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The dangers of self deception: A Call for Self-Awareness

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By: Jaswinder Pal Sharma 

Lying to oneself is a subtle yet pervasive habit that can hinder personal growth and authenticity. Whether it’s avoiding uncomfortable truths or embellishing our own narratives, self-deception can lead to misguided decisions and hinder genuine connections with others. 

However, by fostering self-awareness and cultivating honesty, we can break free from this cycle and lead more fulfilling lives. Recognize the Patterns: The first step in combating self-deception is to recognize when it’s happening. Pay attention to moments when you feel a sense of inner conflict or discomfort. These are often signs that you might be rationalizing or denying certain truths to yourself. 

Challenge your Assumptions: Questioning your beliefs and assumptions is crucial for fostering self-awareness. Instead of accepting things at face value, take the time to explore the underlying motivations and biases behind your thoughts and actions. Ask yourself why you believe what you do and whether there’s evidence to support it.

Practice Radical Honesty: Embracing honesty, even when it’s uncomfortable, is essential for overcoming self-deception. Be willing to confront difficult truths about yourself, your relationships, and your circumstances. This doesn’t mean being harsh or self-critical but rather acknowledging reality as it is. 

Cultivate Self-Compassion: While honesty is important, it’s also essential to approach yourself with kindness and compassion. Recognize that everyone has flaws and shortcomings, and that self-awareness is a journey rather than a destination. Treat yourself with the same empathy you would extend to a friend facing similar challenges.

Seek Feedback: Outside perspectives can provide valuable insights that may be difficult to see on your own. Surround yourself with people who will offer honest feedback and constructive criticism. Be open to hearing different viewpoints, even if they challenge your existing beliefs. 

Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness techniques, such as meditation and journaling, can help you develop a deeper understanding of your thoughts and emotions. By observing your inner experience without judgment, you can gain clarity and insight into your patterns of self-deception. 

Set Realistic Goals: Unrealistic expectations can fuel self-deception by creating a gap between who you are and who you think you should be. Instead of striving for perfection, focus on setting achievable goals that align with your values and priorities. Celebrate progress, no matter how small, and learn from setbacks without dwelling on them. 

Embrace Growth: Finally, remember that self-awareness is a lifelong journey of growth and self-discovery. Be open to learning from your experiences and evolving as a person. Celebrate the progress you’ve made while remaining humble and curious about what lies ahead.

In conclusion, overcoming self-deception requires a commitment to honesty, self-awareness, and compassion. By challenging our assumptions, seeking feedback, and embracing growth, we can break free from the cycle of lying to ourselves and live more authentic, fulfilling lives.

The writer is a teacher 

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