At the moment it seemed the right thing, in fact the only thing that I could do. And yet now it seems to be one of the worst choices. Funny thing, deception. Somehow, no matter how hard I try, I remain the easiest person to deceive.
Hiding truth from oneself through repressing reality or rationalizing until the truth is only a trampled shred of evidence is a common occurrence. I am an expert at this sort of mental exertion. Yet in deceiving myself, I am only ruining foundations of stability. Any belief can be washed away or created by a single justification.
Sometimes I have found myself deliberately misleading others, and yet in so doing I am not so much deceiving but being deceived. Oftentimes, others realize the truth before I realize they have. In such circumstances, I have not only made a fool of myself in thinking that I can dupe them, but have been “found out” and humiliated.
There are hundreds of occurrences that I could cite, however, one remains quite clear in my memory. As a child of about six years, I remember despising the ritual of getting ready for bed, putting away my toys, donning pajamas, and the process of teeth brushing. So, I schemed, numerous ridiculous ways, lies, to get out of the practice of dental hygiene. I was mortified the day a “cool kid” told me my teeth were nasty. The whole time I had prided myself on my skillful evasion and then someone blatantly brought me back to reality. Try as I might, there was no way to escape the truth of that embarrassing failure.
In addition to planned deception, all too often I act on impulses rashly justified at a moment’s notice. I have a belief in gut feelings- that my first instinct is the right one. However, in certain situations I can successfully mask my true instinct and replace it with one of my own fabrication thereby convincing myself that my desires coincide with my conscience. I believe this and other cases of self-deception are founded on selfish whims. Self-deception is the desire to be right, even when one is wrong. Self-deception is dangerous because it is so easy and so difficult to identify once it becomes a normal mental routine.
I have learned over time that self-examination and the analysis of my deepest values helps me follow the real truth rather than my own phony truth. It may seem like a hopeless case, but there are many resources. Two of the greatest are close friends and relatives. They often realize the state of affairs before I do and can act as another set of eyes to view reality more clearly. As in the case of faulty dental hygiene, even distant acquaintances can reveal sources of deception.
My ambition is to keep my mind receptive to the observations of others and to be wary of forming a too heightened opinion of myself. I must humbly accept that I am not always correct and attempt to find truth through exploration rather than invention. No one can get everything right all the time, but when one stops hiding from facts it is easier to face them than to run from them.