Stress Relief: Lies We Tell Ourselves (Inadequacy Lies)

by Doc Orman, M.D.


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April=Stress Awareness Month
Click link to download free College Stress Relief E-Book

 

Lies of Inadequacy 

Let’s face it…we’re not very good at distinguishing truth from lies.  We are very likely to deceive ourselves, and some of us are extremely skilled at regularly deceiving others. 

The late Robert J. Gula, in the first chapter of his book Nonsense–Red Herrings, Straw Men and Sacred Cows, points out that there are many common ways that people engage in erroneous thinking, such as: 

  • Believing what they want to believe;
  • Being biased in their thinking;
  • Letting their feelings overcome reason;
  • Tending to overgeneralize and oversimplify;
  • Not taking the time or having the desire to think carefully and critically;
  • Selectively focusing on “evidence” to support their prejudices and beliefs. 

This week, I want to focus on a few of the lies we frequently tell ourselves.  These lies can be the source of considerable stress for a great many people. Hence, they are worthy of our attention. 

Lies Of Inadequacy 

I’m sure you know people who suffer from low self-esteem or low self-worth. You may even have been shocked at times to learn that very capable, intelligent individuals have very poor self-images. 

How do people who are naturally so full of possibility and capability eventually get to the point where they don’t believe in themselves?  Well, they do it by telling themselves a series of inadequacy lies, over and over again: 

  • “I’m not good enough”
  • “I’m not smart enough”
  • “I’m not attractive or lovable”
  • “I’m not successful”
  • “I have no will-power”
  • “I have no self-discipline”
  •  Etc. 

There are two common features to all of these inadequacy statements.  The first is that they are always negative in nature.  And the second is that they are rarely true. 

In other words, they are lies we tell ourselves…and that we eventually begin to accept as being true. 

Negative Thinking And Stress 

You may recall that I previously wrote a series of six consecutive blog posts (starting with Negative Thinking And Stress) about the role of negative thinking as a major cause of unnecessary stress in our lives.  Well, this is just another example. 

Most (but not all) of our negative thinking is not grounded in reality. And all thoughts of our own inadequacy are right there at the top of that list. 

Most human beings are blessed with enormous potential, capability, and intelligence.  That so many of us get to the point where think and feel we are inadequate is a startling testament to the degree to which we are capable of lying to ourselves…and believing the daily lies that we tell. 

Stay tuned, as we explore several more common lies that we tell ourselves in the next two blog posts for this week.

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