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Soulful Sundays: Lies

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

Lies take on many different forms. Interestingly, everything we think that we know is in a strange way also a lie—an interpretation of reality, rather than reality itself. We perceive the world through our senses which produce electrical signals that are deciphered by our brains. What we observe is then placed into a framework of other experiences which exists within an even greater narrative. Consciousness is the portal through which we see and shape this story. We get to choose which lies we keep and which we discard.

Some stories are more foundational than others. The ones that are the deepest are developed during early childhood. These can be either incredibly empowering (like love, family, and self-efficacy) or incredibly limiting (like fear, distrust, and dependency). The most dangerous lies are the ones that we hold as true without even knowing it. These are known as limiting beliefs and can trap us in cycles of suffering.

Discovering these negative foundational lies is not work to be taken lightly. Most of them are employed to keep us from having to confront deep fears, insecurities, or unresolved trauma. To use an extreme example, children of abusive parents often develop an unhealthy attachment to their parents and exhibit issues with trust, control, and co-dependency later in their adult lives. Even though these are maladaptive behaviors, they are perfectly honed to protect the inner child (who may have died if it did not appease its abuser).

Disrupting a limiting belief is inherently risky because it means inviting the unknown into our lives. While the help of others is vitally important for uncovering our blind spots, we must first be willing to change them. The way forward in this process involves embracing stress rather than trying to avoid it. When we run from stress we are just reinforcing the limiting behaviors. Instead, if we can see uncomfortable situations as gateways of opportunity, then we are prepared to learn from them.

Conflict inevitably arrives in all of our lives. It occurs when reality contradicts what we think should be true. This disconnect can either feed our cynicism and angst, or it can call us to be curious—to search to uncover the reasons for the contradictions and, hopefully, resolve them. Our greatest ally is an unbending thirst for truth. While we can never know the true nature of reality, we can at least have a more complete understanding of the lies that we tell ourselves along the way.

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