Do we deceive ourselves?

I am currently working through some materials written by John Ortberg, and yesterday I came across a sentence that made me stop short.

He wrote, "Truth confronts the unfortunate tendencies we all have toward self-deception."

Wow!  Do you have a tendency to deceive yourself?  I know I do!

I used to really deceive myself when it came to my finances.

I would deceive myself by making a bad financial decision and then say to myself, "Oh, it's not really that bad.  You will be able to pay for it with your tax refund next year."  By the time the tax refund arrived, I would realize that I had spent 2X that amount – planning on using the tax refund to pay for both.  Self-deception.

I would deceive myself by saying, "I will follow this budget that I put together for this year."  And, then I would not follow the budget.  But I could say that I did have an annual budget!

I would deceive myself by saying, "I have paid off these credit cards.  We are not going to go through this again."  And, guess what?  I would load up the credit cards again.

Let's go back to what John Ortberg wrote: "Truth confronts the unfortunate tendencies we all have toward self-deception."

What were the TRUTHS that confronted my self-deception?

  • The TRUTH is that it really is BAD to spend money you do not have!  Planning on using upcoming payments is not good enough!  The TRUTH is that when you pay cash for items, you will NEVER run into the "Oh no, I have overspent the tax refund" situation.
  • The TRUTH is that a monthly budget that is developed using INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO as its basis will work ONLY when you commit to actually following it!  Developing a budget would be a worthless paperwork exercise for Jenn and I if we were not 100% committed to following it.
  • The TRUTH is that if I have a credit card, there is a HUGE chance that I will run up a balance on it.  I have lost three times with the credit cards.  Getting rid of the credit cards and closing the accounts was a key reason that Jenn and I became and have stayed debt-free.

Call things what they really are.  Ensure you have a truth-teller in your life (spouse, someone who is winning with their money) who will ensure truth is spoken to you.  It really will confront our unfortunate tendency toward self-deception.

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