Although there are personal risks in doing so, a new lightness of spirit results. Shedding the habits of deceit and deception make life cleaner and simpler. We might say that getting rid of charades and deception is spiritual minimalism. Who needs all the clutter of deception anyway?


The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes author, entrepreneur, and certified fraud examiner, Pamela Meyer. “Deception can cost billions. Think Enron, Madoff, the mortgage crisis. Or in the case of double agents and traitors, like Robert Hanssen or Aldrich Ames, lies can betray our country. They can compromise our security. They can undermine democracy. They can cause the deaths of those that defend us.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, Health, philosophy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Deception

  1. Great advice, I’ll try to remember it😊

  2. We all use deception to some extent. Some people are absolute masters of self deception without seeming to have any consequences.

    • swabby429 says:

      These folks baffle me. Earlier this week, I conversed with an anti-vaxxer acquaintance and immediately ran into a dead-end. I let her talk, then I found a graceful way to exit because there was no way to skillfully counter her arguments. It was not the right “battle” to engage in.

  3. bloom|time says:

    My family harbored a 30 year deception (throughout my childhood). It was like a bomb went off when it was revealed, but honesty is so so much better and we all survived intact. This post is very insightful.

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