Almost everything we know is secondhand and based on belief. Even when it comes to our experiences firsthand, recent psychological research shows that our perceptions of our own experiences are often unreliable.
What’s wrong with believing with what we want? What’s wrong with having inaccurate memories and seeing experiences the way we want to see them and not knowing for sure what’s certain or not? Well, the reality is that there is a lot wrong with these false beliefs we keep telling ourselves.
To all the women reading this post, I want to share a short story. I used to go out with a friend of mine, and in my eyes she was beautiful, smart, intelligent, and not to mention incredibly talented in her own field of work. From my perspective, men were all over her, flirting with her, and sending her smiles and signals left to right. To me, those signals were obvious, but in her mind she was unattractive and undesirable, and just saw the men as being polite and tolerating her presence while showing no interest. As a result, not only did she not act on the opportunities, but her attitude would also turn negative, and turn most of the men off. This was an amazing lesson in confidence bias, and how we all sabotage ourselves with poor beliefs. Have you ever considered that a lot of your problems are not actually problems but rather symptoms of unhelpful bias?
It doesn’t matter whether a belief is true or not; what matters is whether it is helpful, and this can have a tremendous impact on our own happiness.
Of course, this is not easy, and we do not have a formula that will help solve unhelpful bias by reading this blog post, but we do want to offer some advice. The next time you feel insecure, ask yourself if that is a useful belief to have? The next time you feel incompetent, ask yourself if you are incapable of accomplishing something, and whether it is a useful belief to have? The time you feel unattractive or undesirable, ask yourself if that’s a useful belief to have.
The reason for asking those questions is because it doesn’t matter what is true or not. The truth is up for endless debate in most circumstances. So, why not debate on the side that helps and supports you?
There is no realization from which all potential personal growth emerges. This is the realization that you are responsible for everything you do in life, no matter the external circumstances.
How about a challenge? How about for the next 30 days you take responsibility for every action in your life, no matter what? We all value things in life, and for those of us reading this post, we value happiness and finding meaning in our lives, even when the external circumstances aren’t on the bright side. However, we must all value something, and if so, we might as well orient ourselves to value what is beneficial for us and others, right?
We don’t always control what happens to us. But we always control how we interpret what happens to us, and how we respond to what happens to us. Therefore, whether we consciously recognize it or not, we are always responsible for our experiences. For example, a layoff at work does hurt, but it can lead us to opportunity to experiment with a new career path we always dreamed about. Just like a terrible breakup could give a chance to take an honest look at ourselves and how our behaviors affect our relationships with loved ones. Yes, these experiences still suck, but negative experiences are part of life. The question is not whether or not we have them but what we do with them! Responsibility allows us to leverage our pain for empowerment, and to transform a loss into an opportunity.
Whether we realize it or not, we are always taking an active role in what is occurring with ourselves, every moment of our lives. We are always interpreting the meaning of every moment of every occurrence. It is a simple choice to take responsibility for our own values and ourselves that allows us to feel in control of everything that happens to us. We challenge you to transform your negative experiences into empowering experiences for the next 30 days, and share your experiences and insight with us!