There is no doubt that we lie to ourselves on occasion. Sometimes deeply and very painfully. What then do we do about it? Reprogramming out deep thinking is possible but difficult. The ability to dispute our default thinking is an adult skill that many of us never obtain. How do we know what truth/reality is anyway?
The first question therefor is; What is the truth? This is a question of epistemology – which is just flash word meaning ‘systematic search for truth’. This is a philosophical question and whilst there is undoubtedly a reality outside of our experience, the only one who knows this is God. So then, why bother trying to figure it out? Because, the further from Truth/Reality our thinking is, the more that our thinking hurts us. So how do you know if your thinking is right?
Common answers are:
It feels right.
Because I believe it.
Because people agree with me.
Science proves it too.
It’s common sense.
The internet told me.
While these are a good start – on their own they can be far to self-referential. In other words, they are true because they are true. Sometimes we need a person outside of us to check our thinking and show us some other options as it’s very hard for us to objectively see the flaws in our own thinking.
As we move to realise that our thinking is flawed we need to take care in replacing it with true thoughts, or Truth Coaches as David Riddell refers to them as. When finding new thinking for ourselves or our friends or clients we need to remember several things. Here are some really good guidelines to help in this process from Kevin D. Huggins (PH.D.,Friendship Counselling p.197)
1. It should embrace the true longing their enslaving belief falsely promises to fulfil.
A freeing belief never requires people to pretend life is better than it is or deny the pain of unfulfilled longings.
2. It should withdraw the demand made by the enslaving belief.
A freeing belief withdraws any demand that people must control or change their circumstances or other people in order to survive or thrive.
3. It should dispute the demand.
A freeing belief provides one or more sensible reasons for no longer bowing to the demands of the enslaving belief.