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We live in a world where it’s hard to trust people even those closest to us. And yet, we often trust someone’s review on Amazon without batting an eye. We live in a world where an individual puts on a mask so they can feel good about themselves. And yet, we believe the words that come out of their mouth more than we trust what we see in their behavior. Because it is easier to admit something pleasant than something painful.

Nobody wants to hear that they are not good enough and it hurts, even more, when somebody offers you feedback about yourself that is unflattering and painful. There is a woman in the United States who has labeled humans as “Honest liars” and, trust me, her concept is ridiculously awesome.

Dr. Cortney Warren

A clinical psychologist, researcher, author and a speaker, Dr. Cortney Warren was born to two college professors. Before she turned 20, she had traveled to several countries and was fascinated by the cultures, food and new environment. More so, she was intrigued and mesmerized by human nature. “The more you can understand yourself, and the more you understand people around, the more successful you are going to be whatever you do,” she said. Know thyself is her mantra in life.

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As a child, Cortney had a tough time getting close to people. She grew up believing that people are not trustworthy and would always leave her. And she struggled greatly because of it – especially in her romantic relationships. She didn’t have trouble finding new people in her life to date, but getting close to people was incredibly hard and challenging for her. At the time, Cortney believed that her difficulty with intimacy was her partner’s fault, she began to realize that problem was fundamentally hers. As she went through high school and college, she realized the only way she would improve her relationship was to understand herself at a deeper, more fundamental level.

Dr. Cortney Warren

To help her on this journey, Cortney looked to the field of Psychology to understand herself, her family and culture/social learning.

After graduating with a bachelor degree from Macalester College, she completed a doctorate in clinical psychology at Texas A&M University. She worked to understand human nature and what motivates people’s behavior. She also applied her formal academic knowledge to her own life and heal some of the baggage she brought to her adult romantic relationships.

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One of the Cortney’s most profound learning was that she had to admit the reason she didn’t trust others had nothing to do with them – it had to do with her own beliefs and thoughts about relationships that she internalized from the early age. In other words, the trouble was not in people but in her own mindset. As Buddha famously said, “All that we are is a result of our thoughts.” So, she actively chose to change her behaviors, beliefs, and thoughts. After shifting her focus, she became an indomitable researcher and clinician.


After graduating with her doctorate, she followed her parent’s footsteps and took an academic job in the Department of Psychology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. After earning tenure in 2012, she made the very uncommon choice to quit and pursue a career that would allow her more interaction with the public. It was not easy for her to quit a secure academic position, as she faced a tornado of self-doubt and uncertainty about her future. She was confronted with questions like, What will I do if I quit? What will my family say? What if my new career doesn’t take off? Despite her fears, she chose to quit her job and take a leap of faith for one very clear reason: She didn’t want to regret staying in a career that was no longer fulfilling.

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Her story resonates with so many individuals as 85% of people hate their job. It takes a lot of courage and grit in pursuing the things which you’re passionate about.

The truth is that Cortney is absolutely enamored with the field of Psychology, partly because it was essential to her own understanding of herself. Yet, academia was no longer a career that fit her passion.

Dr. Cortney Warren

Cortney now helps people, – who are stuck in isolation and are heartbroken to overcome such psychological challenges. For example, when it comes to the relationship after the break up, you may hear people perceive like this, “I’m not going to find someone else,” “I’m not attractive enough, that’s why my partner left me” and “I don’t know how to go through this, it’s so painful.” Yet none of that is likely to be true.

“At the core, we lie to ourselves because we don’t have enough psychological strength to admit the truth and deal with consequences that will follow. Yet only when you admit the truth you have the opportunity to change.” – Dr. Cortney Warren

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Cortney argues that people lie to themselves constantly, and those lies keep us stuck in our lives. For example, other lies that the human speaks are: “I don’t have a problem with alcohol although I drink on daily basis”, “I’m not jealous even though I surf partner’s mobile every day”, “I know smoking is not good for health, but it gives me relaxation”, and “I don’t have an intimate thinking for any other person except my spouse.” There are myriad of such lies that are described in her book, “Lies We Tell Ourselves: The Psychology of Self-Deception.”

Dr. Cortney Warren

Human beings lie because they love to protect themselves from enduring painful experiences. There are certain times when your boiling temperature is rising, things aren’t going your way, and you’re stressed out and finally, the prefrontal cortex is activated. It’s easy to shout but there is a little lie here, and you will understand it if you think with more clarity. So, Cortney encourages people to pause in these kinds of movements, reflect on what one is instinctively doing, feeling, and what one wants to do. You have to look yourself in the mirror and analyze with more lucidity. As a great opportunity to understand yourself, a little moment of pause can save you from thousands of regrets likely for your go through in the future.

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Self-deception is a universal problem, and this is the primary reason for recurring failure in human’s life that s/he encounters almost each other. It is not owing to trauma, negative feeling or depression though. According to Cortney, “humans lie to themselves because they can’t admit themselves who they are, and what they are doing to contribute to where their lives are today.”

Don’t be afraid of rejections and there is one thing which is more hazardous than rejection that is regret.

Cortney encourages people to be more honest with themselves. Only when you are honest, you can change.


Interview Timestamp

00:41 What struggles did you face in your romantic relationship and how did you overcome them?

09:05 What are some of the common lies an individual tell themselves?

18:18 How did you get the concept of self-deception or honest liars?

23:57 Why did you choose this career path?

25:52 Getting tenure and then quitting, what thoughts were going inside your head at that particular moment?

30.03 Your personal struggle in becoming a Speaker and a Multi-Media expert?

31:15 What did you want to be when you were a child? How did you transition into becoming a psychologist?

33:00 How can someone find meaning and life purpose?

35:55 What was the turning moment of your life?

36:58 How can someone break bad habits and addictions (according to you)?