The lies we tell ourselves.

Ive been thinking a lot recently about the lies we tell ourselves and the various ways said fibs can work for us.

Ive already shared how I think fabrication in the name of COSTUMING can be healthy.

We all know the healthy living lies which serve to sabotage our efforts (eating while standing at the fridge doesnt count. birthday cakes are always calorie free.).

Lately, with the Bay Area looming on the horizon & my stuffs stuffed into boxes, Ive become majorly obsessed with intrigued by the notion of positive self-deception.

So intrigued it’s become a running joke between Ren Man and me.

“No thanks,” I’ll respond when he asks if I want to see an art film instead of Wreck It Ralph. “Bay Area me, however, only attends films with artistic intent and subtitles.”

The ATX Carla may have grown lazy in her promise to _______ (<—insert pretty much anything there these days) but the Bay Area Misfit plans to do    xxx    and then some.

This positive self-deception restricts itself not just to me.

Yesterday morning (and how this post was sparked) I invited the Husband to lift weights.

“Hmmmm. Not today.” He replied tongue firmly implanted in cheek. “I’ll be lifting really heavy and training super hard when we move so I dont want to overtrain.”

Even though I laughed, I was brought back to the concept of positive self- deception, its proximity to the idea of ‘fake it till we make it’ and the ways overestimating our chances of success at new experiences helps us (the royal us. ME.) feel the fear and do it anyway.

All that to say, loud and proud, Im lying to myself these days and it’s a good thing.

Im bracketing off/shoving away all negative info (rainy weather, hard to get to know other parents, takes a year to feel at home in a new place) & manufacturing a positive misfit’y reality which helps me better approach my situation.

Lest you fear Ive lost my mind, social psychologists agree self-deception, for some, can be an effective approach.

  • Research has shown those who ‘deceive’ themselves in a positive fashion can boost self-esteem/make themselves feel better.
  • Studies indicate those who positively self-deceive tend to believe they have more control over their environment than they actually do.
  • Information shows we’re *happier* when we CHOOSE to hold views about the future that are more positive than evidence may justify.

How does any of this apply to my relocation?

Allow me to share the various ways Ive chosen to lovingly lie to myself about the impending Bay Area me.

The Bay Area Misfit will:

Be so amazingly house/office organized it will blow your minds out (as the child sadly no longer says):

rsz_20121104-150808 we all know this ISN’T happening.

Be super duper 24/7 social. Non-stop coffees with mere acquaintances. She will NEVER decline an invitation!

rsz_603304_10151091591079143_784913195_n look! it’s social-Carla!

Say work? SCHMIRK! There will never not be 1000 screaming kids underfoot. I will fling open the front door when I move in & never shut it:


The Tornado of socializing.

Morph into a runner! This reportedly fun race will be merely one of many:

running pic

Hike & bike so much people will wonder aloud if I even OWN a car:


currently COBWEB’y from lack of use.

Get gussied up. A lot. Lottsa (my version of) fancy will be happening in the Bay.

 rsz_317914_10151130467604466_161769927_nWillie likes me FAAANCY.

Here’s where many bloggers would provide a cute disclaimer, clarify this isnt *really* happening & say it’s an interesting concept to chat about none the less.

People, IM SO DOING THIS and Id love your thoughts.

  • Do you think there’s a difference between ‘fake it till you make it’ and positive self-deception?
  • Are you one to proceed with caution believing this deception to be a dangerous, slippery slope?
  • How have you harnessed the power of positive self-deception in your life lately?




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  1. says

    I’m a firm believer in ‘fake it till you make it.’ At first it’s rough, but eventually you find your groove and your there. Moving is tough but you have to put yourself out of your comfort zone because no one is going to come looking for you if they don’t know you exist.

    Good luck!

  2. Runner Girl says

    FANTASTIC post, Miz.
    I harness the power :) every time I do a race.
    I’ve never heard it called self-deception in a positive way before.

  3. Ava says

    I tend to do this too when I relocate for work.
    Most of the time I go back to my old Ava self, but you never know!

  4. says

    I “lie” to myself a lot on runs now.

    “You’ve done this before… so it’ll be EASY.” haha it isn’t, but it reminds me that it can be done.

    But seriously, aren’t cakes in cup form calorie free? 😉

  5. says

    My healthy and active lifestyle had to start with the mere idea (positive self-deception) that one day I would be living just that. Now, here I am today…living and breathing just that (does this mean I’ve made it lol) 😉

    What a great post.


  6. Olive says

    I have always deceived myself in a negative way.
    (I will start my diet tomorrow LOL)
    I will try this.
    You’re so smart.

  7. says

    I totally support this approach! If it makes a tough move easier, then so be it. Nothing wrong with a little delusion if it makes this a positive!

  8. says

    I remember those kind of thoughts from when we moved in March. Even though we only moved two miles, I remember thinking of all the changes I’d make in the new house. Some great changes came….some not so much.
    Still, planning for greatness is a good thing for now. There’s something to that phrase about shooting for the moon. Even if you don’t reach it, you’ll still land amongst the stars. :)

  9. says

    As a Psychology teacher I hope I can share my ‘professional opinion’ on the matter 😉

    Everyone uses Freudian defense mechanisms when they are stressed (I’m a huge fan of rationalizing and minimizing!). Even if your ‘positive self-deception’ is some sort of denial over what’s going on/will go on – that’s okay! Focusing on the positives of a situation instead of dwelling on the negative is actually really, really hard for most people.

    Your projecting happiness into your future – what could possibly be wrong with that?!

  10. says

    firm believer of fake it till you make it. Or fake it till you make OF IT! It works. But you have to go in open minded too, right? Like accepting change when it comes with a POSITIVE outlook. Because it will come. But you can fake the adaptability, yes?

    I believe in you!

  11. says

    If you know you’re lying to yourself, it’s not a terribly successful deception, is it? So it’s not really about self deception, it’s about not focusing on the fears.

    I can’t count the time people tell me to look for the silver lining in the cloud. Sorry, I may know that there’s a silver lining, but I think the saner approach is to find shelter from the oncoming storm. That’s not to say that once you’ve found that safe place, you can’t enjoy the beauty of what could have been an unpleasant situation. I’ve watched hurricanes though my taped up windows (until things started flying outside, then I stepped back. I may be in awe of nature, but I’m not stupid)

    I guess the point is that there’s good and bad in everything, which everyone knows, but few people accept.

    You’re going to NoCal because you have a better life awaiting you there. This is something you chose, something you took because you evaluated your opportunities and saw “better” somewhere else. Better isn’t always “safe”; sometimes it’s a leap of faith.

    I understand the anticipation and stress of moving. I understand leaving someplace behind. But aside of the weather, you’ve really voiced no objections to NoCal, and aside of your familiarity with your home, no real objections to leaving.

    So what I have to ask is this: Does this just boil down to stepping out of your comfort zone? Because it seems to me, that’s been something you’ve always done… maybe not as BIG as this… but always done.

    The next question is, is it self deception, or acknowledging that you’re changing? Is it a lie to dream of other positive changes? As you move forward, isn’t it just possible that this move will give you the motivation and opportunity to become more organized, hike more, or be more social? Maybe some of it won’t happen, maybe some of it will. As someone who underwent extreme and positive change after a move (to Albuquerque), I know it can happen.

    For me? I don’t think of self deception, Usually if I’m deceiving myself, I don’t know, it’s not something I can easily peel away, and it’s usually something grand (like my belief that someday I HAVE to win the lottery, because that’s the only way things could work out if there’s to be justice and balance in my life. It’s something I KNOW with my head isn’t true, but can’t feel in my heart).

    For me it’s all about : “OK, this is scary, but it’s my choice, and I choose BETTER.” I think if it the same way I think of having a painful surgery or ripping off a bandaid… or giving birth. It’s painful, it’s terrifying in it’s way, but I know it’s going to be painful, terrifying then OVER… and after that, well, then it’s all the joy and benefit of the seemingly moments of suffering.

  12. says

    Fake it till you make it came into my mind a several times while reading your post. Guess that means to me there is no difference.

    I never “used” fake it till you make it but lately I’m doing it more and more, mostly regarding a healthy life.

  13. says

    I love this. I bet by the time you get to the Bay Area you will have internalized all of these wonderful plans and then you will make them happen. :-)

  14. Kristie says

    I am so here. With a 3 month old baby who still nurses every 3 hours 24/7, and an unorganized house that needs to make room for baby stuff, this is how I’ve been motivating myself. This morning begins the first morning where every hour is scheduled. If I don’t make it, at least I have a guideline to shoot for. And I’m getting up early no matter how the night went. No more sleeping in. About organizing the house, I’ve never been able to do it before, but I bought a labeler and lots of plastic bins, and I’m going to try!

  15. says

    I’ve had to tell two lies in the past 24 hours as a doctor! It was painful for me to lie, but it would have caused more pain in others to tell the truth!

  16. says

    Do you think there’s a difference between ‘fake it till you make it’ and positive self-deception?

    I honestly think I live this Carla!!! I have always been shy & scared to try thing since I was a kid – not sure why but probably some hidden something that I don’t remember that happened way back then OR maybe just the stuff I grew up around & in….. SO…. I always tried, told myself I would even though I was scared.. tried out for sports & cheer leading & drill team & 5k’s & bodybuilding.. I NEVER thought I was good enough for any of these things. I was always scared shitless but I tried anyway…. AND I made all of them. I also tried endlessly for that reader model stuff & never got it but I kept trying.. I may even keep trying…..

    It is so funny that you wrote this today because part of my thoughts on 55 post is that I am going to say 55 is the first day of the rest of my life.. I need to get my act together!!!! I SO HOPE we can meet now that we will be closer.. AND I can’t believe it has been 5 years for us!!!! That is how lost I get in my craziness sometimes! 😉

    • says

      Hey, can I come to your California meetup? Would love to see both of you!!!

      Miz & Jody, you guys are my role models for positive thinking, whether “lies” or not.

      I’ve finally figured out that I get to control what happens in my own brain, and it doesn’t have to be logical as long as it makes me feel better!

  17. says

    LOVE this post! This is exactly why I started running. I wanted to see how I would feel if I truly gave it a shot. I do believe in the fake it till you make it because I feel like the brain is such a powerful force when it comes to achieving goals that you question. I wish you were moving closer to me! We could play with running together!

  18. says

    I firmly believe in self-deception and fake-it-till-you-make-it. It’s hard sometimes but I’ve realized that I’d rather fill my life with the positive thoughts than be dragged down by the negative, especially negative thoughts about things that I have absolutely no control over. So why not take control over the things that I can and try to open myself up to more positive experiences and happiness? <– I just need to learn to take my advice more.

    PS I love that there is no disclaimer to this post :-)

  19. says

    I totally believe you can talk yourself into anything….and out of anything. Thus, working out….and eating….I can justify sweets just about any time and day which is why I must work out. 😉

    You will probably find you LOVE the new area…just where is the BAY area exactly….sorry the snow we are currently having in MN is going to my head!

  20. says

    I have used this approach and find that it can be very helpful. It’s like the “Act as if…” Fill in the blank. I read an article written by a therapist who said these can be the three most powerful words for making change. Act your way to success, what’s wrong with that? Nothing in my book.

  21. says

    I think fake it til you make it is good in a lot of respects. I do it to help me get through tough times or challenges. Or sometimes to support others because my strength (or appearance thereof) is what gets *them* through.

    Isn’t really faking it til you make it boil down to just believing in yourself, though? Why would you fake it if deep down inside you didn’t really think even if just for a tiny bit it was going to happen?

  22. says

    If I didn’t totally live this, I don’t believe I’d ever try anything new. :)

    The only downside I see to it is the possibility of dropping into “when I/then I” thinking and putting off things that need to be done now in favor of some magical time in the future when life will be perfect. “When I lose weight, then I’ll do (???)”, or “When I finish this $@#! book, then I’ll do (???”). Me being me, I have to put a few parameters around things and include an “Until then, I’ll take these X steps toward the goal.” Otherwise, I’d stay in CammyDreamland forever. (Not a bad place to visit for a few minutes each day, but not a great place to live.)

  23. says

    The power of self deception is threatening to take over my life! But I think realizing its self deception is the first step to recovery.

    Loved this post so much, you will be ALL OF THAT and more in the Bay Area

  24. says

    Call it what you will but I simply view it as one of the many ways we convince ourselves to do something. Move to the bay area, in my mind, sounds like an amazing opportunity and I think I’d do the same thing you are.

    I would be trying to redefine myself based on the things I want to do or accomplish.

    I think Self-Deeception is how I’ve made it through marathons, and even child birth. :)

  25. cheryl says

    I don’t believed I have ever “deceived” myself ever…unless you are calling “thinking you can/will do _____” then yes, I have created a mind-set and followed through. Always. Especially in all my tris, marathons, ultras, swims, centuries…I though it was called positive thinking! Silly me.

  26. says

    I get it! Sometimes I force myself to smile the entire drive to work, so that when I get there my mood will be improved 😉 And if not, then at least my fake smile will appear a little more un-forced!

  27. says

    It works for me when I’m sick. I always convince myself that I’m sooooo not getting sick, and after a good night’s sleep I’m usually all better. The hubby doesn’t believe I talk myself out of colds, but it happens every year.

  28. says

    Why yes! I deceive myself all the time! Mainly with overly optimistic lists of what I will accomplish on any given day.
    And this week?
    I will totally rock teddy bear/crow/headstand/handstand/wheel and any arm balance my Friday night yoga instructor throws at me!

  29. Sam says

    I find that ifI say my “goals” out loud to people – like you did in this post – I am more likely to follow through with them. If only initially out of embarrassment that I said I was going to do something and didn’t. This has morphed into a positive way of “tricking” (inspiring) myself into following through with things. Btw – in that vein – I am going to eat healthy and go to my personal trainer twice a week through the new year and in the new year to come. :)

  30. says

    self deception involves asking someone to hide my chocolate stash and then faking it til I make it a full day without craving some! (at least currently) In the past, I’ve always been a fan of faking it until you make it. Worked for me in college!

  31. says

    I think to a degree, self-deception works wonderfully. I used to hate working out, then one day I told myself I was an athlete—and it didn’t take too long before I actually became one!

    The only thing is that you have to be careful not to lose yourself in the process of deceiving yourself! Stay who you are at the core, but just try and polish your habits you want to change up a bit (like organizing, or being social).

    And good luck :)

  32. Ann says

    If it works for you, great! I want to add that I read a study that said that when we claim to do something in the future, we get enough satisfaction from that claim that we feel we’ve already accomplished something, and then are actuallly *less* likely to do the thing. Take it or leave it…

  33. says

    I think I sumbled on to positive self-deception over the weekend. This year has put me through the ringer but I’m still standing. With the holidays coming I feel the need to “quiet down” and it is taking every piece of energy to get through it all.

    We are not the first (nor will be the last) family to have Thanksgiving without our dad. There will be a traditional meal, I’m thinking up crafty ideas for the table setting and dessert…even if its just my mom, sister and I.

    Even if we cry at the table, the best intent is there to be together and thankful for what we have.

  34. says

    Mental game is a huge part of making positive change or being ready to take on something new and challenging. I think this is awesome! And a new city is a great breaking point to reinvent yourself. Austin Quix is very very different than San Diego Quix was!

  35. says

    I am a big believe in fake it ’til you make it. I have been suffering from extraordinarily terrible post-partum depression/anxiety for the past few months, and now that I’ve dug myself out of the hole of darkness and despair, I am trying very hard to do my regular activities and display my regular temperament (i.e. I’m working out, socializing, and smiling until my cheeks hurt).

    Some days it works. Some days it doesn’t, but the days it DOES work tend to be pretty darn good days, and who doesn’t want more of those?

  36. says

    Is there a difference between faking it until you make it and Positive self-deception?

    I say no. In my head I can’t imagine a circumstance to distinguish the two. And all of those things are so very possible here. If you commit to them.

    Don’t know where you will landing gym-wise, but I’m hoping that there’s a day where I lift heavy with your Ren-Man…

  37. says

    I wish I could fake it till I make it a bit more often than I do. I’m working on being kinder to myself and letting myself fake it, even to try it not just make it. Does that make sense?? :) Have a great day Miz C.

  38. says

    Since my advanced degree is in counseling, I of course focus on the research you mention. The good news? It’s all true. Reality is subjective for many things, and if you say you’re going to do X and Y, chances are it will come true, as you now have run pathways to your brain that say you are THAT person. And you have a positive outlook, so you’ll be even more successful. I’ve loved every place I’ve lived, and mourned every place I’ve left. That’s the way it goes, I guess.

  39. says

    Interesting concept! I guess if you don’t ever even believe you can do something there’s no way you actually are going to! I think a little self deception can work out positive! Visualize yourself doing what you think you won’t or cannot and you just might do it!

  40. says

    Moving is such a great time to do all the things you always said you would. Shoot, in just the mere month I’ve been in Austin I’ve done more living than I did in the past few years. I’ve run the mileage I always claimed I would. I’ve gone out and laughed too hard where as I used to make excuses why I couldn’t. I’ve kept my apartment perfectly orderly (which is an accomplishment in apartments the size they are here… haha) etc etc ec.

    You will totally do these things. fresh life, fresh start!

  41. says

    I believe in “fake it til you make it’ to a degree, fake socializing and outings if you are nervous, shy and insecure, definitely. Fake a certain excercise because it’s popular, maybe. You might fall in love with it, you might still hate but continue to do it because its popular. Pick things that push your limits, but that you don’t outright dislike.

    Me – I could never be into silent films no matter how cool they become 😉

  42. says

    I definitely think “fake it til you make it” works! It’s all about changing the thought process until thinking the positive side of things is just habit!

  43. says

    I used to be adamantly against the “fake it till you make it” idea until I realized that I did it unknowingly. Now, I’m a fan, especially when you are aware of what you’re doing and are using it to better yourself or achieve a goal. Your move will be awesome and you will be all that you want to be!

  44. says

    I think any major move across the country depends on a little “make believe” I know that each time we have moved I’ve told myself “it’s going to so easy”, “I’ll make new friends right away”, I will fall right into to place” and, I believe this self talk. When I actually get to the new place, these things happen, but much slower than I envision and that is difficult because then I start to miss the old in the process. A quote I live by… “Dreams don’t work unless I do” I don’t know who said it to quote, but it works. Love ya Momma! xoxo

  45. says

    Oh my goodness this is so perfect- I am the fake it to you make it queen right now.
    I was meeting with a friend I have just recently run into after a few years apart and we were talking about dinner. I said, “What do you want me to cook? Everything I make is fabulous so it is so hard to choose.”
    He told em I seem more self confident or cocky than I used to be.
    However, I have fun with my tongue-in-cheek overly optimistic, slightly to confident, goofy world view and you know what? It makes me happier. Fake away baby fake away!

  46. says

    ahhhh….that picture brings back great memories! :)

    this post was definitely something I needed…..I need to focus on what I want to happen and then it will be. (right??)

  47. says

    You may as well fake it until you make it, especially when it comes to things that you cannot change. Right now I have a big pile of stuff that accumulating in my guest room for my upcoming ownership of a condo in Palm Springs. We have jumped through so many overly regulated hoops, been on a roller coaster of yes’s and no’s and are just plain flustered to the point of anger about why our real estate deal has not closed yet. And still, there is that pile of hope just waiting to be loaded in the car and driven to our place of sun! Without a decent attitude about this I would have just melted into a pile of tears and rage by now, about everything we have gone through. Instead, I have learned: to wait until I can pay cash next time! And that being positive can get you through anything!!!

  48. says

    I haven’t harnessed the power of deception but I’ve kidded myself using the planning process.

    Like you it was also for my move. In my new hometown I was going to be up early every day (and not stay up past midnight). I was going to ‘run’ along the esplanade every morning (eventually being able to wear gear showing above the knee and my bare arms). I was going to eat healthily and dress nicely even while at home.

    And, although it’s only week 2… I’m not doing so well!!!

    Am sure you’ll have more success however!


  49. Michele @ NYC Running Mama says

    I don’t think that there is anything wrong with positive self deception…I do it often and find it motivates me when I’m actually ready to do it…great post, as always =)

  50. says

    I love this! The self-deception stuff is so true. I look forward to seeing Bay Area Mizfit in all her glory.

    I use self-deception to make life happier, and to get through hard workouts. Some days it even works!

  51. says

    This kind of self deception can only be good! There’s no doubt in my mind everything is better when I consciously decide it will be. Its the difference between choosing to smile, choosing to say “I’m great!” even when you might be borderline, choosing to go cup half full even when it definitely feels half empty. Its the power of positive thought that reminds us to be hopeful…hopeful for when we really are smiling without a second thought…when we really do feel great when we answer, and when despite all our best efforts to yield to how we feel vs. what we know…the cup is without a doubt half full. Seems to me if you can harness how you feel after a great workout and aim for that as your bench mark than you’ve got nothing but good ahead of you, even it its new and unsure =)

  52. says

    you may have just peered inside my soul…part of me gave up on things in Miami in the last few months because I know we are moving…somewhere…sometime soon. And in my head I’ll just do these things there, but that’s not entirely true if I don’t develop the habits now I won’t and I realized I am missing out on what I do have right now

  53. says

    I think there’s an important difference between positivity/positive focus and lying to yourself. It is something I have struggled with in the past to my detriment and so instead I make a point of not doing it to myself. I try and reframe things positively and look for the good parts of life. I do what I know is right when it doesn’t feel right. I might count to 10 with a few extra 7s in there if I want to fit in a few reps of something or set a timer for things that I need to do but make me uncomfortable, but I personally can’t do the self deception thing. Sometimes you just have to do what needs to be done, and along the way you discover things you love and discover what you need and want to do. I spent far too much time lying to myself and being miserable. With time and effort it comes to be as it should be :).

  54. says

    I always considered the “fake it till you make it” concept to be more characteristics we want to portray for others to see. When I first opened my practice, I had to act like a doctor, even though I didn’t feel like one.

    Self deception wouldn’t have worked here, I don’t think. Some things you just achieve with time. And I can’t concede that it is healthy to believe something that isn’t true just to make life easier. Most of the population already does this and it isn’t helping. The search for truth is more important.

    Interesting and thought provoking article :)

  55. says

    This is how I run my life. Tomorrow-Khaled will be epic! And so I don’t quite live up to my hopes, I do take some small steps. And I keep my sights high, so I’m always growing.

    It bugs the hell out of my GF and family, but nobody can deny that it works.

  56. says

    I love this! I’m all for it! Great things happen because of optimism and hope! This move will be easy and bring out all your best qualities! :)

  57. says

    You are as adorable as always! Glad to be getting back into the habit of blogging after the life chaos of the past couple of years. Since I’ve had a radical home transplant forced upon me recently, I can relate to the subject at hand, but it’s not a can of worms you want to open with me. Let’s just say there’s a very deep, deep new canyon between my beloved Colorado and Texas where I was dragging my feet the whole way. Now, I know God has a purpose and plan for all things and the joy of the Lord is my strength. That will not change the fact that I hate Texas and always will. And my body is not adapting well to the climate change, but we’re still working on it. So sometimes I fake it and some days I pull the covers over my head and stay in bed and read a good book. Just because I can and no one depends on me for their sustenance! :-)

  58. says

    [doing a dance, doing a dance, doing a dance of joy]

    I hope you like me in person, LOL.

    I think the Bay Area Mizfit sounds awesome! Did someone say endless amounts of socializing and coffee?

  59. says

    How do we get through anything ANYTHING (big moves, marathon, getting married) without a little positive self deception???

    I’m not talking full-out crazy-farm delusion. But a healthy dose of “it’s all going to work out fine” is crucial to doing anything challenging in life, isn’t it?

  60. Tommy Phea says

    For me, counting calories everyday keeps my mind at ease. Every time I don’t count the calories for a food I ate, I feel like I’m cheating myself and can’t stop thinking about it all day. I like counting calories because I try to reach a certain amount everyday so it can favor my body to build muscle. It feels good seeing me meet my caloric needs because I feel like getting closer to my goal every day.