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How Do YOU Lie?

liar 2We all lie.  Every one of us.  One way or another.

I resisted this truth for the longest time because, to me, honesty is one of the most important character traits of all.

I vividly remember a time in junior high school when I discovered that I was the only one of my friends that hadn’t shoplifted.  I was horrified as they tried to convince me that it wasn’t so bad.  My response was to leave that group of friends because the honesty was more important to me than the friendship or belonging.

I prided myself on being honest, sometimes brutally so.  But it wasn’t until many adult years later that I finally understood that my rigid adherence to rules and laws, while honorable, was also part of a cage that I locked myself in, not allowing myself to feel much of anything.  And it was later still that I understood the primal fear at my core that led me to lock myself away, unable to harm or be harmed.

The lie that I told myself was that I was safe and comfortable in my rigid cage and that no one, not even me, would get hurt.  In reality, I discovered that my cage protected no one and that my not being fully present in my life was ultimately destructive in my relationships.

We all have defensive strategies which, when woven together, form the personality cloak we wear over our true selves.  The various flavors of our defenses depend on the type of wounding or trauma we experience early in life and the stage of development we’re in when it happens.  Each wound becomes integrated into our core beliefs about ourselves and the world around us.  And, as you might imagine, our beliefs—whether they’re true or false--inform every choice we make, our relationships, and our behavior in the world.

And the thing about beliefs?  It doesn’t matter whether they’re THE TRUTH.  We believe them and we set out to prove them true—or protect ourselves from our expectations based on those beliefs.  Especially if we haven’t stopped to discover and question our own beliefs—something most people never do.

Show me a bully or an abuser and I’ll show you someone who experienced betrayal at a formative time.  The lie?  That everyone will betray them and must be controlled.

So why is it important to understand your own beliefs?  Because, for better or for worse, they are the basis of everything.  EVERYTHING.  And I can guarantee that if you’re stuck in patterns in your life that aren’t working optimally for you-- in your relationships, your work, or your health—there are some underlying beliefs that you probably didn’t even realize you had.

Some other examples:

Do you avoid commitment or, conversely, become co-dependent?  Maybe your needs didn’t get fully met when you were an infant and you still believe they won’t ever get met.  You may fear abandonment or your own neediness.

Do you work your butt off to please others but never feel appreciated?  Maybe your parent was impatient when you were 3 and you learned that it was more important to please them than to express yourself.  Deep down you may still believe that you’re not good enough without proving yourself.

Are you a perfectionist?  You might have been expected to grow up too quickly and to achieve.  Maybe your feelings were discounted and you still believe that what you do is far more important than who you are or what you feel.

Don’t get me wrong.  Some of our defensive patterns can be very functional.  A person who expects betrayal and needs to control everyone may be a great leader.  A perfectionist can achieve amazing accomplishments.  And a person with abandonment issues can be remarkably loving.  And remember, most people never stop to question any of this, especially if they’re successful in life.

But when our patterns are dysfunctional, they can cause tremendous distress in life, sometimes creating havoc in our relationships or our health or our happiness.

The good news is that, under every dysfunctional behavior pattern, there lies a belief that probably is a LIE!  And, because beliefs are just beliefs, you really can change them!   But you have to be aware of them first…

Once you identify a pattern you don’t like in your behavior, see if you can dig up the belief that underlies it.  We all have them, but most of us never realize they’re there!

Once you find that belief, ask yourself if it really is THE TRUTH.  If it’s not, you can work on replacing it with something that more accurately reflects the truth in your life right now.

In the meantime, look at your patterned behaviors; they’re always defensive behaviors based on those underlying beliefs.  Each time you witness yourself doing it again, you can ask yourself if the behavior truly serves you.  It probably doesn’t—and hasn’t since the original wound led you to defend yourself in the first place!

And now that you’re aware of the behavior that no longer serves you, you can make a conscious choice to do something different!

So now I’m interested to know if this is helpful information.

Would you like a more in depth look at defensive strategies and underlying beliefs?

Would you like to understand more about how to read your—and others’—body language?

Remember, we’re on our way to creating utopia, so we each need to get out of our own way and step in fully to our own unique potential to create and share a beautiful life!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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