Self-Deceptions That Bind Us to Our Conditioning
If we are still unconscious about our conditioning or we feel we have no power to evolve beyond it, our perception of ourselves will likely suffer and become limited. Or we will contort our mind to fit inside the box of our conditioning.
Since we humans are very creative, there are a myriad of ways we can deceive ourselves to keep our conditioning active in our lives. Here are a few of the self-deception techniques many of us have used to keep from being comfortable in our own skin:
Self-Deception 1: We believe something is wrong with us or we are defective in some way.
Those of us who were indoctrinated by religious upbringing that says we are innately “evil” are particularly susceptible to this belief. Others of us may have thought since we are different, we are a “bad seed.” Like a recording on an endless loop, we may tell ourselves repeatedly about our “badness” and then list all of the evidence that demonstrates this belief is true. The truth is that at our Core, we are pure love and our authentic Self, quirks and all, is a treasured gift to humanity.
Self-Deception 2: We believe we are unlovable.
Sometimes this self-deception is an outgrowth of #1 above. Other times we may have picked it up from our parents and not even realize it. As children we were like sponges, soaking up our parent’s conscious and unconscious messages, which we applied to ourselves. Maybe we were a product of a union where one or both parents didn’t want children. Maybe our parents struggled financially and we felt we were the cause of their difficulties. Maybe we were adopted and feel a deep rejection from our birth parents. The truth is we are innately lovable. Whatever the cause of this deep seated belief, once we become aware of the source of the message and recognize from our adult perspective that it was never ours to hold, it may make it easier to release.
Self-Deception 3: We feel stupid or unintelligent.
Even when our IQ might say otherwise, we may feel stupid or less intelligence than others. If this is the way we feel, it is likely a sign we are focusing ourselves externally in relation to others, rather than internally in relation to our Core Being. We may have unconsciously played right into the cultural conditioning of the “one up, one down” social hierarchy. Focusing instead on our person strengths, unique traits and natural talents, takes the pressure off our “intellectual intelligence” and places it instead on our “whole being intelligence,” which is about learning how to be true to who we are and being the most authentic version of ourselves possible.
Self-Deception 4: We believe our perceptions cannot be trusted.
Through our conditioning, we may have been brainwashed into believing our perception is not as valid as others. The truth is that even as children we often have a pure and clear sense of what is really going on. But, we may have learned to override what we saw or heard, because we were told something different by adults. Or we encountered something so painful or traumatic that we shut down to our inner knowing, because we couldn’t reconcile what was happening with our illusion of living in what we thought was a loving family or supportive world. As adults we may need to examine when our perceptions were clear, but we overrode them. Maybe when we meet certain people the hair on the back of our neck stands up, but we trust them anyway to our detriment. Or we have a sense of danger before walking into a building that we override and walk into problem we could have avoided. The key is to honor our perception and watch how this builds trust in our inner knowing.
Self-Deception 5: We believe we must live a life of suffering.
We will all go through painful experiences in life. But, suffering from those painful experiences is not inevitable. As the saying goes, “Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.” When we find that we are suffering, we may need to examine the root of our suffering. Sometimes suffering has been handed down generation after generation as a way to help us cope with a harsh world. We may need to pass back the “baton of struggle” with a thank you to our ancestors for their loving gesture, which can free us from feeling like we need to carry it forward. Maybe our parents want us to take over the family business, when we want to go into a different profession, which causes us suffering since it is going against our natural flow. When we are truthful with ourselves and those we love, while it might be temporarily painful, the honesty may ultimately free us from our suffering.
Self-Deception 6: We believe we do not have enough courage.
Since our Ego’s natural response is to avoid pain when we have a challenge to meet, we might want to hold ourselves back to keep from feeling the depth of our anguish if we fail to meet the challenge. The fact is that leaning into the pain actually is what allows us to get through our fear, so we can experience the freedom on the other side of the challenge. The truth is, as human beings we all have courage. After all, it took courage to be born. It took courage to learn how to walk and it may take all the courage we can muster to see we are naturally imbued with with what it takes to meet each new challenge laid before us.
To free ourselves from our self-deceptions may take active focus and commitment to override the old programming we have had in our minds for so long. Developing Emotional Resilience and Self-Care as well as focusing on Self-Compassion can go a long way to finally being free of our self-deceptions.