Self-deception And Suffering…Do we have a choice?

Self-deception and suffering

Self-deception is nobody’s intention yet we allow ourselves to live in its throes without reflecting or contemplating about it. Probably we don’t have any control over delusionary thoughts.

Self-deception may be therapeutic but only for a little while! The longer we choose to hide behind the lies we tell ourselves, the greater is the suffering.

Recently one of my friends was talking in a very depressing tone. My conversation with her revealed the same old dilemma…letting yourself into the realms of expectations and getting drowned in those thoughts.

Thoughts make us what we are. They guide us into unknown territories of depression, which starts slowly. We don’t even realize where we are going. Nobody steps into the dungeon of depression willingly. It just happens.

Most of the time others dominate our thoughts. We are worried about others – our siblings, friends and family. We try to please them when we are growing up. Failure to come up to their expectations may drive us into those moments of melancholy and loneliness. When we don’t share our frustrations, they get deep-rooted.

Those unresolved issues manifest themselves in the most surreptitious manner. We become controlling freaks and don’t even know it. We live in the world of our exquisite expectations, which are sacrosanct to us. We call them our dreams; we present them in the garb of our love and can go to any extent to get them fulfilled.

The clear victims of those expectations have to be our children as they are the most vulnerable, readily available quarries around us. We try to mold them according to our own thoughts, we try to impose our way of living on them and we expect them to follow our diktats.

We forget that they have their own mind. We overlook the fact that we resented all this when we were growing up. We disregard the importance of free thoughts and when they start taking their own decisions, we remind them of our own expectations from them. Our cravings and anger towards them makes us unhappy but we indict them, we rub it on them so much that they start drifting away.

All children drift away as they are guided by their own aspirations. It is not necessary that they should match yours. We worry more about the happiness of our children, forgetting that nobody can give happiness as a gift. Serenity and peace cannot be given, it lies in self-discovery, in acceptance but nothing sinks in when you are mired in angst, unnecessary worry, which does not lead you anywhere.Self-deception quote

Expectations are the biggest culprits as they let us believe the unthinkable. Mindful thinking can only be possible if the person concerned is ready to think otherwise.

Suffering may be inevitable and essential to understand life but self-inflicted suffering, which comes from thoughts can be avoided.

‘Easier said than done’ is the constant refrain to this advice but the moment we say this phrase, we are paving the way for continued anxiety as we assume that it is difficult to attain that state of mind, which can exalt us from self-inflicted thoughts of being miserable.

“Man’s capacity for self-deception is strange.” – Mahatma Gandhi.

A beginning has to be made and only we can make it.

The choice lies with us because the thoughts and expectations are also ours. Negative thoughts take precedence. Let them. When they have poisoned your mind, it is your turn to rebuff them and replace them with generosity, humility and peace. Nurture empathy and self-love.

Some take solace in meditation, others immerse themselves in prayer and some may even derive peace from the fact…life is like that, it throws up various kinds of painful challenges and it is better to accept them than fight.

Yet we have to fight the negative thoughts, which lead us into self-deception.

Thoughts are very powerful. They create; they shape our lives and beliefs. A major part of our personality is molded by our thoughts. Our happiness and success depends on the quality of our thoughts.

Have you ever felt entrenched in the maze of your thoughts? Do you live in the world of self-deception?

Thank you for reading this. Please add your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

If you have liked this article, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Balroop Singh.



38 thoughts on “Self-deception And Suffering…Do we have a choice?

  1. A powerful and evocative post, Balroop. Part of growing up, for me anyway, was recognizing that my perceptions create my reality. Our thoughts are extraordinarily powerful. I’m not sure that we ever are truly free of our perceptions (deceptions), Whether they are negative or positive, they’re always a filtered version of “reality” (whatever that is). 🙂 What we do have is the amazing opportunity to choose and shape our attitudes and thus shape our lives. I think you are right that sometimes this experience only comes with age, and even with experience, we continue to learn. Have a wonderful week, my friend.

    1. I agree with you Diana…we do shape our attitudes but only if we are given the freedom to do so. We allow ourselves to be influenced and moulded by others, sometimes out of love or due to constraints of various types. Thank you for sharing your perspective and I am sure this post is going to evoke many different views. 🙂

      1. I think some of the greatest people of history are those who may not have had control over their circumstances, put chose to maintain control over their attitudes and perspectives – Elie Wiesel and Nelson Mandela come quickly to mind. But they are only two of millions of ordinary people who choose to view the world with compassion, forgiveness and kindness. I think we alway have the freedom to choose our perspective, even in times of suffering. Now, do I complain, blame and gripe? I sure do! But I recognize that as a choice. Your posts are often so thought-provoking, Balroop. I enjoy them immensely.

      2. Thank you Diana…I am feeling so honoured with your beautiful words!
        It is only when we have complained, blamed and struggled with our thoughts that we emerge stronger and determined. Many thanks for adding so much value to this post with your insights. Stay blessed.

  2. Our thoughts are indeed, powerful, Balroop. Your post really got me thinking about how happiness comes from within us. Although we can’t ‘pass it along’ to our children, I believe we can be the spark that helps them find it within themselves. Thanks for the thought-provoking article. Blessings & love. ❤

    1. Yes Bette, we can pass on the spark and the spirit and only hope that it doesn’t get extinguished on the way that meanders and rushes through the lanes of thousands of responsibilities and expectations of others. Thanks for a positive outlook! 🙂 Stay blessed!

  3. Our thoughts are indeed powerful, and how we choose to deal with them becomes the deciding factor on how we function daily. I think it’s a true art to be able to overcome overpowering thoughts of worries and woes and focus on living in the now instead of what might be or what has already happened. Wonderful wisdoms here as always Balroop ❤

    1. I absolutely agree with you dg…attitude matters a lot. Worries and woes are a part of everyone’s life…moving on and focusing on the positive is the right perspective. Thanks for adding your opinion to this discussion.

  4. I remember thinking I’d go mad from the thoughts in my head. But that was many, many years ago. At first I began with positive affirmations, sometimes repeated like mantras, over and over again – even when I was driving somewhere. I’d stroke my opposite arm and tell myself, “It’s all right, sweetie. It’s all right.”

    It took many years, but bit by bit, I accepted my thoughts, I didn’t fight them. I let them in, felt the truth or falsity of them, and let them pass. Bit by bit, I became mindful as only a person can do with themselves (as opposed to others) before the term was ‘a thing.’ I had been beaten down so often in my life that what worked for me was simple and total acceptance. And that has worked to this day.

    Another point: I think there are certain people who are much more ‘head types’ than others, and I am not one of them. Driven by anxiety the way others are driven by need for approval from others or by their passions, I feel especially empathetic toward these ‘head types.’ It must be nearly impossible for them to rein in the mind, though I’ve heard from several I have known that yoga with meditation is key to grounding them in their bodies instead of their heads. I’m grateful to my garden and the quiet existence we have chosen.
    Aloha, Balroop.

  5. I can understand your sentiments so well Bela as I have felt the same at times when I had to calm myself with my own positive thoughts saying… ‘this too shall pass.’ It takes a long time to fight negative thoughts…slowly we learn to deal with them.
    I am glad you could conquer your anxiety by judging your thoughts so well, accepting them and letting them flow out of your life! Thank you for sharing your personal example to illustrate how we can let off suffering that accompanies our thoughts. Stay blessed dear friend.

  6. Another deep, philosophical write from you, Balroop. Self-deception certainly creeps up on us, doesn’t it? It sort of slides into our mind; one negative thought will lead into another and if we are aren’t aware, we will go around in circles with our negative thoughts. It isn’t very healthy if we don’t know how to look out and see the positives and solutions around us.

    “A beginning has to be made and only we can make it.” You said it so well. Each of us has to stand up and make a choice to better ourselves and avoid self-pity all the time. Last year I felt entrenched in my own self-doubt about life and where I wanted to go. I also thought I was an uncommitted writer for having put aside doing my book. It was only at the end of last year when I realised that every thing that didn’t happen doesn’t mean it is the end of the world – rather, there will always be ups and downs in life and there will be moments where it will be better for certain things. I think if we realise we can do what we want to do another time and don’t expect immediate results, then we will go far.

    1. Yes, better ourselves slowly, step by step! Self-doubt haunts all of us at some stage and nobody can help us till we accept it and self-confabulate. Those who are not strong enough to do so need therapists but even they inspire your inner voice to speak up and help you nurture that voice.
      A turbulent life is better than the uneventful one because life is all about learning and moving ahead. Mabel, I am sure you would complete your book and write many more. Don’t you know some of the most successful writers took almost 5 years to complete their book!! My good wishes are with you dear friend. Stay blessed!

      1. “self-confabulate” I learned a new word today, Balroop. Thank you 🙂 Speak up, head down, work hard and may be move forward towards the light.

  7. This talks to me a lot Balroop. I have a hard time letting go of expectations and dreams for my little one. But with each day that passes I understand that he is a free spirit and I have to guide him on the road and not ask him to be the way I wish him to be. It’s not fair.
    I am learning and this is tough lesson…
    But a good one too.
    Take care Balroop. Lots of love from Paris

    1. I am glad you are such an understanding mother Marie. We must have expectations and dreams about our children but leave it up to them to embrace them or abandon them. Freedom of choice is good but too much of everything becomes oppressive and detrimental. Good guidance and value based parenting is always appreciated.
      Thank you for discussing your point of view. Love and hugs dear friend.

  8. Since my divorce I’ve had to be more honest with myself. Self deception was a big part of my life as a young woman. Now, I stop and ask myself if my thoughts are indeed a reflection of my reality or if I’m embellishing them. One way I’ve learned to gain perspective is to isolate my feelings and thoughts from FACTS. What happened. What was said etc. writing down these facts can either confirm my feelings or help me change them. I don’t know if that makes sense but it seems to work for me. Another fabulous post, Balroop. Lots to think about here. Thanks for sharing your wisdom 🙂

    1. I can understand Lisa how one has to live in the world of self-deception, clinging on to hope that a day would dawn when unpleasant circumstances would change…but some hopes are belied! It is better to sift facts from such situations to have a better understanding and I am glad you could develop this skill. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and how self- deception made you stronger. 🙂

  9. I don’t quite agree that a turbulent life is better than a non-eventful one. A life where one has to watch over our shoulders, a life of crime/petty theft to support one’s drug habit, behind bars, domestic violence etc are grime.

    Choices come with consequences.

    1. You are thinking of the extreme examples dear friend…turbulences come everyday even in normal families and some of them are not in our control…people lose their money, people die in accidents, soldiers get killed defending our borders, girls are kidnapped, ill-treated and deprived of basic facilities, young children are pushed into unwanted activities like terrorism…nobody enters into the world of crime willingly!!

  10. Very useful piece of writing on wisdom that ought to accrue and reconstruct one’s being as one ages, if it has not already been part of one’s earlier formation. Thoughts carry energy and are foundational to all actions; thus it becomes imperative that we entertain only good bits of these energies in the living rooms of our minds. My most positive thoughts are winging their way to yours, Balroop, as we exchange views on the very same subject here…

    1. Thank you Raj, I am glad this seems wisdom but I write only from observations and experiences of life, which has seen all those waves of positivity and negativity merging into this mind and wondering what to choose. Strangely, I was always drawn towards positivity despite dark clouds that hovered around me. Writing and reiterating to myself…follow the sunshine has really helped.

  11. “Self-deception is nobody’s intention yet we allow ourselves to live in its throes.” I wish I was better at not doing this. But it’s hard to know when you are, isn’t it?

    1. Sometimes we like sinking into such thoughts to understand certain situations…it is good and beneficial if we possess the skill to jump out.

  12. Self-deception can function as a coping mechanism, and it often takes a jarring upset to sweep the fog away. But then the person is so used to the suffering self-deception can cause, it’s difficult to find a new normal. As always, a thought-provoking post. Thank you.

    1. I agree Jeri, it could be a ‘coping mechanism’ but only for a short while as we have to leap out before we immerse ourselves in self-pity. We have to distinguish between the lies we tell ourselves and the half-truths, which we live with. Thanks for adding your view to this discussion.

  13. This is an excellent piece of writing Balroop.. You are so right about the power of our thoughts and the influences we often unknowingly inflict upon our children.. Just as we were by our parents..
    You have touched upon so many great points here.. And yes we worry I think more about our children’s happiness than our own.. Yet Happiness we can not pass along.. Its a state of BEing that they must discover for themselves.. As our own journey’s allowed us to discover.

    Our Minds are often filled with that inner chatter that we can at times drag us down.. learning to lift ourselves out of that deception and choose brighter thoughts than the ones the world seems to bombard us with today can at times lead our brains to feel overloaded..

    I get to this overload often.. if I am not careful and mindful, and pull myself up.. Which is what I have done recently.. As I caught myself in that woe is me mode..

    So I take myself away, and focus and choose other thoughts, other activities and connect again with my creative side.. There are always two sides. Another perspective.. And I like you choose Love as I try to reshape my thoughts to always try to find the positive..

    Lovely Post and much needed right now..
    Love Sue xxx ❤ xxx

  14. Yes Sue, we have to learn to lift ourselves from the depth of deceptive thoughts by being mindful, by dumping detachment and move step by step towards our own self to look within and discover our own creativity… But before we reach this stage, there is a meandering path we have to cover alone and nurture all those positive qualities of the mind to embrace serenity of sublime thoughts.
    Thank you for your beautiful words, full of solace and appreciation for reshaping thoughts. Love and hugs dear friend.

  15. Balroop, your article takes us on to a path of self-analysis. Our self-deceptions related to all aspects of life are a bitter truth, and yet in this long life, what we think or deduce during one phase of life may not apply to the oncoming time. Certain things remain though. Our habit of over thinking. Unnecessary thoughts without concrete action take us nowhere. We get stuck in time. Over thinking is often about known people we grew up with. Parents, siblings, or others who crossed our path. They have a huge power even after most of our life is spent without them. But after a particular age, we need not be controlled by anyone. Likewise we should avoid controlling others including our children.
    Children become the victims of our expectations. This phrase is an eye opener, as these days I am trying to detach myself more and more to the original concept of my family that I have lived with. Detachment. Life changes and so our happiness should not depend on anyone, and theirs too cannot be created by us.

    1. Yes Alka…life changes but we take a long time to accept those changes! By the time we discover that our happiness doesn’t depend on any body, life fleets by! Self-analysis helps only when we learn to accept the imperfections within us. 🙂
      Thanks for adding so much value to this discussion.

  16. I enjoyed this post so much. Yes, I believe our thoughts shape our existence. Therefore, I think it so important to shape our thoughts to be positive, enriching, loving, and rich in empathy.

  17. No arguing with anything that you’ve stated here, Balroop. I think society as a whole is mildly delusional, largely because of unrealistic expectations resulting from the constant bombardment from various media. One big example is the delusion that all of our children are super bright and worthy of a college education. It’s simply not true. Delusion? You decide. 🙂

  18. Very profound. Perception is reality. I saw a church sign today that read “Worrying is rehearsing for failure.” It’s just so hard to train ourselves to have more productive thoughts.

    1. Thanks for your kind words Stephanie. Welcome to Emotional Shadows. 🙂 We learn everything in a hard way, nothing comes on a platter in life and if it does, we don’t understand its value 🙂

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