Dr. Cortney S. Warren, PhD, ABPP

CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST • RESEARCHER • AUTHOR • SPEAKER

cortney warren

Dr. Cortney S. Warren, PhD, ABPP

CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST • RESEARCHER • AUTHOR • SPEAKER

Lying & Self-Deception

From seemingly small, white lies to full-blown, criminal confabulations, humans are master liars.

For example, most people believe that they are better than average drivers, which is clearly not statistically possible! People lie on their taxes and justify it in a myriad of ways, such as telling themselves that the government gets enough money and no one will ever find out. And they lie in their online dating profiles—about just about everything!

"The bigger the brain,
the larger the capacity to lie."

~ Murali Doraiswamy, MD

Do We Really Lie That Often?

We don't just lie in bold-faced, deliberate ways. More commonly, and actually more dangerously, we lie to ourselves. Self-deception is fooling ourselves into believing things that are false or refusing to believe things that are true. And we do it regularly—without knowing that we are doing it.

For example, we lie to ourselves about how much we really ate today and why we didn’t list our actual height and weight on our driver’s license. We lie to reflect our aspirational goals; although we tell ourselves that we are not going to drink tonight, when we arrive at the party and everyone else is drinking, we have at least 3 glasses of wine.

Lying for Social Appropriateness

We lie to reflect our desire to maintain social appropriateness: upon running into an acquaintance at the grocery store, we say,  “You really look fantastic!” even though he or she has never looked so unhealthy. Yet, we tell ourselves that it is okay to lie because we don’t want to seem rude.

Stuck in a Rut of Self-deception

The problem is that self-deception keeps you stuck—it keeps you from growing and from creating your ideal life. It affects your career success, your relationships, your happiness, your income, and even your physical health.

We lie about our most important life choices, such as why we married who we did or chose a given career path. Unfortunately for the romantics reading this, love is rarely the full motivation for those choices.

Because you can’t change something you can’t admit.

And at the end of the day, self-deception can leave you with tremendous amounts of regret.

But there is hope. You can learn to see how you lie to others—and to yourself. And you can change. Using the 3 A’s to Authenticity—Awareness, Assessment, and Action—I give people the tools and encouragement to improve their lives by choosing to be more honest with themselves.

I can teach you:

  • Common ways we lie to ourselves

  • To detect how you lie to yourself and where it keeps you stuck

  • To understand why we lie to ourselves and how it hurts you

  • How to become more honest using the 3 A’s of Authenticity

  • How to empower yourself and create your ideal life using honesty

Cortney Warren

For more information on Dr. Warren’s work on Lying: