Untruths We Have Learned
There are untruths we have learned about ourselves and the world that lead us further away from ourselves. Being at peace and in a love state within is what we all really yearn to experience. This is the internal sense of success that no one can take from us. Our Love and Self-Compassion cry out for us to claim them, yet even though they are always there, they are not always easy to find.
Most of us, particularly in our Western culture, have been taught to live within the confines of our Basic Ego structure. This is absolutely necessary and without it we would not physically survive and emotionally and spiritually thrive. Our Basic Ego helps us minimize stress and maximize comfort. As children, we were dependent and had to rely on our families, educational system, social networks, local communities, and larger culture to learn how to operate within the confines of our Basic Ego.
As young adults many of our challenges are spent trying to learn language, social skills, and tasks to adapt to physical and social demands, so that we can integrate ourselves into the larger society. At some point in this process, though, most of us discover that while some of what we learned works in our lives, other parts don’t. It is then up to us as we develop and mature into adulthood to jettison outmoded conditioning, so we can be true to ourselves and find our own unique path in life.
Face the Illusions of Your Conditioning
Most people are not aware of the tight grip their conditioning has on their psyche or how it controls their lives. They just think it is “reality” or “the way it is.” This lack of awareness is like being a fish not knowing we swim in water.
Sometimes we may know something doesn’t feel right about what we have been taught, but we can’t quite put our finger on what is wrong. We may assume that something is wrong with us for not being about to “fit in.” We may step up our effort to fit in, but in our heart we still feel like a round peg in a square hole.
Sometimes we do clearly see what we have been taught is wrong, but we feel trapped in the web of the larger pattern that is outside of our control to escape. We may try to ignore what we feel and just go back to our daily routine, attempting to make the best of a bad situation.
It can be a stark awakening when we acknowledge to ourselves that what we have been taught by our family or society is absolutely not true and it is no longer tolerable to live as if it is. It can also be be a harsh awakening about how we have internalized that conditioning and so fervently believed our own self-deceptions. Our awareness may come when we see how the status quo is hindering our ability to have healthy relationships, impacting our self-esteem, misdirecting our time and energy to serve the interests of others at the expense of ourselves, limiting our ability to become all we are capable of becoming, etc.
Our awakening can bring up strong emotions such as anger, disgust, or a sense of betrayal. We may feel a sense of sadness, loneliness or like we are an outsider, who can no longer be a part of the existing family or societal system. It may help us realize that while these emotions are often uncomfortable, they are a clear sign that we are ripe for the transformational moment to evolve beyond our Basic Ego conditioning to the freedom that our Actualizing Ego can help us experience in this newly awakened state.
Common Untruths that Fuel Your Conditioning
While there are many untruths we will discover when we start paying attention to signs of our conditioning, here are some common ones that many people have had to face.
Family of Origin Untruths
Untruth 1: Parents have unconditional love for their children.
The truth is that to have total unconditional love for us as children, our parents would need to have unconditional love for themselves. Because we are all imperfect human beings, our parents’ love is imperfect, too. Some parent’s love is more imperfect than others. It is up to us as adults to learn how to give ourselves the love we feel we didn’t receive from our parents.
Untruth 2: Parents always have their children’s best interest at heart.
Even when our parents want to have our best interest at heart, they may be operating at a deficit in their ability to give to themselves, much less have additional energy to fully focus on another little human being, who is so demanding. Other parents have a huge sense of their own emptiness, which they see their children filling. This puts an enormous pressure on their children to take care of their parents’ unmet needs, rather than their own.
Untruth 3: Parents are harsh with their children out of necessity.
Some parents were raised punitively to believe the saying, “spare the rod and spoil the child” as a necessary part of child rearing to toughen up children, so they can cope with the harsh realities of the world. Other parents unconsciously raise their children harshly, since they were abused or raised harshly themselves. The problem with this belief is that it confuses discipline with cruelty and abuse. Cruelty and abuse are imposed from a place of power over others to control them. Discipline comes from a place of teaching children how to manage their own feelings and behavior.
Untruth #4: Some humans are better than others, so they deserve to have more power and material rewards.
This social vertical hierarchy is the root cause of much human misery and unrest. It’s not a moral society to have billionaires hoarding all the wealth, while other humans lie suffering homeless in the street. The fact is that no one is more important than anyone else. We are each valuable by virtue of being alive. We don’t have to prove our worth. We give our gifts to the world, just by having the opportunity to pursue our natural interests and talents.
Untruth #5: Individual competition ranks higher in value than cooperation.
In our Western capitalistic system we are taught that individual success through competition ranks right up there with oxygen as critical to life on this planet. While competition can push us to do our best, throughout the history of humanity we have been dependent upon each other through cooperation to survive and thrive. When we have a healthy balance of both cooperation and competition, we all thrive and tribute to the success of one another.
Untruth #6: The purpose of schooling is to teach us how to be productive members of society.
We see so much of our educational system today still focused on “teaching to tests” or rote memorization. Students are taught how to be passive and “behave,” which only helps them develop skills at being “good little worker bees” or automatons, who contribute to commerce and do not challenge the status quo. Instead, when schools teach young people how to learn, they create lifelong learners, who are curious about life, continually exercise their creativity, think critically and question the status quote. This growing mindset contributes much more fully to their personal development, the well-being of society and the evolution of future generations.
Untruth #7: Our healthcare system is about health and care.
Our healthcare system is not designed to promote our health or provide quality care. It is set up for companies to make a profit at the expense of our total well-being. Since everyone has innate value as a human being, we each deserve to be healthy and live in a society that cares about us like we really matter. This means going beyond how the current health care establishment operates with its Band-Aid Approach for Depression and Addictions that merely makes patients “functional” (usually through drugs), but doesn’t address their actual underlying issues. Also, the current mental health establishment “Medicalizes” Mental Health, rather than recognizing that the outward physical and emotional presenting issues are often symptoms of a deeper disconnection from our True Self.
Untruth #8: Our Ego is a dark or evil force that must be repressed to keep it from taking over and damaging our lives.
The truth is our Ego is a normal human function, which helps us survive and thrive in the physical world. Our Basic Ego helps us emotionally and physically minimize stress and maximize comfort. Our Actualizing Ego functions as a good self-leader, helping us make conscious choices and wise decisions as it guides us through life’s challenges. When we Make Friends with Our Ego, it becomes an important ally to our Core Being, who helps us complete our journey home to our Naked Soul.
Untruth #9: We can kill our enemies with violence, guns, bombs, and war.
The truth is we can never have enough war to banish our enemies, because as long as we have war we will always make more enemies. Who really wins? The “defense” corporations that make money selling us their war weapons and systems. War, and its brother gang violence, thrives in an atmosphere of poverty, oppression, alienation, and desperation. All this war only creates more resentment from the very people we say we are there to defend. More resentment means more violent ideologies that gain footholds in the population.
Another truth is that underlying our external perception of “enemies” is the real threat we face, which is that peace and freedom are just too great for us to tolerate. As American philosopher and author Sam Keen says, “…we seem lost without our enemies. Suddenly there is nobody to blame for the host of evils that surround us. No simple solutions….The heroes and leaders toward peace in our time will be those men and women who have the courage to plunge into the darkness at the bottom of the personal and the corporate psyche and face the enemy within.”