It can be easy to justify not telling the truth to others but a lot of the time we are even deceiving ourselves.

One thousand lies I have told this week. No sweetie, you don't need to worry about Ebola. My new sparkly YSL boots were on sale. It's no trouble making something gluten-free. Oh, the tooth fairy must have been extra busy last night. Of course I'll meet my deadline. Sorry, I know it's an eyesore but this is the week I will finish painting my fence.

So many lies just tumbling out of my mouth, and not just to gullible kids. We tell politicians we want the gnarly unvarnished truth, yet we lie and we lie and we lie, to others and to ourselves.

I have only recently become aware how thoughts are just thoughts: they only have whatever meaning you give to them. They are not necessarily true. Sometimes they are lies.

Strangers sometimes come up to me and say they have read my columns and they feel they know me. A supermarket checkout operator asked me, with the loveliest bedside manner: "How are you doing now, dear? I read all about your troubles."


It is kindly meant, but it makes me feel like a fraud. Far from being an oversharer, I wonder whether I censor the most important things.

For example, although I live alone with my two kids, I have a partner, who most of the time doesn't seem to mind he never gets a mention in here. Maybe I don't talk about him because it doesn't really enhance my solo-mother-with-kids image, or because something has to be private. And there are other things I don't write because they make me seem like a dick. I'm nervous to tell you I've got terrible sunburn on my right shoulder from driving around with the top down on my new car, a Mercedes convertible.

Doesn't that make me sound like a repulsive "neo-liberal" bourgeois Parnell-dwelling matron? My socialist parents who drove a 1972 Ford Cortina station wagon for 30 years would be horrified. Still, I may be the only Merc driver in Parnell who wears roman sandals. Life is confusing.

The point is, none of us really tell the truth and none of us know who we are, let alone who anyone else is. Yes, even you.

Deborah Hill Cone in the new Mercedes convertible she's embarrassed about mentioning in case she seems like a
Deborah Hill Cone in the new Mercedes convertible she's embarrassed about mentioning in case she seems like a "dick".

This week I went to the 50th birthday party of someone I had never met. Oh, I went as a friend's plus-one; I wasn't a gatecrasher, even though it would have been tempting since it was at The French Cafe. At the party, I came second in a trivia quiz to ascertain how well you knew the birthday boy - I scored ahead of his wife. See, who really knows anyone?

Guessing is as good a way as any. Every notion I had about anything, turns out to be in doubt.

Here's one: the idea that every bad emotion I have felt is due to some underlying trauma and by working through it I would get to the truth about myself.

Actually, sometimes you just feel bad because you feel bad, and you reverse-engineer the reason why to justify it.


What I'm getting at is that we're often poor judges of our own emotions and desires. We tell ourselves things to feel better. We may not know precisely what we're lying to ourselves about, but it's safe to assume that some bit of what we consider "truth" today is likely nothing more than a defence against some deeper meaning which is painful to accept.

What lies do you tell yourself? Here are some: I don't have a choice. (You always have a choice.) If I only had 'X' I'd be happy. (You wouldn't. Our brains are wired for dissatisfaction.) I can change him or her. (You can't.) I'm too old or too young. (You're not.) I don't judge people. (You do.)

The sparkly new boots that weren't on sale at all.
The sparkly new boots that weren't on sale at all.

When you can face up to painful things, it is like a soothing balm to the soul. And that is not a lie. But my sparkly boots were full price.

Stick to what you are good at

If at first you don't succeed, do have another try if you really want to, but otherwise give up and go and find something you're better at.

That is my mantra as the most unsporty human ever. I have been interested in the debate about the Howick Pakuranga Principals' Association introducing a Fair Play Charter to East Auckland Primary Schools.

Coaches are encouraged to intervene if two mismatched teams are playing each other and one is getting wildly thrashed by the other. If there is a huge gap of points, good players from the winning team can be put into the losing team. This sounds like more humiliation to me.

My fellow columnist Kerre McIvor made the expected "PC gone mad" point that children need to learn there are winners and losers in life, and sometimes they will lose. In my experience as the mother of young children, life is full of setbacks and failures all on its own; it is unnecessary to manufacture extra pratfalls. And it's not as simple as a Darwinian survival-of-the-fittest attitude would suggest.

At least, not for the "losers", a group with whom I identify. As I can attest, if you never get any positive feedback at something, you will give up rather than carry on being beaten.

Maybe some of the useless kids don't even want to play sport. I was determined that my kids would not be put off doing sports just because of their parents' handicap in that area, but of their own volition they just don't like doing it, possibly because they have little natural ability. I don't think I learned any character-building lessons from being the most useless player in the F netball team at Melville Intermediate.

Nevertheless, a Fair Play charter wouldn't have been any help. I would have hated to have been the muppet who was swapped and had to play on the team with the really good players! I can't think of anything more stressful: and of course they wouldn't have wanted me either.

Life is too short to persevere at something you are no good at. You need to put your energy where your passion is. If that is sport, great; but if it's not, there are lots of other, more interesting things you can do.