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“What?” You might be asking, “Lies? But I am a good person. I don’t lie!”
I believe you, honest I do. The lies I’m talking about are those that we inherited from our forbearers—our parents, elders, community, and socio-political stories—before we were aware of what was happening.
Early psychotherapists proposed a concept that children internalise parental stressors and judgement as their own. The idea is that a significant amount of our “self” is programmed within the first seven years, and particularly within the first six months after birth.
Imagine this, every newborn is innocently being told lies.
Part of the concept relates to the infant not knowing where their identity starts and where others begin. For the first six months or so, they are still “attached” to their mother’s identity. So when others, specifically parents or caregivers get upset or aren’t coping well, the infant takes on the energy and internalises the idea that they must be inadequate or not enough.
The other part of fusing the lies into the subconscious occurs with repetition; such as when the parent or caregiver is repeatedly not present, mindful, and responsive to the child’s needs and natural curiosity.
See, we have all been lied to. Our parents were likely ignorant and uneducated in this idea, and we were innocent babies.
Many of our actions and thoughts stem from lies told to keep us safe and protected, or to keep the moral code, create power imbalances, and in some instances, control us. The lie is in the idea we created in response to other’s feedback, action, distractions, and inabilities.
Think about the impact of the parent who is tired and sleep-deprived, or stressed from the struggle to provide for the family in ways they believe they should be cared for. Relationships may be strained and emotions projected onto the children—or they might be witnessing projection onto others.
Consider the adult who has not yet been able to heal their childhood lies, which have potentially multiplied since. Or those who are disconnecting, or distracting themselves, using or avoiding substances, devices, work, shopping, online activities, gambling, sleep, or sex. Those who overwork, are overfit, over fractious, or who become helicopter parents, suggesting to the child they are never safe, capable, strong, self-reliant, curious, and adventurous.
If you have explored your beliefs, you would have uncovered quite a few of the lies others told you, and you have accidentally taken on. By exploring our beliefs or rules about ourselves, our family, community, and social situations, we become more aware of some of the lies hiding in there. This is merely an awareness exercise—blame isn’t to be entertained, nor guilt, or fear, only awareness.
Awareness is the first step to change, and then we have a choice to make: leave things as they are, or tackle the lie, and heal the misconception that firstly we were responsible for our parent’s and others’ happiness and calm, and all the projections and inflections we took on as our own.
As an adult now, we have options, control, and the power to make amends. We have more wisdom, skills, and insight into the realities our parents likely experienced when we were a child. It makes sense that they would have at times lost the plot, needed distractions, entertainment, and vented their frustrations. In that era, they didn’t have the resources or “training” of how to be a consciously aware parent living from emotional intelligence. From this insight, we can have empathy for them.
This movement has only evolved over the past 20 or so years, with increased emphasis on mental health issues to reduce violence, incarcerations, and encourage empowered leadership.
Is now the time for you to release the lies you chained to your psyche in the false hope of conformity and acceptance from your family and peers?
The power is in choosing forgiveness, rewriting the lies into truths, and opening the discussions around how to become more aware, mindful, present, and engaged, with sensitivity to those around us. We must give ourselves permission to live life in a way that is our truth, based on our values, desires, passions, and loves, and one that gives us a true sense of purpose. We can evolve our inner beliefs into a self-certainty of lovability, tenacity, resilience, and more than okay-ness.
Consider your self-identity and the type of person you strive to become. Emulate how to be to your children and grandchildren, demonstrating that change is possible. By becoming a great example of being empathetic, loving, and self-respecting, we can in turn treat others the way we choose to treat ourselves.
Yes, doing this will most likely ask us to step away, step out, and stand for different things, but I will challenge the idea of playing safe versus living a life well-lived. Which will give us more peace and satisfaction on our deathbed?
We have the power to say loud and clear, “My life, my choice!” in all aspects of life, around health, feelings, and actions. You are responsible for creating your life—not your parents (unless you are under 18 or unless you rely on them), and not your partner, children, siblings, boss, or colleagues.
The other bombshell is that not to choose is still a choice. By not making a conscious decision, but to go with the preferences laid down eons ago and dictated to us by others is still a choice available. It might be the safest option in the short term while we reflect and consider the options before making an action plan, but it is still a choice.
The best bit of this realisation, in my mind, is that what others think and say has little reference, other than listening to their opinion. It took me a long time to realise this.
I am doing the best I can with the resources in me and given my perceivable access. The lies I currently believe are still my truths for now—until I see or agree there is another way of seeing myself and others.
To change a lie to a truth, as in flip it, takes courage, determination, lots of compassion, self-forgiveness, and forgiving those who believed, projected, and instilled the lies in the first place.
Keep coming back to these questions:
>> “Is this something I honestly believe about myself, this person, this situation, the nation, etcetera?”
>> “If I don’t believe it to be accurate, what is the more likely truth of the lie?”
>> “What do I choose to believe about myself, others, and the situation? Is there more than enough evidence to continue doing what I have been, or do I choose to see greater in myself than those around me do?”
Then, work out how to change the lie. Sounds simple, and in many ways it is. It starts with the awareness that there is an untruth here. Then there are several modalities you can engage in to shift the lie, such as tapping, an Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), kinesiology, mirror work, inner child conversations, Hoʻoponopono, hypnotherapy, or guided meditations. Or, if it’s your nature, each time you hear or feel the lie coming up, simply stop, reflect, reframe, and restate your preferred truth.
If others have healed and created life by their conscious choice, stepped out of the confines of their restrictive familial, social dogma, then you can too.
It is possible using these seven steps:
1. Develop awareness.
2. Consider your options.
3. Act as possible.
4. Forgive and heal.
5. Declare your new choices.
6. Learn what is needed to become the new truth.
7. Embody the new you and follow-through by doing.
It starts and ends with you—you are the adult responsible for healing your past hurts so you too can create your life on your terms.