by Gideon 

May 24, 2019

enjoy life

How do you start to enjoy life? Well, the simple answer is you make a choice. But so many people don’t enjoy life because they’re limiting themselves by telling themselves lies about what’s real and what’s not. So, if you want to enjoy life fully, you must first stop telling yourself things that will keep you from experiencing life. Only then can you be free to truly live.

enjoy life

“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

Let me ask you a question – if you had to guess, what would the absolute best way be the guarantee that you do not achieve any of your goals in life and never enjoy life fully? 

Now, I’m not sure what you answered, but I am sure that if you wanted to you could come up with many ways that guarantee you from not achieving any outcomes you want in life.

True?

I know it is for me.

But, even with that being true, I do believe there is a way that beat all else.

It’s also the most insidious and sneaky one of all.

In fact, if you did this one, your chances to achieve any of your goals and enjoy life are reduced to between slim and none.

What am I talking about?

Lying to yourself.

Here’s a major truth to put remember if there ever was one …

the moment you cannot tell yourself the truth and face it head-on, you start stacking the odds against yourself.

Now, the sad truth about that is that many of us actually lie to ourselves quite frequently.

That’s just what we do.

Let me give you a few examples …

We lie to ourselves whether we are really hungry not.

Whether we really need a new shirt or pair of shoes.

Whether we can really afford something.

Whether we really like a job or not.

Whether we have time and energy to do the things that are important or not.

And so on and so on.

Now, I believe we tell ourselves lies to protect ourselves, or at least create the illusion of protection, but this is a misplaced intention with dire consequences in the long run.

What I’ve learned in my studying of human psychology and altering human behaviour, is that our ego doesn’t like rejection and falling short and so it avoids it at all cost.

So consequently, it does everything in its “power ” to keep us “safe” and out of harm’s way.

The only problem with this is, all the good stuff lie beyond discomfort and so-called harm’s way.

Our ego gets us to start telling ourselves stories about what’s really going on in our lives.

And these stories oftentimes take on the form of lies with the main character being FEAR.

Our ego uses fear to paralyse us into inaction.

And we end up missing out on life or never enjoy life fully.

Furthermore, these lies we tell ourselves aim to cover up our perceived shortcomings and prevent us from taking risks, which ultimately limit our lives and our ability to enjoy life fully.

In the end, these lies serve the purpose of making us feel better in the short-term but cause us to miss out on the good life in the long-term.

So the challenge I want to pose to you here today is very simple,

make a conscious decision to become aware of how much you lie to yourself every day, and then choose to stop lying to yourself and aim to start living in the truth and enjoy life.

Here are a couple of lies that we tell ourselves …

Read through them, think about them, and challenge them if they come up in your life.

1. “I don’t have a choice.”

Most of us reading this have an unlimited number of options available to us at any time.

Yes, there are always things outside of our control and I accept that.

But there are also far more things within our control than we sometimes care to admit.

And right now, you might not feel brave or capable enough to consider them all, but you do have some options.

A good little mental exercise is one I use all the time with clients – consider what advice you would give a friend in a similar situation to yours.

Or determine what your most capable friend would do.

Then ask yourself: Can I do the same?

2. “If I do X or say Y, people will think less of me.”

Though it’s hard to believe, no one really cares.

Yes, even with all the haters on Social Media.

Plus who gives an actual fuck, to quote my man #GaryVee?

Everyone is too preoccupied with their own lives or else wondering what your opinion is of them to care.

Seriously.

Plus, if you actually believed you’re worthy, you wouldn’t be having these types of thoughts.

So, if you do, start there – raise your opinion of yourself.

Because in actual fact, it’s got nothing to do with others – it’s more about the BS you’re harbouring in your mind about yourself.

So, if permission is what you need to get out there and rock, here it is …

You ARE good enough to do and say what you want!

3. “It’s too late for me.”

Oh, this one gets me to use all kinds of profanities.

Seriously.

Here’s the truth …

People are AMAZING!

For the most part.

More specifically, people have graduated from medical school in their 60’s.

An 80-year old successfully climbed Mount Everest.

A 72-year old’s crushing it in CrossFit.

Don’t believe me?

Then have a look …

Do you still think it’s too late?

Many things become less convenient as we get older, for sure.

But challenging and impossible are two completely different things.

Make sure you know the difference.

4. “Anything short of perfect is a failure.”

If you have to be the best at something before you’ll even try, you’ll NEVER get off the couch.

Most of us don’t have the potential to be the best at anything, but we can all be pretty good at just about anything.

However, it requires time and effort.

And consistency.

A more important question is, Do you really need to be the best? And why?

Because chances are that’s actually another sign of feeling unworthy.

There’s no reason to be competitive with everything you do.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m very competitive and I always strive to be the best I can be.

But there’s a big difference between striving to be the best you can be and needing the assurance that you’ll end up being the best before even trying something.

So, rather focus on enjoying yourself without worrying too much about whether you’re going to be the best or not.

Challenge yourself as much as you like, but keep it in perspective.

There will always be someone else who comes along and beat you.

This is a fact of life.

So push yourself, but don’t stay on the couch because you worried about not being the best from the outset (or ever).

And even if you absolutely do want to be the best, you still have to make a start somewhere and work for it anyway!

5. “I’d be happy if I had more money.”

This is another lie we tell ourselves.

But fortunately for you, this issue of happiness and money has been researched with some surprising results.

Studies have shown that happiness and income are only correlated up to a salary of roughly $70,000 per year.

That means that someone earning $200k is no happier than those that make $70,000 annually.

If you can pay your bills each month, money isn’t limiting your happiness.

I would also challenge you to sit down and do the following exercise.

  • Take a piece of paper and a pen and start listing your expenses every month.
  • After that, list the things that you would like to do every month. My challenge is to stay real  and don’t be unrealistic like, “I want to buy an island every month.” That’s just ridiculous.
  • So, after you have your expenses and your monthly desires written down, also write down the one or two big things that you would like to do per year.
  • Now, add it all up. Just make a rough equation and get to some estimated number.

If you’ve done this truthfully, chances are that that number is much smaller than the one you’ve first imagined.

And if you don’t believe me, you can go one step further, and research the actual cost of everything that you wrote down and add it all up.

You will probably find that it’s still a much smaller number than first imagined.

I did mine and if I did absolutely everything that I wanted, including visiting family overseas once or twice a year, that number is still under $20,000 a month.

Break that down, I have to find a way to make roughly around $666 per day to make that a reality.

Break it down even further, and that comes down to roughly about $83.25 per hour if I worked for eight hours a day.

Suddenly, my dream life doesn’t seem all that unattainable.

6. “I can change him (or her).”

Let me keep this one short – changing your partner or spouse isn’t going to happen.

Unless they want to.

Think about how hard is to change yourself, even when you want to change.

Now imagine how difficult it is to change someone else.

And that other person probably doesn’t want to change.

It isn’t going to happen.

7. “I’m limited in my ability to accomplish anything.”

It has been said that learning to walk and talk are far more challenging than anything else anyone has ever accomplished.

You’re probably saying to yourself, “Well, most people I know can walk and talk.”

Exactly.

The truth is, you’re infinitely more capable than you need to be.

You may have a few issues to resolve, but your inherent capability for achieving things isn’t one of them.

Take Away …

You need to realise that we are masters at deluding ourselves.

We lie to the person in the mirror in order to protect ourselves – and to make us feel better.

That’s just a fact.

It’s nothing to get negative about or stress over.

You just need to learn how to deal with it.

Choose to avoid giving up your future in order to appease your emotions in the short-term.

This is a simple choice you and I can make.

Ultimately, the lies you tell yourself limit you to enjoy life fully.

It could be argued that the purpose of all self-help is to learn how to lie to ourselves less frequently.

Well, if that’s the case let’s try it.

About the author 

Gideon

Gideon is the founder of TheRelationshipGuy.com, a top-50 relationship blog (2021) and top-100 marriage blog (2021) focused on providing healthy relationship advice about love and life. He earned a Master's degree in theological studies before training as a professional counsellor and hypnotherapist (DipProfCouns., DipMSHT.) almost 10 years ago. He is currently pursuing further graduate Psychology studies at Massey University while working as a relationship and dating blogger the majority of the time. He has been married to his wife for over fifteen years and is the father of two children.

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