The truth will set you free. – John 8:32

I’m not one to quote chapter and verse often (ever), but this tidbit is too wise to ignore.

I am taking it entirely out of context here so if you want to tell me where it fits into Scripture, please feel free.

But aside from all that—yes, yes, yes.

And I’m not talking about that tangled web we weave when we lie to other people. That’s a whole other mess. I’m talking about the lies we tell ourselves—the most powerful, potent, and difficult to address lies.

Lies like, “I’m happy.”

Or, “I have a great job that I love.”

Or, “If I had a different relationship, I would be happy.”

Or, “If I do things this way, I can keep everyone happy.”

Or, “I’m OK as long as you’re OK.”

Lies, lies, lies.

Not always, of course. Sometimes we really do love our great jobs.

Other times, however, we know a job is great but we still don’t love it, no matter how many times we tell ourselves what a great job it is and how we should love it.

And sometimes we look at our lives and see nothing objectively wrong, but we can’t fight the feeling that something is terribly wrong. And yet we tell ourselves we’re happy because we think we should be happy.

And then we are trapped in the lies we tell ourselves. No change is possible if a problem is unacknowledged. If the lies we tell others are a tangled web, the lies we tell ourselves are a prison.

The truth can be scary. It might require change. Big, intimidating change that we would much prefer to avoid. The truth might not be pretty. It might be something about ourselves we have been trying to ignore. The truth might be inconvenient, throwing a monkey wrench into plans we thought were on track. (“But I don’t want to go to medical school.”)

Once we admit the truth to ourselves, though, the heavy weight of the lie we’ve carried is lifted. And when we tell that truth to others, the relief is greater yet.

Unfortunately, admitting the truth is just the beginning of taking hold of your freedom. There will probably be all kinds of other emotions and situations to work through first. The truth is plain, but not easy.

Or, as Gloria Steinem said, “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”

Photo of woman jumping on the beach is available  from Shutterstock.



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    Last reviewed: 20 Nov 2012

APA Reference
Dembling, S. (2012). To Tell (Yourself) The Truth. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 29, 2015, from



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