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Five Signs You’re Lying to Yourself

Dishonesty is a trait that most of us have no problem pointing out in others.
-Aletheia Luna


How can those of us who may suffer from imposter syndrome catch ourselves being less than genuine? Here are some signs that you’re not on the up and up.

As an aside, the graphic above with the red-colored word “lies” in it – seems a bit harsh to me. When we tell white lies, we’re often intending no harm to others (even though it may harm them). However, if caught in a lie that wasn’t intended to harm, others may feel the red:)

I believe most lies are intended to protect, even though lying isn’t the safest way to protect yourself, it can be the default choice, especially for those of us with imposter syndrome.

1. Your feelings don’t match your words.

Are you actually feeling the emotions you express at any given time? When you say you’re angry, are you feeling it? When you express your love, do you actually feel the compelling warmth within? Or are your words empty? Are you expressing the feelings you think others want you to have or are you really moved by the real emotion?

2. Your behaviors don’t match your words.

Before or after the fact, would it cause any problems if a silent movie of your actions were playing alongside your verbal description? When you’re justifying some past behavior, how much of that past behavior is suddenly modified to match your present story? When describing plans for the future, how confident are you in following through?

3. You don’t believe others are telling the truth when it doesn’t serve you

The classic example of this is when someone tells you no. Or breaks up with you. Or disagrees when you’re 100% convinced that you are right. Getting bad news doesn’t always bring out the best in us and one way we cope with it is to deny it outright. We tell ourselves it can’t be true or that others must have an ulterior motive. She doesn’t really want to break up with you! She’s just firing a warning shot. If you shape up a bit, everything will be fine! No. Breaking up is a much safer, and certainly more respectful, bet.

4. It feels like you humor people a lot.

In other words, you feign interest in what other people say, trying not to dose off as they drone on and on….and on and on. You’re not interested, but hey, you can’t imagine what would happen if they found out. So, nod your head and say yeah a lot. But don’t bob your head suddenly in a narcoleptic attack.

5. You’re anxious for no apparent reason.

Maybe you’re anxious because deep down. you know you aren’t being straight with people. This is the part of imposter syndrome that is sometimes accurate. In other words, sometimes we do fake it and don’t want to be discovered. Blatant liars are always worried about being found out. Unwitting liars – those who believe they must fake it – are equally if not more distressed by the possibility of someone discovering the true story behind their words.

Five Signs You’re Lying to Yourself

Mike Bundrant

Mike Bundrant is the author of Your Achilles Eel: Discover and Overcome the Hidden Cause of Negative Emotions, Bad Decisions and Self-Sabotage and co-founder at The iNLP Center which offers online certification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and life coaching.

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APA Reference
Bundrant, M. (2020). Five Signs You’re Lying to Yourself. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 22, 2020, from


Last updated: 30 Jan 2020
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