Never Underestimate the Insecurity of a Human Being

Robert Terson

Every day there are stories in the news about people lying re their educational achievements, business successes, military service, income levels, and in thousands of other aspects of their lives too numerous to list in a single blog post.

Here are some fascinating statistics re lying from Little White Lies: The Truth About Why Women Lie,, Newsweek:


Percent of adults who admit to telling lies “sometimes” or “often” 12 %
Percent of women who admit to occasionally telling harmless half-truths 80 %
Percent of people who admit to lying on their resumes 31 %
Percent of patients who lie to their doctor 13 %
Percent of patients who “stretched the truth” to their doctor 32 %
Percent of patients who lied about following a doctors treatment plan 40 %
Percent of patients who lied about their diet and exercise regiments 30 %
Percent of people who lie at least once during a 10-minute conversation 60 %
Average number of lies per day by men to their partner, boss, or colleagues 6
Average number of lies per day by women to their partner, boss, or colleagues 3


Why do they do it? Why do they risk being caught and branded as a liar? Why do they have such a fearsome need to embellish reality? Why isn’t who they really are good enough? Why isn’t their authentic self good enough?

I think the answer to those questions can be summed up in a single word: insecurity. Or as my father used to say, “Never underestimate the insecurity of a human being.” We all have our insecurities, and when we compare ourselves to our subjective view of others, we continually come up short. So, to put ourselves on an even keel with these other people, we create a false identity, a false reality.

Think of the peacock spreading his feathers.

Shakespeare said: “This above all: to thine own self be true, 
And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

In other words, be true to yourself and you won’t be false to others; and the only way to be true to yourself is to fully accept yourself unconditionally. That’s the answer, the solution, to all your insecurities—unconditional self-acceptance. It’s never in the acceptance/approval of external forces. Trying to establish your worth from external sources is a never-ending fools’ journey. You either give this precious gift to yourself or you’ll never be at peace. You either give it to yourself or you’ll forever be false to yourself, which means you’ll forever be false to others.

Unconditional self-acceptance doesn’t mean that you’re not ambitious, that you don’t want to be more; you’re entitled to be all you can be, to pursue greatness. Unconditional self-acceptance just means that who you are, where you are in life, is good enough; you don’t have to make it out to be more than it actually is.

Keep that in mind the next time you’re tempted to tell someone you went to Harvard and got an MBA in marketing, instead of the junior college you actually attended; or that you got shot in Viet Nam, instead of never even being in the military; or that you’re earning a million-dollars a year, instead of…

You’re good enough. Never forget that!