This weird yet delightful spiral all started after I got a co-star notification that read: "The greatest source of your suffering is the lie you tell yourself".
To be fair, on this particular day I was battling a very large two-day hangover and my anxiety was through the roof — hello, hang-xiety. A few days later when said spiral was working its way out of my system, I started to think about the "lies" I was telling myself just to keep myself afloat.
You see, my therapist and I often used to talk about these little lies we tell ourselves to get us through a time where we feel emotionally attacked, disarmed or vulnerable. An altered reality in our mind that's adjacent to our actual reality that somehow makes us feel more at ease.
We deduced that we consciously know they're lies, but we decide that our version of the truth comforts us better, and so we roll with it, even if it's just until we're ready to accept the truth.
And whenever those negative thoughts about the situation pop up in our brain, we repeat the lie to ourselves to lull the thoughts back to sleep.
We talked about how for each situation you over analyse you create a soother for i.e. Someone snapped at you over something — becomes there's something going on in their life that has nothing to do with me and something innocent that I did triggered a reaction, unleashing all this pent up emotion. Rather than admitting maybe I did something wrong or hurtful.
Maybe you didn't get that job you went for (and were 90 percent sure you had in the bag) because someone more experienced came along, plans had changed or you were too experienced anyway. Rather than admitting maybe I just wasn't right for the role.
Or my personal favourite, when you're dating someone and they show early signs of ghosting so you rustle up some excuses ready for when they ultimately disappear — he's just busy, she is useless on her phone (flat out lie that one). Because those excuses are easier to swallow rather than that reality-sized-pill that maybe you just weren't that person's peach.
(Don't worry, someday you'll be someone's peach.)
See, feels better doesn't it? We're the spin doctors of our own lives. Instantly the situation goes from anxiety inducing to mildy manageable with one little white lie.
I find it so fascinating that we consciously chose to deceive ourselves, even just a little bit, because it's more comforting than the truth or owning our actions. The one person you live with 27/4 365 (yourself), you lie to with the same ease you would lying to a child to sooth a tantrum.
So in the spirit of being more honest with ourselves, here are a few ways you can be more truthful with yourself (and ease your anxiety).
Take the emotion out of the situation and assess the reality
Step back, take a breath and think about the situation realistically. If you're hyped up on emotion you're less likely to see things for what they are and more likely to create false realities, or 'your version of the truth'.
Ask yourself if your reaction to the situation was justified
Could you have handled the situation better? Do you need to take some responsibility for how things unfolded? Is there anything you can do to better the situation?
Acknowledge both the good and bad in your life
Life can't always go your way, you have so many plates spinning simultaneously, you can't be attentive to all of them at once. Sure, something might have happened that's not ideal but what about the good stuff? Make a list of everything you're grateful for to remind you that things aren't as bad as they may seem.
Remember feelings are temporary
We all need time to process our emotions and everything we're feeling is valid in one way or another, accept what you're feeling, process it and let it move through you. The quicker you acknowledge how you feel, the quicker you can work through it.