4 Surprising Facts About Self-Deception
Self-deception is the act of deceiving — fooling — oneself into believing something that isn’t true is true. In essence, this is a delusion. Most people deceive themselves in one way or another and for various reasons.
There are a number of surprising facts about self-deception. Here are four that may apply to you, and that may give you cause to think.
Facts Don’t Change Perception
According to Dr. Stephen Diamond, people will dismiss real facts because it defies what they really think. If you’ve ever watched a political debate objectively, you understand what this means.
Each person will have pertinent facts, but the other person in the argument simply cannot see those facts as real. It doesn’t matter what the source might be, if it doesn’t coincide with their personal belief system then they cannot accept the concept as fact. In fact, each person will go so far as to find any source to support his or her position no matter how ridiculous that source might be.
Self-Deceivers Believe what they Say
In most cases, someone in the process of self-deception believes completely what they are saying to others. Denial is a very important part of self-deception according to Dr. Diamond. Getting upset or feeling as if you’re being lied to won’t change the situation, and the person involved in the self-deception will wonder why you’re being so irrational.
Self-Deception Doesn’t Just Harm the Deceiver
Self-deception can be quite harmful to others. For example, there are people who have convinced themselves that they were molested as children. In some cases, this idea comes from a feeling. In others, something traumatic has happened and the person has decided that they were harmed in a different way. While this may seem like an extreme case, this is something that can happen.
A more common occurrence is in the workplace. When you believe that someone else doesn’t like you simply because you perceive his or her attitude as rude or dismissive, you convince yourself that what you think is actually true. This leads to tension with the co-worker and may possibly even lead you to complain to your supervisor about a hostile workplace environment.
Lastly, many parents refuse to believe that the action of their children is because of drugs or other influences. You might choose to believe that your child is going through puberty or just growing up. Even after finding drugs you might decide that your child is telling the truth when they claim that the drugs belong to a friend.
Self-Deception can be Beneficial
There are a couple of ways that self-deception can be useful. Firstly, deceiving yourself can help you achieve your goals. This may seem odd, but consider this. If you think that you’re good at something you will strive to prove to others that you’re good at that thing. If it’s something teachable such as math, then you could become better at math in your effort to prove that you’re as good as you think that you are.
Another area where self-deception can be useful is in how you see the world. Many people view the world and the people in it as good and decent. Other people view the world very differently, full of crime, war and so on. Who’s right? It’s difficult to say, but it’s easy to say that the world is far from perfect. People who can see the world as always wonderful, despite evidence to the contrary, tend to be happier than people who see it for as it is or worse than it is.
Corrine Collins is a clinical psychologist and guest author at http://www.bestmastersincounseling.com, a site with guides and resources to help prospective students evaluate top-rated masters in counseling degree programs online.