Self-Deception is the Worst Deception

You know what really sucks? Self-deception.

Why do we lie to ourselves? Is it because of fear? Anxiety? Hesitancy? What are we really getting out of this?

Due to self-esteem and confidence issues, I lie to myself often. One lie that I keep reminding myself about is a lie from last semester.

When I was accepted into graduate school, I was flooded with emotions. Excitement, yes. But, unfortunately, one of those emotions was self-doubt. I repeatedly thought to myself, “Grad school is a big deal. Am I grad school material?”

I took my first two classes and did well, which eased my feelings of doubt and fear, however, last semester, those feelings changed. One of the classes I was taking was Social Justice, Welfare Policy, and Professional Legacy. The name of the class made me want to throw up. I repeatedly told myself that I knew nothing about social welfare policy and began to feel as though I was not smart enough for this class.

These feelings turned into actions during the semester, which made me begin dreading going to class. I refused to raise my hand or participate much in group activities because I told myself that I was not as smart as the other students. In my mind, I was the dumb one.

Being that this class was about policy, there were very interesting hot-topics being covered, which were always followed by open discussions. I love open discussions in a classroom, and part of me wanted to voice my opinion and talk with my classmates, but the lies I was telling myself took over and told me that I was too stupid to hold an intellectual conversation with them, so I very rarely participated in these discussions.

All of these self-deprecating thoughts caused me to have an extreme amount of stress and anxiety during the entire semester. I made each assignment more difficult than it actually was by reminding myself that I was not smart enough to do the work, which resulted in a ridiculous amount of late nights in the library and all-nighters.

Let’s fast forward to the end of the semester. When I checked my email for my grades, I was shocked when I saw that I received a 4.0! I was beyond thrilled because I have not received many 4.0’s in college, and the fact that I did in grad school made me feel like I was on top of the world.

**Cue more self-ridiculing thoughts**

Nowhere to lie, not even a few minutes after celebrating my grades, I began to tell myself that there was no way that I earned a 4.0. I began recalculating my assignment grades from my classes and questioning if both my professors made a mistake.

{Insert exaggerated eye roll/face palm}

As I write this, I struggle with the fact that I actually questioned my intelligence and ability to earn a 4.0. However, even though I look back on this experience with annoyance and I acknowledge that I was lying to myself, I can not say that I won’t do this again, because I’m human, but that does not mean that I have to accept these lies and make them true.

Last semester did not need to be so stressful. I made it that way. This semester, I am going to be more confident and remind myself that I am in graduate school because I am smart enough and I am good enough. No one, not even myself, will tell me otherwise.

Sometimes, we are our own worst enemies in life. We tell ourselves lies and then we believe them, even though deep down we know they are exactly that – lies. It’s time to stop the self-deprecating talk, and believe in ourselves, because if we don’t, who will?



Olivia DelVecchio

Olivia has her bachelor's degree in Human Development & Family Studies, with a minor in Psychology, and she is currently working towards a master's degree in Social Work.

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