If You Want To Know Love, Stop Lying

young couple in love outdoor,illustration,digital painting

“Lies may make people feel better, but they do not help them to know love.” ~Bell Hooks

I was once a liar. I didn’t know I was a liar at the time. I didn’t consciously tell an untruth. Instead, my entire being did.

Lying isn’t just something that is done with words. We can lie with our actions. We can lie with our silence. We can lie with our complicity. We can lie by pretending to be who we aren’t.

I was the lie.

I played dress up for most of my life. It didn’t happen all at once. I didn’t walk into someone else’s closet and come out with a new wardrobe. It happened slowly, over time.

Each time I said or did something that didn’t get approval from the world around me, I chose to pull a garment from the imaginary closet of people who are lovable. By the time I was twenty, my true self was so far hidden that even I didn’t know where she was.

It first began by disappearing. I felt rejected by my peers in grade school. It felt like so much work to be liked and popular. So I decided to give up trying. But instead of just being myself, I decided to hide away. Being unnoticed seemed easier than being seen for who I was.

College was my opportunity to reinvent myself. But when I got there I found out I couldn’t force myself into being outgoing or easily likable. So I turned awkward. I was hyper self-conscious that I was not being myself, but I didn’t know how to let myself just be. So my body got stiff, my movements fidgety, and my voice uncertain.

I began to watch other people and would, in the slightest ways, begin to mimic them. I’d adopt someone’s laugh, another person’s style, and someone else’s slang. This mishmash of what I thought it meant to be likable only kept me further away from the truth of who I really was.

I had friends, but no one really knew me. I was lost and lying about who I was. I pretended like I had it all figured out because admitting that I was clueless would mean my world would come crashing down.

When we build identities for ourselves we can’t risk allowing them to crumble. So we lie. We create more masks to wear and keep ourselves further from the truth. Our egos know that if one brick loosens, everything we’ve worked so hard for will be ruined.

When we choose to deny who we truly are, we are lying. Lying is a choice, one that deeply harms ourselves and oftentimes, those around us. And even though it is a choice, it’s one that is very easy to hide from. In our search for love we will do almost anything to attain our goal even if it means denying ourselves the truth.

The irony, though, is that love itself is impossible without honesty. If you find yourself desperate to know what love really is, take a deep breath and look at how honest you are about you.

Do you really know yourself? Do you share who you are with the world? Are you overly concerned with what other people think about you? Will you change yourself to be accepted by others? These are all great questions to help you recognize how comfortable you are with your true self.

Uncovering yourself is part of the path. It’s okay to share with people that you don’t know. That you’re confused. That you’re lost. That you feel pain. That you’re in the process of getting to know yourself.

You don’t have to use all your energy to put on the facade that you’ve got it all figured out. It’s okay to not have it all together. When you begin to open up and communicate with others about who you truly are, you begin the opportunity to discover what love is.

The people who open their hearts to you will create a beautiful container for love to grow. Those who are triggered by who you are will move their own way. Let them go. Stay connected to your truth and keep sharing with the people in your life.

As I began to test the waters in my friendships I started to open up about my feelings of shame and guilt.

I have one memory of sitting at the kitchen table with a girlfriend and telling her something I had never told anyone. I could feel the space opening between us as she acknowledged my feelings and matched them with her own experiences of similar feelings.

Sharing ourselves allows us to know love. Love makes us feel safe and wanted. It makes us feel connected and like we belong.

We often lie when we’re afraid of the truth. When we lie about who we are, we tend to be afraid that who we are isn’t lovable. If we show our true selves and we aren’t loved and accepted, we don’t know how we’ll recover.

We recover by loving ourselves. But you can’t love yourself if you don’t know who you are. You can’t love yourself if you’re using all your energy to put on an act for everyone else. And other people can’t love you when they don’t know who you are.

So if you want to know love, show yourself. Take off the mask. Let go of all the energy it takes to be someone else and use it to discover who it is you truly are. Love that person up and watch as the world loves you back.

About Michelle D'Avella

Michelle D’Avella is a Breathwork teacher and mentor, giving people lifelong tools to free themselves of limitations and create lives with more peace and purpose. Download her FREE guide to heal your heart and follow her on Instagram for daily doses of inspiration.

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  • Siddharth Karunakaran

    Hi Michelle, I really liked your article and learnt a lot from it. There is a correction I’d like you to make. Please see the addition of a comma in this sentence.
    Our egos know that if one brick loosens, everything we’ve worked so hard for will be ruined.
    Thank you.

  • Added! Thank you for pointing this out, Siddharth.

  • Thank you!

  • katie

    This article was beautiful, Michelle. Thank you for baring your soul, sharing your experiences, and spreading the love, hope, and worthiness we all yearn to know. Just moments before opening my email (to find this gem waiting for me), I had been thinking about my struggle with self-worth. As I listened to coworkers laughing and mingling down the hall, I was overcome with doubt that I could ever be part of that and shame that the person I am is not worthy. Your articles (yes, plural – as other recent articles you’ve written have been just as impactful) have been important to my journey and I just want you to know how valuable your writing is. Many thanks, katie

  • Thank you so much, Katie. I’m honored to have been part of your journey. I know the path to self-worth can be a challenging one. You are worthy, and I am rooting you on to connect to that truth within you. <3

  • Gina L

    I would just like to say, this article could not have been any more fitting for the timing as to where I am at in my 25th year of life. Oh man, did it pull on some heart-strings and make me smile. You are wise, honest, and I am grateful to have stumbled upon your inspiring journalism!

    Thank you, Gina L

  • I actually really like this post. It covers how to not be a liar period.

  • Thank you, Gina! So glad it reached you at the right time. So appreciate your words.

  • RonL

    awesome article thanks Michelle!

  • ShaunTheCHB

    Hi there Michelle, this was an interesting article. I have some thoughts I do wish to share and I apologize if this is very pessimistic. But, the thing is, by me putting on a façade, people actually seem more interested in me. I have often been told by people who were my friends that my real self is boring and weird. I have also been called horrible names by various women when I would try dating which ruined my self love and confidence in myself. One lady in particular compared me to getting cancer and dying from it, saying that would be a better fate than going out on a date with me. After being made to feel so worthless, I killed off my true self and embrace a fake self that is mean and quite nasty to people. Now amazingly, people actually want to be my friend and I have even been asked out on a date, despite the fact that I am now withdrawn and very bitter towards others. I really hate being this way and I really wish someone out there would love and accept me for who I am instead of expecting me to be something I am not. But, I can’t go back now. The world wanted me to become a cold monster, so I have became one. The mask is attached firmly and I highly doubt I can ever love myself again.
    I’m really glad for you though, that you were able to find a way to remove your mask and find yourself again. Thank goodness and congrats. Thank you for reading this to the end if you did….I’ll stop now or else this will be the size of a novel.

  • Debby

    Hi Lori!
    Everything you said, I feel like I’m in the same boat.
    The real me is lazy but also very ambitious when I’m focused.

    But since I knew I had ADD (deep down I always knew there was something different about me that I had to change for others)
    I little by little felt the shame of not doing my full potential and the mask of being as others break down.

    Knowing yourself really is a relieve,
    Thank you

  • Thanks, Ron!

  • Hey Shaun,

    First, I’m so sorry to hear about your awful past encounters. I know how damaging that can be. I believe that the more we share the true love and goodness within us the more we attract those kinds of people in our lives. That has been my experience.

    I also believe there is a part of you (even if very small) that doesn’t believe that you will never be able to love yourself otherwise I don’t think you would have made your way to this article. There are many resources on this site, mine, and many others to help you on the journey to healing your pain if you choose too, and I hope you do.

  • Hi Debby!

    I actually wrote this article. Thank you for your words. Knowing yourself is a huge relief, and I hope you’re finding yourself more and more connected to that part of yourself.

  • Katherine

    Shaun, you had the balls to honestly write this (I would start loving myself again with that right there…)

    You were open enough in this to express how hurtful and painful the above experiences were for you, and I can relate (with being both the person to say another is boring and weird, and the receiver recently of the same comments.)

    I was that person. I still am pessimistic and fatalistic sometimes, but also because (and reading your comment, I kept thinking you should be gentler on yourself – which means I could do with being a bit gentler on myself too…) our social conditioning demands this and NONE of us are immune to the sheer amount of work that goes into keeping us from discovering love (within and for the collective, and each other).

    We say boys will be boys or all of the other crap we get falsely taught, missing the point that we tell men they are not allowed to simply be. Then we force them to deny their emotions and feelings, condition them not to cry, and punish them – when their body has no other outlet to regulate their emotions – and they are give no healthy guidance on how to express their feelings WITHOUT resorting to violence or shutting down / being cold, because ‘that’s gay.’ You feel bitter because you are being denied your God given right to feel and BE.

    Whoever wants to be friends with a person you don’t like being, isn’t your friend, they are a distraction from preventing the awareness and path you are already on to get back to your higher self. Be brutal in your ability only to be around those who positively encourage your weirdness – who let you be. No amount of shitty fake plastic trees, makes up for one real one, encouraging you to surpass the shitty conditions the domination of the divide and conquer rule, doesn’t want to see you realize.

    We struggle together and you aren’t numb yet. Know that that is your greatest strength and that you do deserve better (and so do the people saying your true self is boring or weird, because that’s their projection onto you of their rejected selves, because in a world were simply BEING is a radical act, where kindness or empathy is prohibited – and were we are conditioned to defend a lie, reject ourselves and each other, and forced to endure constant exposure to brutality and inhumanity, your reply touches the heart of this – that yes, you being you is revolutionary.

    Its a billion dollar industry to get us all (as the human race) to hate ourselves, reject and abuse each other, suppress our humanity and believe that a fake self is better than our ability to be and love ourselves and one another!It also requires time and commitment to our collective oppression, to abuse our natural strengths and abilities, so we believe material stuff and fake selves, are better than our truth, love and ability to collectively unite. We are all pitted against each other – though at no real benefit of anyone (and we all are denied our humanity in this world, and prevented from simply being HUMANS)

    You aren’t a cold monster (cold monsters are too afraid to ACTUALLY feel and being an angry monster is a safe disguise from paralysing fear the monster generally doesn’t have the balls to even admit) Your strength is in expressing this vulnerability and understand the threat you pose to those lacking the feeling (or ability) to even ACKNOWLEDGE all that you have in the above? Give yourself the chance of seeing what else is underneath the mask before you resign yourself to being around those who may not even have anything to reveal yet behind theirs – you could even be the least boring and best kind of weird – find what you love about what you are so someone else can too:)

  • Katherine

    Beautifully eloquent article, thank you for sharing your writing <3

  • Thank you!

  • ShaunTheCHB

    Hello Michelle, Thank you. It is very damaging. I wish I could believe that goodness attracts good people because I have seen the polar opposite. Being good and kind only made people nasty to me and treating me like a toy, like I was expected to do this or that. It attracted bad people to me who sort to twist and manipulate me. When I became meaner and crueler, people gave me respect, they got out of my way at work, would not mess with me and gave me credit for things, they still do.
    I’m am willing to try, but I’m looking for a sign, something to tell me that it’s ok for the real me to come back out. If I get that sign, I will know that it’s worth it. Perhaps I will find it here…..I hope.

  • ShaunTheCHB

    Hello Katherine, wow, I did not expect such an incredible and deeply written reply. It must have taken you some time to write, I thank you for that. Yes, I am very pessimistic and at times fatalistic as well, I do sometimes believe that it’s just my fate to be this way and stop hoping for a better tomorrow. Just accept the bad hand I have been dealt, so to speak. I try not to be a “woe is me” type of person though, cause I do know it could be a billion times worse and there are people out there who are literally going through hell and things that defy all my knowledge and experience. I am my own worst enemy and am most definitely the harshest of voices towards myself. I do agree that society and the media does not help my situation in any way.

    I assume by your name that you are a woman, if that is the case, I am very glad to read from a woman’s perspective about the disturbing “conditions” society places on men and women and what they are supposed to be and act like. Let me be clear, I am not a misogynist or lady hater or anything of that negative nature, but this is something that has greatly frustrated and disturbed me for a long time. When I would ask my colleges (before I became who I am now) why I was getting such horrible comments from women when all I said was “hello”, they always said to me, “you gotta be nasty, you have to be a jerk and selfish, go up and grab and make them know who’s boss, that is what women like and what they want”. I was shocked by this and I thought “surely that can’t be true”. Who in their right mind wants to be treated bad by purpose? But yet, time and again, what I saw would prove that hideous stereotype to be the truth. I saw men who were absolutely vulgar in the treatment go up to the same women who massacred me and call them names and pretty much threaten them (I won’t repeat what they said, cause it’s despicable), only to be greeted with smiles and laughter in return. They liked it!! After seeing this, I have all but given up now. I refuse to act in such a terrible way towards women and if that means I will be alone forever, then I guess life is gonna be pretty lonely then. I can’t help but feel a tad bitter toward the female gender these days, I know not all feel like that (at least I hope), but still…a tad bitter. I hope you understand. If I offend, then my apologies, it was not my intent to do so. I just had to say it. Better to be honest than to lie to you.

    I look at distractions as an easier way of getting me through this journey called life. I get your point that it’s not the real thing, but I digress….what actually is “the real thing”? I really do not know.
    I would not say I deserve better, I try not to toot my own horn, but it would be nice if I could see that there is someone or someone’s out there that are good people who want me to be me and will love and accept me. But I don’t know if they exist for sure. I have to see to believe.

    Yes, you are correct, the media and business makes millions trying to get people to change who they are and they are succeeding very well at it.

    Maybe referring to myself as a cold monster was a stretch but you get my point, it’s the changing of my personality into something really negative that seems to be the accepted norm. I worry that eventually, I will become so cold that even if someone kind and loving etc. comes along, it will be too late for anyone to do anything about it. I will become like a zombie. As for loving who and what I am, that’s a whole other story in itself.

  • Victoria

    Thank you for this. ❤

  • My pleasure.

  • Frazer McLeod

    Brilliant article, can definitely relate to this. Thank you so much for sharing – kind regards!

  • stephanie mack

    This post was so DEAD ON..til i jumped up off of my couch to stand up and continue reading.You’ve just described what has been written n my journal for years!Im going through the process of elimination n my life and getting reaquainted with myself because i lost her somewhere off the beaten path years ago.This is wonderful. Excellent post