In most situations, the reason we tell others, the reason we tell ourselves, and the real reason all have truth to them. The reason you tell others is always legitimate, however, it is not always fully true. The reason we tell ourselves might very well be true but it all depends on how well you can lie to yourself because when it comes down to it, the real reason is sitting in the back of your mind laughing at the reasons you tell others and yourself.
The real reason is perhaps a bit shameful which is why you’ve chosen to push it into the back of your mind. The reason you tell yourself is always much more positive and socially acceptable. The reason you tell others and the reason you tell yourself can potentially gang up on the real reason and push it so far out of the way that you can almost forget it’s even there. I use the word ‘almost’ because if we are actually being honest with ourselves, you know the real reason is always there. The real reason comes out of hiding when you go into hiding. When you are alone and are one hundred percent sure no one could possibly see you, the real reason reveals itself. It wins the war every time because it’s the truth and the truth always comes out eventually.
People typically prefer the reasons you tell them over the real reason, which is why you continue to tell them these reasons instead of telling them the real reason. If you were to actually tell someone the real reason, it is likely that they won’t understand. This is because the real reason comes from a darker place inside of you that you rarely ever show people for fear of being rejected. The real reason never comes from that socially acceptable part of you.
Let’s put an example to it.
Going on a run: the reason we tell others. We tell others we are going on a run because it is a goal of the season or a new years resolution. We tell others we want to get back in shape, which is actually a strange reason if you think about it. It seems we are always trying to get back into shape but the definition of being in shape has most likely gone askew over the years. For me, I was in my best shape in the beginning of junior year in high school. I could run a mile close to seven minutes and comfortably play a ninety minute soccer game. Now, if that’s when I peaked, couldn’t it be argued that I’ve been trying to get back in shape for the past four years? That’s a little ridiculous and not to mention entirely unnecessary. There is no reason for me, in the lifestyle I currently live, to run a mile that fast. So then at what point would I consider myself to be in shape again? However, people like this reason. If you tell someone you are going on a run to get back into shape, they might take it as inspiration for themselves (or the reason they tell themselves) to go on a run. It’s an easy enough reason that is guaranteed acceptable. People normally won’t further question you if this is what you tell them. And isn’t that the whole point of the reasons we tell others, so they won’t push us further to reveal the real reason?
Going on a run: the reason we tell ourselves. These reasons are almost always filled with inspiration. The reasons you tell yourself to go on a run are for the purpose of actually getting up and doing it. The Pinterest Health & Fitness category is packed with reasons we tell ourselves to go on a run. The main one being, “so I can look like that girl.” The internet is filled with beautiful people in adorable workout clothes. These people are the backdrop for quotes such as, “that feeling you get after a hard workout” and “no matter how slow you go, you’re still lapping everyone on the couch.” The reason you tell yourself to go on a run is truthful. Yes, you do actually want to “look good, feel good”, be “happy and healthy, and “fit and beautiful”. But alas, it is really no different from the reason you tell others and neither of these reasons are the real reason.
Going on a run: the real reason. You think you’re fat. There are areas on your body that hold more weight than you’d like. The problem with this reason is that even though it is the ultimate truth, it is the truth only you believe. The real reason might not be true to anyone else. If you told others this reason, they would argue and say that you are not fat. And sure, comparatively speaking you are probably not fat. Being fat is a reason much too overwhelming to tell yourself. If you told yourself you were going on a run because you were fat, you would be incredibly unsatisfied with the pace of the results. You keep this real reason hidden so far in the back of your mind for fear that it will break down every ounce of confidence you’ve been trying to gain back since puberty. If being fat was the reason you told others and the reason you told yourself, you wouldn’t have much of a social life. The low self-esteem would stop you from doing many activities and people wouldn’t want to be around you because they would get sick of always trying to argue that you are not in fact fat. So this real reason only comes out of hiding when you’re alone. Perhaps you’re about to get into the shower and you quickly glance at yourself in the mirror. Your eyes are automatically drawn to the place you hate the most. Or you’re in a dressing room trying on a shirt that looked way better on the mannequin but you didn’t know that until you had three mirrors highlighting your body at all the wrong angles. You’re friend is waiting for you outside of the dressing room though so you shove the real reason, that you think you’re fat, to the back of your mind, put on your shirt, remind yourself of some Nike or Gatorade ad you saw on the internet, walk out of the dressing room, and tell your friend you want to go on a run because you ate so much today and it’s time to get back into shape for the new school year or something like that.