Why would people deceive themselves? What is the mental architecture that enables the same person to be both deceiver and deceived? How does self-deception manifest itself
psychologically? And how do these three questions interrelate? Can self-deception sometimes be the key to human happiness or will self-deception always lead you to misery and ruin, at least in the long run?
“Above all, don't lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky
“Human behavior is regulated by self-sanctions, not just by social ones. Unless self-deceivers are devoid of moral standards, they have to live with themselves as well as with the social reactions of others to deceptive conduct. The maintenance of positive self-regard while behaving harmfully is a strong motivator for self-exoneration. Self-deception serves as a means of disengaging moral self-sanctions from detrimental conduct. The social cognitive theory of moral agency specifies a variety of psychosocial mechanisms by which individuals convince themselves that they are doing good while inflicting harm on others (Bandura 1999). By these means, otherwise considerate people can behave inhumanely without forfeiting their sense of self-worth. Self-serving rationalizations and interpretations of our own behavior allow us to preserve our rosy views of ourselves and our prospects. Among other rationalizations, individuals reduce cognitive dissonance to uphold their views of themselves as moral and competent .
People engage in moral hypocrisy, whereby they convince themselves that their selfish behaviors are acceptable (e.g., Batson & Thompson 2001) and judge their own immoral behavior as less egregious than that of others “ You can read more here: http://homepage.psy.utexas.edu/HomePage/Faculty/Swann/docu/brooks-swann.pdf