What does it mean to live a double life?
To live a double life means to have two separate ‘lives’ or ‘sides’ to you, usually in direct contrast to each other.
A person with a double life usually has a secret that is hidden from family and friends. One they aren’t willing to be open and honest about.
This secret, or ‘second life’ may be based on activities that are illegal, considered taboo, a job requirement, or they are simply different from the person’s usual way of life. There is likely to be shame, guilt, hurt and consequences if found out.
Just as we’ve seen with Clark Kent, Batman and Spiderman (just to name a few), leading a double life can be very stressful!
On another hand, living a ‘double life’ is not always bad and sometimes it’s needed to separate traumas, create healthy barriers and to also create work/life balance.
Actors, writers and other creative artists sometimes feel an element of living a double life when creating. They need to express different feelings and emotions and ‘pretend’ in order to create.
However, the unhealthy aspects of a double life, like the emotions of shame and deceit are extremely detrimental to mental health in both the short and long run.
The following quotes help to articulate the concept of a double life, both good and bad:
Quotes About Living a Double Life
“Speech gave man a unique power to lead a double life, he could say one thing and do another.” James Harvey Robinson
“The negation of severe suffering was the nearest approach to happiness I expected to know. Besides, I seemed to hold two lives – the life of thought, and that of reality.” Charlotte Brontë
“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.” George Orwell
“The secret of long life is double careers. One to about age sixty, then another for the next thirty years.” David Ogilvy
“The short answer to ‘Why do you write’ is – I suppose I write for some of the same reasons I read: to live a double life; to go places I haven’t been; to examine life on earth; to come to know people in ways, and at depths, that are otherwise impossible; to be surprised.” Margaret Atwood
“The more you leave out, the more you highlight what you leave in.” Henry Green
“There are some qualities, some incorporate things, that have a double life, which thus is made. A type of twin entity which springs from matter and light, evinced in solid and shade.” Edgar Allan Poe
“Man is not what he thinks he is, he is what he hides.” André Malraux
“Shame is the most powerful, master emotion. It’s the fear that we’re not good enough.” Brene Brown
“I take pleasure in my transformations. I look quiet and consistent, but few know how many women there are in me.” Anais Nin
“I live an artistic double life: one of classical realism and the other of aesthetic exploration.” Alton Tobey
“I never understood why Clark Kent was so hell bent on keeping Lois Lane in the dark.” Audrey Niffenegger
“If you’re gonna be two-faced at least make one of them pretty.” Marilyn Monroe
“I hope you have not been leading a double life, pretending to be wicked and being good all the time. That would be hypocrisy.” Oscar Wilde
“The best way of keeping a secret is to pretend there isn’t one.” Margaret Atwood
“When I’m writing a novel, I’m dealing with a double life. I live in the present at the same time that I live in the past with my characters. It is this that makes a novelist so eccentric and unpleasant.” John Phillips
“We all have to lead double lives, not just celebrities. The face we put on publicly with our jobs and certain situations. I think that’s part of the human condition.” Greg Kinnear
“Everyone enjoys stories of double lives and secret identities. Children have Superman; intellectuals have Wallace Stevens.” Dana Gioia
“There are no secrets that time does not reveal.” Jean Racine
“To be without guile is to be free of deceit, cunning, hypocrisy, and dishonesty in thought or action.” Joseph B. Wirthlin
“More than most people, the alcoholic leads a double life. He is very much the actor.” Bill W
“Nothing spells shame like living what feels like a double life.” Angel Grant
“If someone wants to lead a double life, they will find a way to do it. And they can promise you things until your nerves unfold and you can finally put up your feet. But it can all be a lie. There are no guarantees, even when people mean what they say at the time. People change their minds. People die. And the hurt is as real as a baseball bat.” Stephanie Klein
“A lie told often enough becomes the truth.” Vladimir Lenin
“In one way or another, every parent is curious what their children… what are they doing when we don’t see?… What double lives are they leading? Is there something else?” Herman Koch
“I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity to name a few.” Brene Brown
“When you’re surrounded by a world of constant lies, manipulation, and deceit, that dark energy is bound to seep into you eventually.” Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman
“I hear it said of somebody that he is leading a double life. I think to myself: Just two?” Leon Wieseltier
“All myth is an enriched pattern, a two-faced proposition, allowing its operator to say one thing and mean another, to lead a double life.” Anne Carson
“It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.” Noel Coward
“If a man could have half of his wishes, he would double his troubles.” Benjamin Franklin
“Deception can cost billions. Think Enron, Madoff, the mortgage crisis. Or in the case of double agents and traitors, like Robert Hanssen or Aldrich Ames, lies can betray our country. They can compromise our security. They can undermine democracy. They can cause the deaths of those that defend us.” Pamela Meyer
“Half a truth is often a great lie.” Benjamin Franklin
“Human greatness does not lie in wealth or power, but in character and goodness. People are just people, and all people have faults and shortcomings, but all of us are born with a basic goodness.” Anne Frank
Double Life & Shame Quotes
“An exciting and inspiring future awaits you beyond the noise in your mind, beyond the guilt, doubt, fear, shame, insecurity and heaviness of the past you carry around. Debbie Ford
“The only shame is to have none.” Blaise Pascal
“Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving.” James E. Faust
“For every good reason there is to lie, there is a better reason to tell the truth.” Bo Bennett
People who live double lives often do so because they feel that they cannot be their true selves in their everyday lives. As a result, they create a separate identity in which they can express themselves more freely, but it often leads to conflict and stress.
For more life quotes and inspiring words, be sure to check out:
- 40 Interesting Quotes on Honesty in Life & Relationships
- 36 Integrity Quotes & Wise Words For An Ethical Life
- Quotes About Being Tested In Life
- Carl Jung Quotes (Shadows, Acceptance & A Fulfilled Life)
- Quotes About Morals (Powerful, Meaningful & Some A Little Funny)
- 34 Powerful Quotes About The Value Of Life