Hosted by Jodi Hildebrandt.
In this two-part series, Jodi explains how motives are created, how we react or respond to them, why we need to know our motives, how we change them, and how our choices reinforce or change our motives and create the types of outcomes we choose.
PDF Version: Episode 84: Motive & Choice (Part 1 of 2)
Episode 84: Motive & Choice (Part 1 of 2)
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Good morning and welcome to September 4th, 2016. I’m Jodi Hildebrandt and you’re here at ConneXions Classroom Podcast. Thank you so much for joining us this morning.
We are going to be discussing the topic of motives. Motives, what are they? What creates them? Why are they present? What are they comprised of? What are the components inside of them? And what and how do they manifest themselves inside each of us? And why are motives so incredibly important to understand and know for ourselves, and for others?
If you’re in a relationship—which all of us are in relationships, whether it be just with our self, or with spirituality, or another person—it’s very important to understand the motives of that entity so that you can know what is actually driving them to do, and say, and act, and feel the way that they do.
Let’s start off by talking about the responsibility of knowing our motives. We each are responsible to know what drives us, what our agendas are—agendas and motives are the same thing—because what we present to the world regarding our motives may be not in Truth. Truth with a -th; there’s a difference between true and Truth.
Possibly what I’m presenting is not the Truth, and so I need to make sure that my motives are aligned with the Truth so that when I present—whether I say something or I do something—it actually is being a representation of truth instead of distortion.
So, motives underline every thought, every feeling, every choice that I make, and they underline every thought, feeling and choice that you make. And so, being able to understand your motives, being able to stop yourself and go, “Okay, what’s going on with me? Why am I thinking this way? What do I feel about this? What just happened? How did I perceive it? What are my interpretations?”
And make sure that all of those things that I’m looking at, I’m able to distinguish between distortion and Truth, and I’m going to go into great detail and discuss how to recognize the difference between distortion and Reality.
If we’re not able or willing—which is a choice—to stop and actually spend some time recognizing and diagnosing myself, I could present something that isn’t in Reality, isn’t really The Truth.
It may be true for me, which is subjective and about emotion, and it’s about reaction, and I want to present things that are actually in the Truth.
So, maybe my motives are one way to the world, yet I’m secretly wanting something different behind the scenes. So I present one face to you, however, behind the scenes which I’m not going to tell you, I want something different. So, that’s called manipulation.
Manipulation is when I either consciously or unconsciously present something to you, however I’m not completely honest about all the things that are driving it. I’m trying to get you to do something without being really forthcoming about why I want you to do something. I want you to do something, I want you to feel something, I want you to respond a certain way, however I’m not going to give you the whole picture as to why I want that. And sometimes I do that consciously, and sometimes I do that unconsciously.
However, that is a disconnect between my motives and what I’m actually presenting to you. So, I am responsible to be congruent with myself and with you. My goal is to be honest, and responsible, and humble—not duplicitous, not manipulative.
In order to live in my integrity, I must be aware and awake to my motives and correct them when they’re in distortion. So, if they’re coming from a place of self-denigration or self-adulation (which is over-arching distortion), then I am responsible to recognize that and to correct that, so that I can present to you what is real and not what is make-believe or fantasy.
[00:07:57] What Are Motives?
So, let’s talk a little bit about what motives are. Inside experience or inside situations that I experience, I’m having opportunities—I am having thousands of opportunities—to experience something (which is neutral), and then choose to perceive. Whether I’m conscious or not, I’m choosing my interpretations of what I am perceiving, and I’m creating thoughts inside those interpretations, inside those perceptions. And inside those thoughts, feelings are being created. I’m choosing feelings, and again, most of this is going on totally unconsciously, and so I have no idea that I’m actively engaging in choice. A lot of the choices that I’m making are quite automatic, and we’re going to talk about in a few minutes as well. However, I am still choosing.
And so, after I have an experience and I perceive, and my perceptions create thoughts, emotions attach to those thoughts and then I choose to act proactively or react. That pattern, that process, creates a pathway in my brain that becomes quite automatic.
So, when I have those kinds of similar experiences, and if I’ve had them several times—let’s say that I have a dog and the dog on a nightly basis barks every time they hear any movement.
And so, I have this automatic pathway that goes off in my brain that says, “The dog’s barking, there must be some kind of sound outside that he heard, and he’ll stop in about two minutes. I don’t need to get upset, I just need to recognize that unless it’s something like a person, he’s going to stop within two minutes and so I don’t need to get reactionary to it.”
So, I have this pathway in my brain that becomes quite automatic and I have these automatic thoughts and these automatic feelings and thus these countless hidden unconscious choices that just “happen” because they’re just pathways. It’s like, “I know what this is, the dog’s barking, he’ll stop in two minutes, I don’t need to get upset.”
And so, there are these opportunities where these pathways get created over many, many, many experiences, and that is what is behind the scenes of my thoughts—which are these motives.
So, inside these automatic thoughts it creates the motives, it creates the things that drive me. These automatic thoughts make up my motives. And inside these experiences, motives are in the background. It’s like what is supporting me to think the way I just did about my dog—like the dog’s barking, it’s not a problem, they just heard a movement, they’ll stop within two minutes.
Those kinds of thoughts are being supported by this backdrop of motive. And all of us are responsible to know what our motives are, so that we can appreciate why we’re being the way that we are, why we’re choosing the way that we are, why we’re feeling the way that we are, and why we’re thinking the way that we are.
So, motive invites me to choose a particular direction. Knowing my motive, whether it’s in distortion or Truth, is all about me becoming aware of my distorted thoughts, my drama, my denial, my fear, my control, my distractions, and my lack or unwillingness to be vulnerable.
My motive, whether in distortion or Truth, is chosen by me through the countless private conversations I have with myself, which solidify into my belief system, my perceptions, and ultimately, my choices, my behaviors and actions.
So, listening or watching someone and not understanding the why behind what they’re doing or saying is the lack of understanding of their motives. Let me say that again, that’s really important. Watching or listening to someone and not understanding the why behind what they’re doing or saying is the lack of understanding of their motive. We are responsible and we need to always understand our (and if possible, others’ ) motives before we react emotionally and behaviorally.
That’s a tall order, to always be curious about motives, especially yours, because you’re the one that’s going to be accountable for what it is that you’re thinking and feeling and thus choosing, and also the consequences of the choices that you’re making. So, you need to know what’s behind the scenes driving you, and a lot of times, like I just got done explaining, there are these automatic thoughts, automatic emotions that just come with experience.
So, I remember when we had a German Shepherd, and any time during the year when firecrackers would go off—and probably many of you have had this experience—the dog did not like the firecrackers, that high pitched sound, she did not enjoy it. And so, she would get really, really upset. So, some of my automatic thoughts every year when fireworks would go off is that I need to put the dog away in her kennel and put her someplace where she can’t really hear the fireworks acutely be it’s really bothersome. That’s an automatic thought.
Another automatic thought that I might have is if I’m driving down the road and somebody “pulls in front of me,” I might have an automatic thought that says I can’t believe they just did that.
When the Truth is that they didn’t do anything to me, they just happened to pull in front of my car where I was. They didn’t pull in front of me like they were trying to hurt me, that’s my distortion. So, it’s very important to be able to recognize what our motivations are in distortion, and what our motivations are in Truth.
So, I’m going to give you a handful of examples of motives in Truth versus motives in distortion.
I’m going to start with the Truth one. Here are some motives in Truth.
So, I committed to (fill in the blank), I committed to bring a pie, I committed to be faithful in my relationship, I committed to be on time, I committed to take care of your fish while you’re on vacation, I committed to go to bed at 10.30. And so, because I committed, I will do it. That’s a motivation. Like, what’s motivating me? I committed. That’s my motivation. That’s one that’s in Truth.
Here are some others in Truth. I’m available to give validation. So I am available is the motive. I’m available emotionally, spiritually, physically. I’m available to see you, to hear you, to acknowledge you, to feel what you’ve been feeling, to have empathy for you.
Another motive that is in the Truth is I’m responsible. I’m responsible for what I think, what I feel, what I want, what I choose. I’m responsible to show up for meetings and other commitments that I’ve made. I’m responsible.
Another motive in Truth: it’s the honest or moral thing to do. That’s what’s driving me: because it’s the honest and moral thing to do.
Another motive is that I respect and hold boundaries. I respect and hold my own boundaries and I respect and hold others’ boundaries. So, that’s what will be behind my scenes, is that I honor boundaries.
Another motive is I share honest and responsible feelings. I will be impeccably honest with my emotions, and I will be responsible for my emotions. Another motive is I will accept being vulnerable and I’ll act congruent. What I say is what I do. What I do is what I say. And so, I’m willing to accept that I’m vulnerable, I will be vulnerable and that’s what’s going to motivate me behind the scenes, is that I am vulnerable, and then I will say and do and act congruently.
Another motive in Truth is that I will do the best that I can. When you ask me to show up a certain way, you can count on that I will give you my best. That I will do all that I possibly can to show up in the most honest, and responsible, and congruent way as possible. That’s what motivates me.
Another motivation in Truth is because I choose. Because I choose to (fill in the blank), that is behind my scenes, it is I will be responsible because I choose what it is that I am going to think and what it is that I feel.
Another motive in truth is I love me. And when I love me, then I am present and available to be there for you, to care about you, to validate you, and ultimately to love you.
So, those are motives, those are things behind the curtains that, when you live a life of impeccable honesty and you’re rigorously responsible, and you’re willing to be open and transparent, and humble, you will have these kinds of motives operating in the backdrop of your psyche, that is supporting you in every experience you have, in the thoughts that you have, the perceptions you have, the emotions, and therefore the choices that you make. It is a—I want to say the word peaceful—I don’t mean peaceful like you don’t have any conflict, I just mean that you are at peace within yourself because you know that you’re being really present and very integrous in your behavior.
[00:19:34] Motives in Distortion
Here are some motives in distortion.
I committed but… Now, I’m not suggesting that every time you commit, that you have to show up a 100 percent of the time because sometimes things come up, like I committed the other day to show up to a meeting and then I got sick. Inside my honesty, I knew that my sickness was actually something that wasn’t a situation where I could just kind of push my way through it. I really did need to be home because I was tied to the bathroom, for example.
So, you can change and break commitments, however, it is an exception for you if you’re going to have motives in Truth. It is more of the norm if you have motives in distortion. It’s kind of like, I committed but… That person who’s in distortion uses that one often. So, you know that they’re not really living an honest life because that “I committed but something came up” is a common place that they go.
Motives in distortion. I can’t or I should. I should do this; I should do that. Saying I should or I shouldn’t is not really a choice; it’s like you’re being compelled by something external from you. And so, you’re not really on board, it’s more like, here’s what I should or shouldn’t do and I don’t really agree with it. So, it invites me to come into a distorted position called victim.
Another motive in distortion is it’s not my fault or I want them to like me. So, if “It’s not my fault” and “I want them to like me” is playing in the background, then you can see how that’s not inviting honesty or accountability into the equation, because if it’s not my fault, then who is responsible?
The word fault is an invitation to negate responsibility. So, if that is in the background as your motive, then there’s nobody to actually own what’s going on.
Another motive in distortion is I’m afraid and so therefore I get to (fill in the blank). Now, I’m all for acknowledging fear. However, fear does not give you an invitation to not show up in ways that you committed. It’s not a get-out-of-jail-free card.
Another motive in distortion is I don’t have to because … Or I deserve. Like, I’m better than, so I don’t have to.
Or I’m tired. Or because I’m the parent, or I’m the boss, or the authority therefore I get to (fill in the blank).
Another motive in distortion is that you can be bought. Like, if someone offers a high enough price for your morality or your belief system, then you can be bought. I call it prostituting yourself. So, if you are someone who doesn’t hold your boundaries and you are wavering in your standards, or your values, or your belief system, then you can be bought for a high enough price, figuratively speaking.
Another motive in distortion is that you objectify yourself or others. You see yourself as an exception. Or you don’t see yourself as good enough or lovable. Or you see yourself as the best. Or you have a motive that you do things in distortion because you’re kind. You’re kind, you’re nice, you don’t want to upset people. Those kinds of motives in the background allow you to be in distortion, because in the name of kind, and nice, and want to be supportive or lovable, you might do something really selfish. Or you might not hold someone accountable, you might start enabling someone.
So, another motive in distortion is because I want to do the right thing, because I want to please someone, I did something because I was tired, or entitled, or happy, or hungry. So, all these different ways that I show up in distortion when I could choose to show up in Truth.
And so, it’s very important that I know my motives in the background, so that I am aware of what’s operating in me and I don’t just knee-jerk into this distorted position.
So, motives, now that we know what motives are, motives attach to our new experiences. So, all day, you’re having experience, so it’s all new. Now, when I say it’s all new, what I’m saying is, you haven’t lived a minute from now. So, a minute from now is going to be new. However, a minute from now might have a very similar experience that you’ve experienced before.
That similar experience, like the dog barking or maybe you hearing your child say, “I’m mad at you.” Maybe that’s a similar experience. Maybe that’s a really familiar experience.
So, even though you have heard him or her tell you they’re mad at you many times, it’s always a new experience because you haven’t lived tomorrow at 8:07. However, if you’ve had a similar experience, you’ve got these pathways in your brain.
And I like to relate the pathways to traffic on a freeway. So, your motives attach to new experiences, it’s like merging traffic onto the freeway. Each on-ramp is symbolic of a new experience. And as you merge onto the freeway, the five lanes of the freeway that are already going, those are your automatic thoughts. So, the five lanes of traffic moving on the freeway are symbolic of neural pathways in your brain already on course to their designated and automatic outcomes, without any additional thoughts or curiosity of, maybe there could be another, or better, or more honest or responsible destination.
Only if I would be willing to consider new and other thoughts based in Truth rather than distortion. And distortion, I’m going to start describing what distortion is.
[00:27:11] What is Distortion?
Distortion is being driven by the fear of control, or just fear, or anxiety, or drama, or greed, or entitlement, or blame, or distraction. This distortion creates lanes of traffic on the freeway; those are your neural pathways. So the lanes of traffic are either going in distortion or they’re in lanes of Truth.
And so, if I were willing to consider a new experience coming off the on-ramp, merging into my brain or onto the freeway, so they’re constantly inviting me to have a new experience, a new opportunity to experience Truth—choosing Truth rather than choosing automatically distorted lanes of the freeway, which would change direction when Truth is present.
So, I’ve got these five lanes of traffic, they’re all in distortion. I also have another five lanes of traffic that are in Truth, and every time a new experience comes in merging into the freeway—the on-ramp is presenting a new experience—it’s going to merge either into distortion neural pathways or it will merge into truth neural pathways.
So, I am responsible to use this ability to choose to take these new experiences and make sure that I put them into the lanes of Truth. I need to choose Truth which is, choose to be honest, choose to be accountable, choose to be transparent, compassionate, validating, forgiving, choose to repent, choose to have empathy, to be open, to have humility. I get to choose all those things, and when I choose that, then I take that new experience and instead of having it go into distortion which is the fear, and the drama, and the distraction, and the control, instead of doing that, I choose to have it go into Truth.
So, both of those lanes, those five lanes of traffic are called automatic thoughts. Automatic thoughts. They’re neural pathways created in my brain that I already (because I’ve had countless experiences) have chosen either in Truth or in distortion, so depending upon how conscious I am or unconscious I am, I will have more pathways of distortion or more pathways of Truth, depending on my level of consciousness and what it is what I’m choosing. So, hopefully that image helps you.
So, choosing Truth is a conscious process. Choosing Truth would require having those new experiences—which they’re always present—and holding the experience in honesty, being honest about the experience, going to the facts of the experience, making sure that I hold myself accountable to the experience or in the experience. Being open, transparent, having compassion, willing to accept my vulnerability, having empathy for the experience, having humility, being willing to forgive or repent around the experience, so that that new experience merging into the traffic goes into a neural pathway lane of Truth rather than distortion.
So, experience is neutral. It’s very important you understand that. All experience is neutral. There are no good or bad experiences, it’s all just kind of flat, as far as the meaning of it.
Now, we project our meaning onto experience and so experience doesn’t feel very flat to us because we’re the ones who are like, “Wow, that’s not good, that’s a bad experience.” Now, if you out that label on experience like “That’s bad,” you have just distorted the experience. You have held the experience in fear, in distortion, in anger, in drama, in distraction, because the Truth is that there are no bad experiences, they just are experiences that are not pleasant. Everything from putting money into a vending machine and not getting your food or your Coke out, to being assaulted or attacked, those experiences are incredibly uncomfortable, unpleasant, terrifying. All of these emotions that are really difficult to feel.
However, the experience in itself is not bad, it’s the meaning we place onto it, because all experience is present to instruct you, to give you an opportunity to experience—to experience the uncomfortableness of life, and through that experience, to also experience the pleasantness of life, the connecting part of life. I’m very aware that many people listening to this have had horrible experiences; I’ve had horrible experiences. My life has not been one that has been simplistic, easy and pleasant. I’ve had many experiences that have been very, very uncomfortable, so I get that experience is difficult.
And it’s one of the reasons why I can speak so boldly to you, because I know how difficult experience can be, and it is neutral. it is always merging into my mind—experience—and giving me the opportunity to practice interpreting the experience in Truth again, and again and again, so I can develop pathways—those lanes—of Truth rather than pathways or lanes of distortion.
So, whatever I choose to practice, whether putting things into distortion lanes, or whether I choose to practice putting my experiences into Truth lanes, I will believe that is the Reality. But what I want is to experience the actual Reality, the Truth.
So, my brain, my freeway in my head is not biased; it doesn’t really care which lanes I put my experiences into. Whichever ones I do, I will just create deeper and deeper grooves in my brain, so I am choosing. I want to choose, and I want to invite you to choose to interpret experience more in the Truth than in distortion, because I want to know The Reality, not my own personal version of reality. I want the The Reality.
So, we’ve been talking about two difference choices: you can take experience and hold it in truth or you can hold it in distortion. Truth looks like this: when you choose Truth, you will need to be willing to let go and surrender all of your distorted thoughts, all of your false beliefs, your assumptions, your paradigms, your sayings, your axioms about relationships, what you believe about your identity, what you believe is real. You will need to search for the difference between Truth and true.
So, a lot of us think what is the Truth is really our own personal interpretation of what’s true. So, the difference between Truth (with a -th) and true is, they’re defined like this: The Truth is what’s factual. It’s what’s objective, it’s what’s constant, it’s eternal, it’s knowable by a third party. Whereas, what is true is about my emotional experience; it’s subjective, it’s changeable, it’s knowable only to yourself.
So, figuring out what the Truth is about perceiving life from a lens of personal responsibility for your thoughts, your feelings and choices, and being emotionally honest and open and humble with outcomes, knowing the mind and will of either your Higher Power or God, and living according to what is factual, eternal, knowable and unchanging.
[00:36:21] Paradigms of Truth
There are some, what I call, Paradigms of Truth. These things are the Truth for everyone on the planet, whether you believe in a God or don’t believe in a God, believe in a Higher Power or don’t believe in a higher power. All of these things are the truth for every one of us.
So, I’m going to read a handful of these. As I read these to you, I want you to recognize that these things are connected to the Truth and not connected to what’s true. True is changeable; true is like, I like potato salad. However, tomorrow I might find a fly in my potato salad and now it’s no longer true that I like potato salad. See how my opinion of potato salad changed because I had a different experience?
But here’s the Truth, here is what is present inside the Truth. Your perceptions and thoughts create your feelings; that’s the Truth. Thoughts drive your feelings, and feelings drive behaviors.
You are not responsible for others’ thoughts, perceptions, emotions or choices. You’re not responsible for them. You are responsible for your own. And you are also responsible for the outcomes of your choices.
You are responsible to ask for help and let people know what you think and need. That’s a Truth. Nobody can read your mind.
Another Truth: you are responsible to share your perceptions, and what your perceptions mean to you. This will invite you to check out whether you’re in Reality or not.
Here’s another Truth: saying sorry without feeling the weight of what you’ve done, making restitution and committing to a plan to not go there again are shallow, hollow words. That’s the Truth. You have to feel sorry, and you have to go through a process of really understanding what you’ve done, and also feeling the weight of what you’ve done, not only to yourself but to the other person or people. And if you’re not willing to go through that process, your words really are shallow and there’s a high likelihood you’ll repeat the offense again.
You are responsible for the meanings you place on words. That is the Truth. Nobody else places meanings on words except for you.
If you desire connection, you must ask questions of curiosity to gather the honest and correct meaning for the other person.
Another Truth: you are the only one who can love yourself, live in honesty and be responsible.
Love is not something you can possess, or buy, or take from another person. It is an expression of how I feel about myself, and my desire for you to choose to live similar principles, so you can experience the all-encompassing warmth and safety of love.
Love is the evidence of connection. That’s a Truth. When you actually are loving, you are connecting, whether it’s connecting with self, or connecting with your animal, or connecting with friends.
Truth is constant and unchanging. The Truth is constant and unchanging.
What is emotionally true for you doesn’t equate to the Truth. That’s another Truth. What’s emotionally true for someone doesn’t mean it’s The Truth. Like the fly in the potato salad—I don’t like potato salad anymore. That’s an emotional statement, because the fly was found in it, but it doesn’t mean it’s The Truth. Like, I don’t like potato salad ever.
Every feeling has a counterfeit except peace. That’s another Truth.
All emotions are necessary and appropriate.
Pain and discomfort and appropriate and necessary experiences in life. That’s a Truth. You need to have pain and you need to have discomfort, because they are opportunities to be taught and learned from.
You need oppositional forces in order to develop, mature, and see—become aware, become mature.
Another Truth: you cannot control the outcomes of your choices.
Another Truth: you are vulnerable. You live out of control.
Another Truth: you are responsible for your thoughts, feelings and choices. That’s it. Those are the only things you can control. Everything else you are not in control of—you cannot make happen.
Another Truth: what you do is not who you are. That’s a very important one. What you do is not who you are.
You do and will make mistakes, and you need to make mistakes, because that’s how you’re going to learn.
You are limited and have weakness. Pain—discomfort—can be a result of the stories we tell ourselves; we make up stories about ourselves. Like, I think my brother put the fly in the potato salad. That’s a story I’m telling myself, and now I’m upset. I need to find out if that actually is the Truth that he did that, but when I tell myself a story and we constantly are doing that, we feel pain oftentimes, when we tell ourselves this stuff that is dishonest.
Another Truth: you must give and receive validation in order to live in connection and feel love.
Accepting your mistakes and learning from them connects you to your vulnerability and creates safety.
Those are a handful of statements about The Truth—what is The Truth—compared to what is true, what is emotionally true.
So, there’s these two places that you can live. One is in Truth, and we just went over that, and we talked about the difference between Truth and true. The other place that you can live is in distortion. Distortion is in on the other side of that paradigm of Truth.
So, there’s only two places that you’ll choose to live in: either Truth or distortion. So, you can imagine how important it is to know the Truth, because without Truth and without knowing Truth, you will unconsciously choose a path that will move you into behaving and thinking in a place of control, a place of drama, fear, blame, reaction, distracting, self-neglect, entitlement, all forms of selfishness and greed, inappropriate anger, isolation, breaking of commitments, going numb, and any form of disconnect from yourself, God / your Higher Power or others.
Distortion or distorted thoughts are choices you make, which are supported by thoughts you think, that are not in the Truth. That’s as simple as it is. Distortion, or another way to say distortion is distorted thoughts, are choices you make, and usually they’re unconscious, which are supported by thoughts that you think that are not in the Truth. So, it’s your responsibility to wake up, pay attention, become conscious, and realize what you’re thinking. Understand what your motives are to what you’re thinking, so that you can start choosing different thoughts in the Truth.
Distorted thoughts are always supporting and underlying false beliefs. False beliefs are the real culprit here. False beliefs, just like distortions, are lies that are in the background of our lives. Oftentimes we’re unconscious of them, and they reinforce our beliefs of our distorted thoughts.
[00:44:46] False beliefs
I want to share a little about false beliefs. Like distorted thoughts, false beliefs are things that are not the Truth. But the difference between a false belief and a distorted thought is that the false belief is really at the very core of us, and it says things like, “I am unworthy. I am unlovable. I am not enough. I am bad. I am worthless. I am inadequate.” They speak about the very center of you, your soul, your being.
Whereas, distorted thoughts, they typically don’t talk like that. They are still lies, but they mostly are about things that you do, like “You’re dumb.” Or, “You can’t do that.” Or, “That’s not possible.”
Whereas, the false beliefs are underneath the distorted thoughts—it’s kind of like they’re the root system, false beliefs are the root system and distorted thoughts are the weed that’s growing above the ground.
So, false beliefs are a deeply flawed and distorted conclusion you reached long ago about what keeps you emotionally and physically safe, or what gives you worth.
False beliefs are the outcomes of repeated distorted thoughts.
These distorted thoughts and false beliefs can be introduced very early in life, even as infants. As infants, we’re perceiving our safety and worth constantly, and our perceptions can begin to be distorted.
So, talking about children and how children learn how to perceive their environment. If their environment is unsafe, like there’s yelling, or screaming, or loud noises, or maybe they’re being neglected, they’re not being touched or held. Or if they are being touched and held, but they’re kind of rough. They start perceiving that their environment’s not safe, and so from that perception, children will go to a place of blaming themselves, like it must be me because their whole environment, their whole world is centered around them.
So, if something goes the way they want, they think it must be me, and if things go the way they don’t want, they think it must be me. So, when these characteristics are lacking or non-existent—this connection—it sends a message to the child that their safety and their worth are in question, so they don’t attach securely. They begin to manifest this uneasiness in a plethora of ways, and distorted thoughts and false beliefs begin to operate in the background of their lives.
It doesn’t happen to all children, but it can if they’re in an environment where there’s a lot of distortion, where there’s a lot of disconnect. Attempting to prevent distorted thoughts and false beliefs from ever affecting children is impossible, and we also want to minimize the amount of distortion children experience at such a young age, to support them in feeling safe in their environments. We want to be as connected, and loving, and compassionate and nurturing as possible with everybody, but specifically with children, because children will learn very quickly that their environment is safe or it’s not, and they will start distorting their reality because they will think that it’s about them that’s created this. They won’t say to themselves, “Oh, my mom’s in distortion and that’s why she’s not picking me up when I’m crying.”
They won’t say that. they’ll say, “My needs aren’t important. I don’t matter. I’m not lovable.” That’s where they’ll go.
Let me share another piece. Truth is about distorted thoughts and false beliefs. Every distorted thought is rooted in a deeper false belief about your identity, your worth and safety. Anytime you have a distorted thought, you know there’s a false belief under the surface that’s saying something like, “You don’t matter. You’re not enough. You’re unlovable. Your needs aren’t important.”
False beliefs must be named precisely to be exposed. You can’t name a false belief just by identifying a distorted thought. You know you have named your distorted thought and false belief when voicing it produces a shiver of recognition. So, it’s like “Oh, there is it.”
My fear that I’m inadequate, that’s what I’m reacting to. I know that’s not the Truth, however I can tell that my meeting that I had with my boss today, and how I felt like I was “in trouble” or I didn’t do things right, or they didn’t appreciate my work, was all about my fear of being inadequate. And the Truth is that they were just giving me feedback. They weren’t being critical; they were critiquing my work. But because I have this distorted thought and false belief, I went right to, I’m not enough, I’m inadequate and that’s why I started feeling afraid.
Another Truth about distorted thoughts and false beliefs: dislodging distorted thoughts and false beliefs takes patience. You have spent decades feeding the distortions; it will take time to weaken them.
Every time you process a trigger and connect with Truth, the distorted thought and false belief will get weaker. The more consistent you are about processing your trigger, the faster you will heal. That’s good news because it means you can change these things—and you can.
Every time you have an experience, you’re either going to experience the experience inside Truth or you’ll experience it inside distortion. There’s only two places to go. Truth or distortion.
So, we’ve talked about how to hold it in Truth, now we’re talking about if you choose to hold the experience in distortion.
Distorted thoughts are like two different kinds of presentation, so if you hold it in distortion, you’re either going to go one of these two presentations, and when you’re in distortion, your distortion typically sounds really reasonable because you’re so used to being in one of these two positions that it’s just normal for you. However, it is not normal, it’s not healthy. It’s not the Truth to be in one of these two positions.
Here are the two positions: you will either go to a place of self-denigration which is on one end of the distorted continuum, or you will go to self-adulation which is on the other end of the distorted thought continuum.
So, all distorted thoughts and false beliefs are languaged along a continuum of erroneous statements and beliefs, called self-denigration or self-adulation. When we learn self-denigration or self-adulation beginning very early in life, we kind of pick one side that we favor more than the other. However, when were in self-adulation, self-adulation is actually a cover for the fear that self-denigration is really the Truth, which means I’m no good, I don’t matter, I’m not enough.
So, here’s what self-denigration sounds like. Now, remember, self-denigration and self-adulation are on two ends of that spectrum called distorted thoughts. So, over time in self-denigration, 1) your perceived experiences, and 2) your environment did and said things that you processed through false beliefs and distorted thoughts.
For example, you concluded getting a D on your report card means you’re unlovable, which is a false belief. And you’re unlovable because I’m not as smart as my sister; that’s a distorted thought.
Or I’m inadequate which is a false belief because I’m not as athletic as Michael, my brother. That’s a distorted thought.
So, over time, you have had experiences and/or your environment did and said things that you processed—or they told you directly—things that were not the Truth. Getting a D on your report card means that you’re not as smart as your sister. Maybe your mom or dad said that, but maybe they didn’t. Either way, it’s a distorted thought.
Self-adulation is on the other side of that continuum. Though there are many ways to send and receive messages of self adulation, here are a few common ways children and adults learn to self-adulate.
- We enable a child or an adult not to learn about the natural process of choice and consequence. So we shield them, we enable them, we protect them from consequences of their own choices, or we teach them to avoid and fear choices and mistakes.
- We indulge a child or an adult, which invites them into entitlement, which is a distortion. Entitlement forms false beliefs and distorted thoughts that say:“The rules don’t apply to me.” That’s a distorted thought.
“Because I’m special.” That’s a distorted thought.
“I can do whatever I want.” Distorted thought.
“I’m perfect—or at least I should be—and I don’t make mistakes.” Distorted thoughts.
All of these distorted thoughts are a massive cover from my false beliefs. Self-adulation is an attempt to deny away the knowledge that I’m actually not perfect and that I do make mistakes. Self-adulation is an attempt to deny, or hide, or cover up my intense fear of not being enough, or being unworthy, or being inadequate.
Self-adulation is always a cover or a hiding place for the incredible fear that I’m not enough, I’m unlovable, I don’t matter, or I’m bad.
Both self-denigration and self-adulation are position in distortion. The person who believes the lies and deceptions of either position, either I’m less than or I’m better than, is invited out of Reality and therefore the Truth. Let me say that again. Anyone who believes the deceptions of either position of I’m less than or I’m more than is invited to choose to come out of Reality and Truth.
The person then uses their choice to either stay in the distortion consciously or unconsciously, or to exit the distortion and come back into The Reality, The Truth. A person who stays in distortion believes that what they’re thinking and feeling is the Truth, and thus needs people they trust to share the Truth with them so that they may choose to leave the distortion.
So, saying to yourself that self-adulation or self-denigration is better or worse than the other is like arguing that it’s safer to fall off a tight rope on the left side versus the right side.
Distortion just means I go into a place where I am dishonest with myself. That’s what it means. Truth says I go into a place where I’m going to be honest with myself.
I think I’ve been clear about those two positions, Truth and distortion. So, motives—let’s go back to motives. Motives come from experience, I’ve talked about that, that merging freeway, right? Motives come from experience that merge into our minds and we then—all of us—choose how we will perceive and interpret or think about the experience, and then we respond or we react to all of our experiences. We either respond, which is conscious, or we’ll react, which is typically unconscious. Not all the time—sometimes we choose to react, but oftentimes it’s an unconscious thing.
So, we will choose either consciously or consciously Truth or distortion, and once we choose, once that experience merges into one of those lanes, one of those automatic lanes or automatic thoughts, consciously or unconsciously what we will think and perceive about something or someone, then comes emotion.
So, emotion attaches to every thought that we have. So, emotion is like experience: it’s neutral. emotion comes and says, “Whatever you’re thinking, I’ll attach the appropriate emotion to it so you can experience it not only in your mind, but you’ll also be able to feel it.” You’ll have a deep visceral experience that gets your attention and often gets the attention of others.
[00:58:48] Emotions Are Neutral
So, let’s talk a little bit more about the neutrality of emotion. Emotions are neutral. Remember, emotions come after you have perceived the experience. So, the experience comes down the on-ramp and merge, because of what you choose to believe or perceive about it, and you either put it into a distorted lane or you put it into a Truthful lane, and then emotion attaches.
And so, emotions are neutral. All of us experience emotion. Emotions that we don’t want to feel, the ones that bring discomfort, pain, fear, confusion, or anything else you deem as unpleasant. When emotions attach to Truth and Reality, the emotions can and do hurt and are unpleasant. Just because you’re in the Truth doesn’t mean you don’t have unpleasant emotions. It’s like, the Truth is there’s a fly in my potato salad. That is an unpleasant experience.
So, when emotions attach to distorted thoughts and false beliefs, they again are unpleasant and hurt. However, when emotions attach to Truth and Reality, you then stay in honesty and personal responsibility. The uncomfortable emotions begin to be addressed, understood, validated, seen, empathized with, and then let go of, surrendered.
Those are all choices you can make by the way. You may not do that, but you could choose all that. You could feel the emotion, attach it to the Truth, and stay in honesty and be responsible for your feelings, be responsible for the facts of the experience, and those uncomfortable emotions begin to be addressed, you start understanding them, you start validating yourself, you feel seen by yourself, or maybe you ask somebody else for validation. You empathize with yourself and then you let go of what you cannot control. Those are all choices you make.
When emotions attach to distorted thoughts and false beliefs and denial—those are choices you make, by the way—when you have a distorted thought and an emotion comes and attaches to it, you can’t let go of it or surrender it because the emotions are attached to a lie. Statements that have distortion in them—and therefore the emotions which are skewed because they’re attached to a lie—continue to be felt, and experienced, and hurt over and over and over until I’m willing to be honest and personally responsible, tell myself the Truth about the experience and let it go.
Let’s say that I told myself that my brother put the fly in the potato salad and my brother goes, “Jodi, I didn’t do that. I didn’t put the fly in the potato salad. And I’m like, “Yes, you did. I know you did.”
And so, until I’m willing to tell myself the Truth, I can’t really let that thing go because I just want to blame him, I want to be angry at him, I want him to know how hurt I am.
Now, let’s say that he actually did put the fly in the potato salad and that was The Truth. So, I say to him, “Why would you do that?” He’s like, “I thought it would be funny.”
Well, I can let go of that because I know what the Truth is. And the truth is, is that I don’t want to have a summer picnic lunch with him again. I don’t want to eat when he’s around because he’s not safe, and so I’m telling myself the Truth about the experience. And as I tell myself the Truth, then I can make a plan and let go of the things I cannot control, and I can put boundaries around myself for the things I can control.
So, it’s very, very important that you get into the Truth of your experiences, get into the Reality of your experiences so that you can understand your emotions and then get them validated whether by self or someone else, and then eventually surrender them and let them go.
Because distorted thoughts and beliefs are so unpleasant to experience in Reality, and because they invite us to feel fear sometimes and believe that the distorted thoughts might be true, we as humans use these strategies to control and deny the distorted thoughts and false beliefs from our emotional, spiritual and sometimes physical sight, to defend ourselves against pain, sorrow, hurt, fear and anything else that would cause the human family emotional, spiritual or physical discomfort.
We become masterful at denying ourselves, which means we go into denial. We become masterful at denying ourselves the gifts of connection because we’re afraid to experience Reality and the emotions that appropriately are connected with Reality. The emotions that are appropriately connected.
So, it’s okay to feel Reality. It doesn’t mean that something bad is going to happen, but you have to be willing to be uncomfortable in order to experience that. You have to be willing to say, “Okay, well, this experience in Reality was not pleasant, and I’m okay with the fact that I felt something that was painful. It didn’t kill me.”
I’m going to stop right here and I’m going to have this broken up into two parts, because this is getting quite long. I will talk to you in just a minute on the other podcast. Take care. Bye bye.
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See the following materials for more in-depth study of the topics in this podcats