“Every fragment of self-talk is a little story in the head that goes around, and then you look at reality through the lens of the little story.” Eckhart Tolle
I didn’t title this “The LIES We Tell Ourselves” because sometimes those replaying thought-monologs aren’t really ‘lies,’ but are more likely residues of our optimistic ‘wishful thinking’ on the good side, and our pessimistic ‘the world is out to get me’ thoughts on the bad side.
- Sometimes we can be so needy for personal contact that we delude ourselves into believing that the situations or the people that we encounter are more beneficial and meaningful to us that they actually are—or we buy into the ‘I know everyone has my best interest at heart’ personal fallacy for all associations and relationships. (Hey—I’ve been there. I still like to believe that people are basically ‘good’ before something/someone turns them more toxic and self-focused.)
- Sometimes we are so cynical and battle-worn that we go in the opposite direction and inadvertently sabotage ourselves and any future relationships by leaning toward the belief that ‘ALL people are naturally deceitful and you can’t believe what anyone tells you—ever’. (And yes, there is also the more experienced and ‘learned’ part of me that now reacts to any new acquaintance with a self-imposed ‘neutrality;’ or in effect doing a pre-strike non-sequitur: “Uh-uh. I don’t just hand out my trust and acceptance to anyone expecting it, let alone demanding it from me. First SHOW ME who you are—then I’ll believe it.”)
But no matter which tendency you lean towards in your own personal world-view of relationships and group settings, what in effect occurs is that whatever we often tell ourselves about ourselves (or about our lives in general) becomes the filter through which we assess the rest of the world around us. (In a way it’s a bit like the difference between viewing yourself through the ‘victim’ vs. the ‘survivor’ perspectives; while it might seem like a very subtle distinction between those two ‘self-belief’ attitudes of woundedness, it’s the basis for how that person’s body then ‘interprets and responds’ to all future interactions, i.e.: Are we ‘open and engaging’ with others, or do we naturally ‘tense up’ around them—ready to ‘fight or flee’ at the slightest facial twitch that we encounter?)
When “… you look at reality through the lens of the little story” that is spinning in your noggin about whatever situation that you might be currently facing, then it will be very hard to form a non-biased opinion on what the true options for you might be in that situation.
I am a firm believer that opportunities in LIFE are less about being suddenly blessed with ‘Good Luck’ and ‘Good Fortune,’ and more likely about better recognizing the broader scope of what your choices might be in any situation before actually ‘choosing’ one; but in order to adhere to that ‘broader scope’ mindset requires us to constantly self-monitor WHY we think what we do when we are faced with two or more options. And that takes considerable ‘self-awareness’ to master it.
We have to ask ourselves, ‘What is driving my decision in one way or the other?’
What is your TRUE motivation for this particular choice—not just what you might be telling yourself at the time?
“Every fragment of self-talk is a little story in the head that goes around, and then you look at reality through the lens of the little story.”
So when you DO view your reality through the lens of that ‘self-talk story,’ what are you really telling yourself about who you are and what you value? Is your decision made primarily ‘love-based’ or ‘fear-based?’ Is it for an ‘immediate reward’ or a ‘longer-term reward?’
And most importantly: ‘Are there other options here that I’m not considering?’ Then ask yourself: ‘ WHY can’t I see those other options?’ Or, ‘Why don’t I WANT to see them? Am I blocking them out for a particular reason? If so, what IS that reason?’
These are tough questions to answer. I know.
It takes a lot of work on self-awareness to identify that inner story we tell ourselves about our lives.
But it’s well worth doing.