Hosted by Jodi Hildebrandt.
Part two of a two-part series. Listen to Part 1 >
In this episode, Jodi goes into great detail about distortion—how we create it, how it affects us, what its consequences are, and how to learn from it. We need oppositional experiences in life. Truth and distortion are opposed to one another, and it is through this contrast that we learn to recognize and live in Truth.
PDF Version: Episode 88: The Necessity of Distortion (Part 2)
Episode 88: The Necessity of Distortion (Part 2 of 2)
Welcome to ConneXions Classroom Podcast. We are so excited to introduce to you the opportunity for you to join us in a classroom setting where you will be taught the principles of connection. For those of you who have already joined us on the podcasts, and for those for you who have not, you are now ready to step into an extensive, hands-on, all-star classroom experience to better understand why you are experiencing and interpreting life the way that you do.
You will be introduced to the foundational principles of personal integrity, which are: how to live impeccable honesty, rigorous personal responsibility, humility, vulnerability, openness, willingness, transparency, and boundaries.
This is a 12-week intensive course that consists of meeting one time a week for two hours. You will be given six workbooks. In each workbook, instruction will be given to you on core concepts of how to live your life from a position of emotional honesty, Reality, Truth, boundaries, validation, being able to recognize your distortions, and how choice plays a central role in all of your experiences and emotional outcomes.
Some of the concepts covered inside of the classroom include: what validation and vulnerability are and how to animate those principles your life; how to live in Truth rather than distortion; how to recognize your distraction and your controlling behavior in your relationships; and how to live a life of peace rather than pain. Powerful concepts that change lives, beginning with yours.
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[00:02:48] Episode 88
Welcome back to ConneXions Classroom Podcast. We are talking about distortions, and why it is so necessary to actually understand what distortion, deception, dishonesty looks like, feels like, sounds like, so that you will have a very clear, unambiguous knowledge of Truth.
So, if you choose—again, consciously or unconsciously—to go into distortion, here’s what the process is as you engage it. So, remember, any time you can choose to tell yourself something honest and responsible, you can come back into Truth and Reality.
So, every choice is an invitation to come back into Truth. So you’re not stuck there. You just go there, and until you are willing to stop, slow down, think, feel, be humble, ask for help, ask for feedback, you will stay in that distorted spot.
So, pain is a natural part of life’s experience. So, there are two different types of pain and we’re going to talk about those.
There is pain that is inevitable pain, and I’ll explain what that is. And there’s also pain that we experience that’s optional, it’s according to how you’re going to choose to interpret things. It’s not something that just shows up in the experience, it’s something that you add to the experience.
So, remember, experience is neutral, and inside experience, you get to either contaminate the experience with distortion or keep it in a place of Truth and Reality.
With experience, not every experience is uncomfortable, but there are plenty of experiences that are. Let’s say I go to turn on my car and it won’t start and I’m giving a speech at work, and so I’m going to be late. That is a very uncomfortable experience.
Or I go to take a drink and I find a fly in it. That’s an uncomfortable experience.
Or I somehow hit my toe, or I knock my funny bone, or I wake up and I’m sick. These are all uncomfortable experiences that have pain or discomfort in them.
So, the first kind of discomfort or pain is called inevitable pain. So, these are the two ways that we experience pain. Pain is the result of particular circumstances, certain situations or circumstances trigger particular painful, uncomfortable, unpleasant feelings.
So, that’s as simple as it is, is that I have an experience and it provides me this opportunity to feel uncomfortable. Now, that’s not right or wrong, or good or bad, it’s just what is. It’s called inevitable pain.
On the other side of experience, so if you imagine you have experience written at the top of a page and you go down to the left and you say inevitable pain. Or you can draw a line down to the right and put optional pain.
[00:06:03] Optional Pain
Here’s what optional pain looks like. So, we have an experience and it’s painful, it has inevitable pain in it. I break my nail, I find out that I’m going to be let go of at work, I realize that my child is doing something immoral, or illegal, or painful to themselves and to someone else.
Those are experiences where there’s inevitable pain associated with it.
Now, when we’re in those kinds of experiences, that’s not distorted. It’s just part of life. And it doesn’t mean it’s wrong or bad, it just means it’s happening. And so, I can keep the inevitable pain in a situation or held in a position where I don’t add more pain on top of it, I don’t distort the inevitable pain. So, I just keep it in a spot where it’s the Truth, where I feel and experience the discomfort, I try to understand it, I do all that I can, and I found out what the Reality is, what’s honest, what my responsibility is or not, and then I surrender the outcomes of that, which sounds super easy to do that; it’s very difficult to do.
But I don’t add optional pain, because optional pain is this extra or additional layer of pain that most of us engage in, one, because we probably are unaware that we’re doing it and two, because we’re unaware, and it’s probably more habit that we go into this optional pain.
So, optional pain sounds like this: Our pain comes from the stories we tell ourselves about our experiences,. Our perceptions, our interpretations, our expectations, our conclusions, our assumptions about what those experiences mean about me. So, it’s how I interpret the experience and what it means about me.
Our painful emotions come from the stories we tell ourselves, and the stories that we tell ourselves about others, which are then reinforced by deeply held and often invisible distorted thoughts and false beliefs about our worth, our value, and our safety.
We also tell ourselves about the meanings of these fabricated storylines by saying, “and that means… something personal about me, like I am bad, or I am dumb, or I’m not enough, or I’m at fault when really I’m not. If I were enough, if you were smarter, or better, or more important, then these kinds of things wouldn’t happen.”
These stories that we tell ourselves are not the Truth, and when we engage with them and believe them, we will stay in a perpetual state of distortion until we’re willing to tell ourselves the Truth about the story we just told.
So, that’s what optional pain means. I cannot believe how quickly we go into that, how quickly we go into optional pain. That’s where most of our pain comes from. It’s where most of our suffering comes from, are these storylines that we tell ourselves.
So, we have an experience, and if there’s pain inside the experience that’s inevitable, you are being asked to experience it, and be responsible for it, and be honest about it, and feel it, like allow yourself to feel the grief, or loss, the sadness, the loneliness, the frustration, the anger, the whatever it is, whatever emotion is inside the inevitable pain. Own what’s yours, let go of what’s not yours, surrender. If you need to repent about something, repent. If you need to offer forgiveness to self or others, do it, but then let go of that inevitable pain.
And please, please, please don’t put more optional pain on top of it, because that’s where all the distortion is.
So, if we go into optional pain, which most of us will, probably; all of us will at some point go into optional pain. If we go into there, then we will go to one of these two positions. I was talking about those a minute ago. We’ll go into self-denigration or self-adulation.
So, what I want to what self-denigration is. All distorted thoughts are languaged along a continuum of erroneous statements and beliefs called self-denigration and self-adulation. Self-denigration, over time is
What your perceived experience is: you denigrate yourself around what you perceive in your experience.
And two, you go into self-denigration because your environment did and said things that you processed through a distorted lens.
For example, you concluded getting a D on your report card means you’re unlovable, and because I’m not as smart as my sibling, I’m inadequate. So, those are all distorted thoughts: I’m unlovable, I’m inadequate, and I’m not as smart as my sibling. Those are all self-denigrating thoughts.
Or you go to the other side of distortion. When you go into optional pain, you either go into self-denigration or self-adulation.
Self-adulation sounds like this: there are many ways to send and receive message of self-adulation. Here are a few common ways to learn to self-adulate.
Being enabled, either as a child or an adult, to not learn the natural process of choice and consequence, that’s a way to become self-adulating. So, you’ve been shielded or protected from your consequences of your choices. Or you’ve learned how to avoid your consequences of your choices.
Or number two, you have been indulged as a child or adult which then invites you into entitlement, which is also in distortion. Entitlement forms distorted thoughts that say, “The rules don’t apply to me because I’m special.” Or “I can do whatever I want.” Or “I’m perfect.” Or “I don’t make mistakes.”
All of these distorted thoughts are a massive cover for your core false beliefs.
So, 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, hide, and cover up my intense fear of not being enough or being unworthy, or being inadequate.
That’s what is. Self-adulation is just a massive cover for the fear that I believe that I’m not enough and I’m unworthy.
So, both self-denigration and self-adulation are positions in distortion. The person who believes the lies and deceptions of either position—I’m less than or I’m more than—is invited 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—which has to be conscious—and come back into the Reality and Truth.
A person who stays in distortion believes that what they are thinking and feeling is the Truth, and thus needs people they trust to share Reality—which is the Truth—with them, so they may choose to leave the distortion.
So, saying that self-denigration or self-adulation is better or worse than the other is like arguing that it’s safer to fall off a tight rope on the left side or the right side. Whichever position you go into, self-adulating or self-denigration, it’s all the same stuff. It’s all lies and distortion.
I think it would be helpful if I gave you some examples of what self-denigration and self-adulation sound like. That way, you can start recognizing these types of phraseologies either in yourself or in another person.
Let’s start with self-denigration. Imagine that you have a line on a piece of paper and on one side of the line is self-denigrating and then you go all the way over to the other side of the paper, on the other side of line, and the other side is self-adulating. And so, they sound very oppositional, if you will.
However, they both have lies in them. They both have distortion in them. So, I’m certain that you’ll be able to hear this. So, here’s what self-denigration sounds like.
[00:15:04] Examples of Self-Denigration
And remember, there are thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of ways to self-denigrate; these are just a sampling, and an opportunity to hear the flavor of self-denigration.
So, when somebody is self-denigrating, they say, “I’m bad.” “I’m stupid.” “Don’t listen to me.” “I’m too fat, or poor, or dumb, or inadequate.” Something along those lines. “I never do it right.” “I can’t (fill in the blank).” “I deserve it.” “People always one-up me.” “I’m born this way.” “I’m less than.” “My needs never matter.” “I’m not capable, I’m not smart, I’ll never figure that out.” “I’m fine with whatever.” “Bad things always happen to me.” “I’m a victim. You did this to me.” “You know more than me.” “I always do it wrong.” “No one cares about me.” “If I were only (fill in the blank).” “If I were only more capable.” “If I were only taller.” “I’m all alone.” “I don’t matter.”
My distortion, which is self-denigrating, shows up, and then I go into more distortion, which is called denial, and then denial reinforces both positions of self-denigration and self-adulation.
Now, let’s talk about what self-adulating sounds like. “I don’t know what you mean.” It’s kind of like, I just play dumb. “I can do this myself.” “I don’t make mistakes.” “I can do what I want.” “I feel better than you.” “I am better than you.” “Those kinds of things just happen to me.” “You should be grateful that I’m helping you, you should be grateful that I’m here, you should be grateful that (fill in the blank).” “You should feel fortunate, lucky, that I’m (fill in the blank).” “I will not tolerate this.” “I will not accept this.” “You’re not the boss of me.” “You can’t do that.” “Because I said so.” “I’m the best.” “No one can beat me.” “Rules don’t apply to me.” “I will decide (fill in the blank).” “I will decide what I do, what I think, where I go.” Yelling at someone or command them, like, “Learn how to drive.” “Stop being an idiot.” Basically, just being really aggressive. “I’m right.” “You’re wrong.” “My way or the highway.” “I’m entitled.”
Those are very self-adulating statements. And then, there’s some other statements that you can take either direction. They kind of fit in between, they’re still full of distortion, but they fit in between self-denigrating and self-adulating because it depends on how you perceive these.
So, like the statement it’s not fair could be a very self-adulating statement or it could be a very denigrating statement. So, these next statements are also full of distortion, however, depending on what your motive is, it will either be supporting the self-adulation or the self-denigration.
[00:18:45] What’s Your Motive?
Here’s a handful of them. “It’s not fair.” “It’s not my fault.” “You always blame me.” “I was born this way.” “I always get in trouble.” “I always get caught.” “They have it in for me.” “That shouldn’t have happened.” “I deserve… love, connection, more food.” “This always happens to me.” “You don’t call.” “You don’t think of me.” “Stop doing this to me.” “Why are you ignoring me?” “You always get more than me.” “You think I’m (fill in the blank).” “You think I’m better than or less than.” “I don’t know.” “You can’t help me.” This idea of perfectionism, people will say, “Oh, I’m trying to do things perfect.” Well, that’s self-deceptive, you can’t do things perfect. And the last one is, “This is impossible.”
So, you’ve got to know your motives on those but again, they have a lot of distortion in them.
You probably heard a lot of the word me in those distortions and the Truth is, is that distortion oftentimes becomes really personal. When you make it about you, it becomes personal, and when you make it personal, there’s going to be distortion in it.
So, when you go into either adulating or denigrating, you will also have denial. Denial cycles with self-adulation and self-denigration. So, I go into distortion and then inside my distortion, I go into more distortion which is called denial. Its cycles are what reinforces those distortions. So you need to reframe and you need to ask yourself, “What does that mean?”
Like, when I tell myself, “It’s not fair,” what does that mean? Any time I do anything or say anything, I have to ask that, what does that mean? What does that mean? Because when I ask what does it mean, it invites me out of the distortion, it invites me to start seeing clearly. It invites me to look and see if I’m being honest and accountable. That’s how I’m going to hear if I’m in distortion. And if I don’t know I’m in distortion after I’ve said what does it mean, and I can’t figure it out, then I need to call someone who lives in Truth. That’s really important that I follow through with figuring out what things mean.
And again, if I can’t figure it out, then I need to make a phone call and get connected with somebody who can help me decide for why it is I’m saying what I’m saying, to see if I’m in a cycle of distortion / denial.
[00:21:51] Distortion is Personal
I talked just a minute about distortion is always personal. So, here’s the first way that distortion becomes personal.
Number one, it’s always about you—the person that is going into distortion. Distortion is not outside of you. What’s outside of you is Reality. Now, people might be in distortion and they are outside of you. And everything that is being presented—even the people who are in distortion—are part of the experience that’s being presented to you. That’s why distortion is personal, because it’s all about you. You are the only one who is experiencing this, by yourself.
So, even though distortion is outside, it can’t get in you unless you buy into, unless you use your agency to choose to agree with the distortion, then it becomes a part of you. So, you can’t go into distortion unless you use your agency to then agree with a distortion. Then it becomes inside of you and that’s when you make it personal.
Here’s another way that distortion becomes personal. Distortion is personal because when you go into it, everything you experience inside of it is about you—how you weren’t being heard, and you weren’t being seen, and you weren’t being loved, or understood, or you’re not good enough, or you deserve something different, etc.
It’s all this ego-centric thoughts and behaviors, and that’s why it’s distorted, because your life is not only about you, and it’s about many other things and many other people as well.
So, you are affecting many things, and many things and people are affecting you. You’re not this lone wolf on the planet, you affect and people affect you.
[00:23:59] False Beliefs
I want to talk just briefly about false beliefs, and how false beliefs are learned when you’re super-young. False beliefs are reinforced because I believe that my distortions are the Truth. And when I believe that my distortions are the Truth, it means that my false beliefs, which are underneath those distortions—so when I go into self-adulation and self-denigration, my false beliefs about myself are being nourished because I believe my distortions are the Truth.
So, if you think of the dirt on the ground, think of false beliefs as the root structure underneath the ground. And so, as that plant grows, it develops stalks or branches. And so, the false beliefs are the root structure and the distorted thoughts are the branches that are growing out of that root structure. So, the distorted thoughts you can hear and see, they’re above the surface. Your false beliefs are below the surface.
So, your false beliefs say something like this. There’s about five of them: “I’m not enough,” “I’m unlovable,” “I’m unworthy,” “My needs don’t matter,” and “I’m inadequate.”
All of those false beliefs—all five of those—can really be sifted down into one false belief, which is, “I’m not enough.”
You could take pretty much every one of your distorted thoughts and they could fit inside the belief system of, “I’m not enough.” If I were enough, then this—whatever this is—would not be happening. I would not be experiencing what this is.
So, a false belief is a deeply flawed and distorted conclusion that you’ve reached, often long ago, about what keeps you emotionally and physically safe and what gives you worth.
So, false beliefs are the outcomes of repeated distorted thoughts, and these distorted thoughts and false beliefs can be introduced very early in life.
You either have real experiences of trauma or neglect, or you have perceived experiences that are confusing. And so, instead of being able to ask somebody what things mean, because you don’t know how to do that because you’re a kid, you just make up a story in your head. And that’s where your false beliefs begin to take root.
There’s a lot more clarification for that about when you’re a child, but I’m not going to go into it in this particular podcast because I want to focus in on the distorted thought piece, and not so much on the false beliefs. But you need to know that false beliefs are there under the surface, nurturing what’s going on—nurturing those distorted thoughts.
So, all of these manifestations of deception, all of these manifestations, whether it’s denial or distorted thinking that goes into self-adulation, self-denigration, whether they’re in the form of false beliefs, they’re all distorted.
Dishonesty will cause your human soul to become sick, emotionally and spiritually, and begin to act out, like physically, behaviorally act out in many ways.
Most commonly is this plague of addiction. That’s what addiction is—addiction is the reaction to your spirit and your brain being sick because you have bought into a ton of distortion.
So, we get to become curious. In order to heal, we’ve got to become curious about what Reality is and how to live in it and not distort it. Not lie to ourselves about all the many experiences that come our way to experience. We are to live, and practice, and stay in honesty. Then, we’re to be responsible for what the honesty tells us, which will then require us to be humble.
So, learning to live inside of being honest, responsible, and humble equals personal integrity. And when you live inside personal integrity, you will drastically decrease the amount of distortion you go into. And thus, make your day to day life more vulnerable, open, relaxed, compassionate. Most of all, you will reap and be the beneficiary of the outcomes of living in connection, because connection is birthed when you live an honest, responsible, humble, vulnerable, boundaried, validating lifestyle.
So, I hope this has been helpful. It’s been my desire to be super clear about what distortion is, where it comes from, and why we as human beings need to know and be very conscientious about the dangers of distortion, because too many of us are just being super-casual about going into deception, like it doesn’t even faze us because we’re becoming numb, and it needs to faze us, it needs to wake us up, it needs to shock us, so that we have a desire and a drive, internally, to move back into Truth and Reality, because that is the only place where connection lives and resides, is inside an honest, responsible soul.
Take care of yourselves and I hope that you’ve enjoyed this podcast and that you can apply these principles, and we will talk soon. Between now and then, live in connection.
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