If you’re reading this, you’ve probably heard the story of Moses and the Ten Commandments.
You can probably even rattle off most of the commandments without thinking too hard—don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t covet, don’t kill, don’t commit adultery, etc.
But if you have a particularly curious mind like me, you may have at some point wondered… What if there had been an 11th Commandment? What would it have been? How would that have changed things? Would God have had to continue onto a third stone tablet?
After doing some thinking, I have become convinced that, had Moses spent a little bit longer on Mount Sinai, he would, in fact, have come down with an 11th commandment…
“Thou shalt not kid thyself.”
I know, I know—“kidding yourself” sounds a lot less serious and dramatic than committing murder or adultery, but appearances can be deceiving.
When you take a moment to think about it, kidding yourself is actually something that messes us up more than almost anything else. It starts out small, but inevitably leads to depression, uncertainty, and a distinct loss of control in our own lives.
After all, what do you think 99% of politicians whose careers were destroyed by affairs told themselves?
“That could never happen to me!”
What about what many people who have said before diving headfirst into debt?
“I can afford that!”
Or how about what we constantly tell ourselves when we’re trying to start a new diet?
“Well…I’ll just start tomorrow!”
We kid ourselves to avoid dealing with things that aren’t comfortable to deal with. The problem is that, eventually, those seemingly small things we were “just kidding” about end up becoming lies with all-too-serious consequences.
If someone told you an outright lie about yourself right to your face, it’s safe to say that you would get pretty angry. So why do most of us not react that same way when the person telling the lie…is us?
Let’s be honest for a second—if “Thou shalt not kid thyself” actually were one of the Ten Commandments, we’d all have a lot of explaining to do when it’s all said and done. The good news is that there are two things we can all begin doing right now to safeguard ourselves from breaking this “11th Commandment.”
1. Make a list of the most common lies you tell yourself. Now, you may not be able to think of them all at once. Sometimes we’ve been kidding ourselves for so long that we don’t even realize we’re doing it anymore! Make it a habit to ask yourself if you’re being honest next time you’re trying to convince yourself of something.
2. Give the trusted people in your life permission to call you out. This is something I started doing awhile ago that has paid off big time. Once you have your list of the most common lies you’re telling yourself, let the people you trust know about them. Give them the OK to call you out on lying to yourself if they happen to catch you in the act.
When you step back and look at things from a different perspective, it’s easy to see that kidding yourself, in reality, is no joke. We’re all quick to point out dishonesty in others. Let’s start doing the same for ourselves.
In what ways are you currently “kidding yourself”?