They say there are no coincidences, and thus my ears perk up when I encounter the convergence of two ideas.
I stumbled across a study showing that people who demonstrate higher degrees of self-deception are more successful in the world. Participants were asked a series of embarrassing questions written to reveal the dark side within us. Those who lied reported being happier and feeling more successful in their pursuits. This went beyond how they felt as they also earned more in their respective roles.
This study converged with a Buddhist principle I studied on self-compassion without self-deception. The belief that if we drench honesty in compassion, we might live a more authentic, loving life. Pema Chodron said “the definition of self confidence is self gentleness.”
If this is true, what do we make of the first study? Have we, as a society, become so inept at self-compassion that self-deception is required to carve a happy productive life? Have we replaced radical acceptance with deceit as a survival skill?
What if we could accept with compassion the whole truth of who we are without self-loathing? What if we were amused by our flaws and forgiving of our failures? What if we met weakness with a heart of curiosity versus a mindset of judgement? Could this impact our joy? Our authenticity? Our results? And what if it had only one impact: self love. Would that be enough?