Episode 93: Distorted Thoughts, False Beliefs & Shame

Episode 93: Distorted Thoughts, False Beliefs & Shame

Hosted by Jodi Hildebrandt.

In this episode, Jodi breaks down what distorted thoughts are, how they become false beliefs, and how distorted thoughts and false beliefs relate to shame.  Distortion is the enemy of connection.  In this episode, you’ll get to “know thy enemy” in greater detail, so you can live in greater connection.

 

Full Transcript

PDF Version: Episode 93 Transcript: Distorted Thoughts, False Beliefs & Shame

Episode 93: Distorted Thoughts, False Beliefs & Shame

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.

Hundreds of people have participated already, and have drastically transformed their lives by living and being in Truthful, emotionally honest relationships. They report experiences of personal empowerment and emotional and mental sophistication being introduced into their relationships.

So, now it’s your turn to come and participate. This classroom experience will change the way you interact with yourself and others in powerful ways, giving you the tools and emotional sophistication to connect deeply inside yourself and invite other in your life to do the same.

Come and experience connection. Go to www.connexionsclassroom.com, and hit the “Go to Academy” button and sign up. I look forward to meeting you and connecting.

[00:02:48]

Season’s greetings and welcome to ConneXions Classroom Podcast. I’m Jodi Hildebrandt. It is very cold where I live. It’s December 3rd, 2016 and I am looking forward to the New Year. One, because I get to see my son. He’s out living his life and I’ll get to see him again in July, so I look forward to that. And also, I look forward to being able to play in all the water that is going to be melted because of all the snow that we’ve had. I’m not a huge fan of the cold, so I really look forward to playing in the spring time. So, spring is coming and I am very grateful for all the seasons that I get to enjoy here where I live on the planet.

So, today, I want to talk about this construct. I’ve talked about it many, many, many times and it is at the epicenter of understanding the oppositional force of Truth. And it’s a construct called shame. And more importantly, I’d like to deconstruct this construct for you and talk specifically about what shame is, and use some different words other than shame, even though they mean the same thing. A lot of people have never heard that word shame, but I think if I start talking about shame from a position of distorted thinking, or distorted thoughts, or beliefs that I buy into, or that I believe are the Truth that are false—so they’re called false beliefs, I think it will be a little bit easier for people to understand.

So, I want to answer some questions, like:

  • What is shame?
  • And why do I, or why do you, need to know about shame?
  • What’s the big deal about shame?
  • And how does it affect you?
  • And how does it keep you trapped in feelings of despair, and isolation, or not-enoughness? Or feelings of superiority, feelings of being better than, feelings of entitlement? Those are all emotional reactions to this construct of shame / distorted thoughts / false beliefs.
  • And by knowing what shame is, how can you become aware of how to minimize its affects in your life?

So, very important questions. All of us experience the phenomenon of shame. And like I said, I want to break it down into these statements or these words of distorted thinking and false beliefs because that is what shame is.

Distorted thoughts and false beliefs are erroneous conclusions that I make about myself, that I make about others, and about my life, and their life, and there are erroneous conclusions I make about my experiences, my reality, and ultimately, about my worth and my safety here on the planet Earth.

Distorted thoughts and false beliefs form when I experience a painful, uncomfortable, or traumatic experience and I choose to perceive that painful, uncomfortable, or traumatic experience in a distorted manner. So, I choose and even though I might be unconscious of this, I still am making choices. I choose to perceive it through a lens of fear, or confusion, or lack of knowledge, or a lack of facts, or a lack of Truth or Reality. And so, when I have this uncomfortable experience that happens and then I perceive it inside a distorted manner, then I will feel shame. I will feel the weight, the emotion, of the distorted thoughts and the false beliefs. So, when I agree with false beliefs and distorted thinking, I exit Reality and begin to question who I am—my very divinity, my worth and my safety. And I’m not just talking physical safety, I’m talking spiritual, emotional safety. I start questioning that, like somehow, my spiritual safety is in question when I start believing these distortions.

The Truth is, is that my spiritual safety is never in question. There is no way for anyone to access my spirit and I’ve talked about this numerous times in my podcasts. I am a person who is very aware of traumas that can happen to a being. I’ve had my fair share of traumatic experiences. And at the same time, I’m here to tell you that you can heal from any kind of trauma that you have experienced, because your soul actually has not been injured as far as the person or the experience could not access your spirit, like they can get to your body but they cannot get to your soul.

Now, I can get to my soul by believing things that are not the Truth. And so, my body becomes “ravaged” in some kind of an experience. And then I, in my own mind, sit and I tell myself about why that happened to me, that I deserved that, or it was my fault, or if I would have done this then that wouldn’t have happened. And I start telling myself all these distorted thoughts which then affect my soul, which then start affecting whether I believe or not that I can heal, that I can change.

Now, I am not a being where I am taking trauma lightly. I absolutely understand the weight of trauma, and at the same time, I do want to invite you—those who are interested—to hear what it is that I’m saying and realize that when trauma happens, you are affected—horrendously affected at times—maybe even you sacrifice your own life. And at the same time, no one can touch your soul. It’s impossible.

Now, I don’t know if that upsets people to hear that or if you feel grateful to know that. But that is The Truth. And it is us, that through these erroneous conclusions that we draw around the trauma, that we then start attacking ourselves spiritually. So, when I agree with false beliefs and distorted thinking, I exit Reality and begin to question my divinity, my worth, and my safety.

False beliefs invite me to conclude that I’m not enough, I’m unlovable, my needs are not important, and I don’t matter. And when I choose to believe those statements, I will experience, I will feel the most uncomfortable emotion that the human family has ever felt: shame. Shame.

[00:10:38] What is Shame?

So, what is shame?

Shame is a distortion of Truth and at times, (if I can’t or don’t know how to hold it in Truth), a consequence of sin or a consequence of violating my own moral, ethical, spiritual compass, that’s what it is. It’s a consequence, it’s an outcome.

Now, when I say it’s an outcome, it doesn’t mean that when I violate my own moral code, or I err, or I sin against something that I believe in, that automatically shame comes. The emotion that is meant to come is the emotion of guilt. However, if I am not conscious and conscientious, I will experience shame instead of remorse because shame is a distortion of the Truth. So, if I sin or I violate myself in some way, shape, or form, or someone else, then it’s appropriate to feel sorrow, and regret, and remorse, and guilt.

However, because shame is a distortion of Truth, those emotions would be in the Truth. If I err, then I need to feel remorse for what I’ve done. That is a Truthful process. However, if I’m in distortion, then the guilt will not come and shame will show up.

So, when did this word shame or this phenomenon arrive? Like, when did it first enter into our consciousness? Well, the first that I know about shame was written about in the Bible. It’s been here since the beginning or at least since the beginning of our first parents. And its purpose is to distract you from the Truth, from Reality, to distract you from your vulnerability. Your vulnerability is an experience that you have 24/7—you are vulnerable 24/7. And what shame says, or what distortion says, is that your vulnerability is bad, or wrong, or not right, or you’re unlovable, or you don’t matter.

So, when you have these experiences, let’s say you forgot your keys and you locked yourself out of the car, your distortion comes in and says, way to go, smooth move, you’re such a klutz, I can’t believe you didn’t pay attention, you always do things like this, why is that you don’t think before you turn off the car. You did this last year. It just attacks.

So, let’s talk about shame—and when I use that word, I want you to think about distorted thoughts, distorted thinking, and/or a belief that you have that’s false about you or about someone else.

So, feelings of shame are a subjective acknowledgment of an objective reality. Let me say that again. The feelings of shame are a subjective acknowledgment of an objective reality. That’s really important. And an objective spiritual reality as well, called Truth. The juxtaposition between shame and guilt is that guilt, though it feels uncomfortable and “bad” is judicial in character. Guilt is judicial in character. Guilt critiques the behavior, the character of the being, not the being itself. Whereas shame is relational. Shame not only critiques the being and their vulnerabilities, shame attacks and emphasizes personal sins or personal moral transgressions and how those transgressions affect the self-identity.

Shame traumatizes the individual because of the choices they’ve made. So, like, these moral trespasses against their own moral code of ethics. And then, shame compares them to others. It tells them what they know to be right, or good, or appropriate, or moral, or what their spouse, or family, or friends, or God would have them do. Shame exposes their failures to everyone, and about everything, and tells them they cannot be. They won’t be enough, they aren’t what they seem, or they should be, or what people think they are, they aren’t. They are imposters, they are frauds, they are incapable, they’re inadequate, they’re ridiculous, they’re bad, they’re unimportant and not enough.

Shame tells you there’s no hope. Shame is a distortion. It’s a lie that we all hear, that invites us to question our own humanness, our own vulnerability, our own propensity to not adhere to our own values, beliefs, and morals. And shame invites us to question what is the Truth versus what is true.

[16:10] Truth vs. true

So, what is the Truth means what is objective, what is factual, what is eternal, what is concrete. And what is true is subjective. And shame is very subjective. True is about my emotions. What is true means that my feelings can change. True is about my opinion or my perceptions. Shame loves to critique my perceptions and then tell me it’s the Truth.

The word shame was written down by scholars or prophets who wrote sections of the Bible. It is first seen in Genesis. Eve’s first response was to hide from God because she had been deceived by the serpent and thus felt and experienced shame. She was told to hide herself, and she did. And that feeling as you read that section of the Bible, it’s an insidious feeling that just runs through everything, that everything about her was bad and wrong according to the shame that she felt.

Guilt on the other hand—guilt is an emotion that comes from God. Guilt is also a consequence of sin, a consequence of choices made, that you—the being—would consider improper, inappropriate, violations, or infractions to a personal code of behavior and beliefs. Guilt is a very personal experience and it is an indicator to a soul. It’s an indicator to a being to let them know that they are moving away from their previous agreed upon commitments of conduct, morally, socially, financially, spiritually, physically, sexually and in all manners that constitute or make up a human being.

Guilt, or something I like to call remorse, is an ally, not a foe. Guilt has one purpose: guilt is there to alert you to your own deviant behavior, to remind you that you are capable of returning to your original state of being, where you felt / experienced calm and continuity inside your choices and their outcomes. Guilt is a loving “tap on the shoulder” that says, “Do you want to continue down this road? If not, here’s how you can come back.”

Guilt invites you to see what you did, how you acted, how you behaved. Guilt says what you did was inappropriate according to your own moral code, and you need to feel and experience remorse, regret, sorrow for choices made.

This “taking of responsibility” of what you did and how you chose to behave is vitally important because if you choose not to be responsible for what you did and how what you did affected yourself and others, then you will always default into shame. That’s a very important piece. If I’m not willing to take responsibility for my choices that I make and feel appropriate remorse, and sorrow, and clean things up, then I can’t live in Truth. And when I make decisions and I do something else that is contra to what I believe in, because I don’t have a pattern of living in Truth, I will default to shame. Shame will always be the place that I go to. Shame is a place where there is no responsibility—none. What exists in shame is blaming, anger, comparison, rationalization, justifying, compartmentalization, and every other denial strategy that is available to ignore and deny responsibility for what I’ve done.

So, it’s your choice. Either you choose to experience guilt and move towards repentance, or you will inadvertently choose shame. You have to be in one place or the other. You can’t be in a third spot.

So, when I choose to enter distortion—which is shame—it is a very personally irresponsible and confusing decision. I am thinking in a distorted manner and therefore, everything from that point forward will not be in Reality or Truth. Unfortunately, I am oftentimes not aware of my own self-deception, and thus my distortion tells me and invites me to believe and feel that I am—I am—not enough, I am bad, I am unworthy, I’m inadequate, I’m incapable, I’m less than others, I’m stupid, the worst, unable to change or improve, I’m the problem, the mistake, an annoyance, I’m a bad parent, employer, employee, I’m too fat, I’m too thin, I’m too blonde, I’m too brown, I’m too short, I’m too tall, I’m wrong, I’m unlovable, I’m the lowest, most screwed up worm to ever exist on the planet.

Distortion can also tell me to believe that I am entitled, the best, invincible, genius, superior, better than, above others, perfect, incapable of making mistakes, Superman, I do it all right, I don’t need anyone, I am self-contained, I don’t care how I affect others, I have it all, I’m great, and I have life all figured out.

Both ends of this continuum of distortion and the feelings they create are all about who I am as a being. Distortion, shame, tells me that I am these things. And that is the greatest lie of all.

Since distortion defines my being, it tells me that there’s no way to change who I am. Distorted thoughts render me incapable of change or being anything other than what my distorted thoughts and false beliefs tell me that I am. That’s a lie.

The only thing that you am is divine. You are divine, you are worthy, you are lovable, you are enough, you are good. And what guilt says, is that you have chosen to behave. Guilt critiques your behaviors, shame criticizes your being.

Guilt is a very personally responsible emotional choice. Guilt and remorse are governed by your active choice to define your experiences inside Truth. You experience remorse and guilt when you recognize and own—which means accept and be responsible for—the link between your uncomfortable emotions and your inappropriate choices and behavior. Guilt and remorse are appropriate emotions of feeling “bad” because you’ve made choices, consciously or unconsciously, to behave in ways that I would not like to behave in the future.

So, notice when you experience guilt and remorse, you are feeling bad because of what you did, what you’ve done. Behavior is being critiqued, not your identity. Not your identity. Very, very important that you understand that.

Let me just juxtapose with you what guilt says versus what shame says.

  • Guilt and remorse is the realization that you did wrong. You made a mistake. Shame or distortion is the false realization that you are wrong, I am a mistake.
  • Guilt says I messed up. That’s a behavior. Shame says I’m messed up.
  • Guilt says I chose poorly. Shame says I’m worthless.
  • Guilt says I didn’t understand, will you help me? Shame says I’m flawed and defective.

So, guilt and remorse are always critiquing your behavior. Whereas, distortion, and shame, and false beliefs attack the being. They attack you. And they tell you that what you are is not enough, unlovable, unworthy, and that your needs don’t matter and that you’re inadequate. That’s what shame wants to tell you. And there’s no Truth to it at all.

[00:24:56] The Two Flavors of Distorted Thoughts

Let’s talk about what I like to call the two flavors of distorted thoughts. Two flavors of distorted thoughts. I was just talking about that. The two different ends of distorted thoughts are along this continuum. And the continuum has these two ends. One is called self-adulation and one is called self-denigration.

So, all distorted thoughts and false beliefs fall, or are languaged, along a continuum of erroneous statements and beliefs, called self-denigration and self-adulation. We learn how to self-denigrate or self-adulate beginning very early in life.

This is how self-denigration shows up. Over time, I perceive experiences—that’s one way that I can self-denigrate, is that inside my perception, I experience things and in my perception or my meaning, I say things like, I’m bad, I’m unworthy, I don’t matter, I can’t, I’m stupid, I’m dumb. Or my environment did or said things to me that I processed through a false belief or distorted lens.

For example, I concluded that getting a D on my report card means I’m unlovable because I’m not as smart as my sister. So, you can hear that statement of false belief of, I’m unlovable because I’m not as smart as my sister. Getting a D on my report card does not mean I’m unlovable. That’s not the Truth. But distortion says uh, you got a D, so that means that you’re unlovable, and it also means you’re just not as smart as your sister is. And “smart” is a subjective measure. No one gets to say how smart you are. I mean, I understand that there are tests that can rank your IQ and those kinds of things, but that’s just silliness. Those things are silly. There’s all different ways to be smart.

Another distortion. I’m inadequate because I’m not as athletic as Michael. So, someone is thinking that they’re inadequate because they’re not as athletic. Again, athleticism is a subjective measure. No one gets to say who is more athletic than someone else. And definitely it doesn’t mean that they’re inadequate because they’re not.

So, self-denigration can start or does start very early in one’s life, and depending on the environment that they’re raised in, they will learn this from their environment—not just from their parents but from their environment. So, if their environment has a lot of self-denigrating people around them, they will pick that up and they will start modeling that in their own language.

The other end of the continuum is called self-adulation. Though there are many ways to send and receive messages of self-adulation, a few common ways that people learn to self-adulate are when someone is enabled as a child or an adult to not learn about the natural process of choice and accountability. So someone shields them from their consequences, someone “protects” them from their consequences, and teaches them to avoid. And they become afraid. They become afraid to choose, because if they choose, then they might make a mistake. Or if they choose, they might have an outcome. And if they’re not taught that they absolutely will have an outcome—because every choice has an outcome—then they will start feeling entitled, or better than, or the exception.

Another way that self-adulation gets taught is by indulging a child or indulging an adult. It invites them to feel entitled or better than. Entitlement forms false beliefs and distorted thoughts that say the rules don’t apply to me because I’m special, I can do whatever I want, I’m perfect, I don’t make mistakes. All of these distorted thoughts are a massive cover for the person.

And here’s the Truth about self-adulation: 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 not being worthy, 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, and I’m bad.

So, both positions—self-denigration and self-adulation—are in distortion or in shame. Like I said, these are the flavors of shame, this is how shame shows up. When I say a person is speaking in shame, what I mean is, is that they’re coming from one of these positions of either self-denigration or self-adulation. 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 the Truth. Because the Truth is, they’re not either better or less, it’s not even about better or less—they just are.

But they’re invited out of that Reality and that Truth. The person then uses their choice to either stay in the distortion consciously or unconsciously. Or they can choose to exit the distortion and come back into Reality and Truth. A person who stays in distortion believes that what they are thinking and feeling is the Truth when they’re in distortion. And thus, they need people they can trust to share Reality with them, so they may choose to leave the distortion.

So, those are the two ways that shame shows up, or like I said, distortion shows up, false beliefs show up. But it’s all the same thing. Shame, distorted thoughts, false beliefs, it’s all the same. And what it is, is that it’s a deceptive lie that I am buying into because I have temporarily not been able to find the Truth.

So, let’s say I walk outside, and it starts snowing, and I feel like I’m being punished for something that I did that was wrong two or three days ago. I walk outside and it starts snowing and all of a sudden, I feel this’ “I’m being punished by the heavens because I’m getting sopping wet because of what I did a couple of days.” There’s no Truth in that at all. Whatever I’ve done a couple of days ago, I need to go rectify because obviously, it’s weighing on my mind. But it has no correlation to me going outside and getting wet. I’m not being punished, the heavens aren’t retaliating against me, that’s just nonsense.

So, what I’m having is an experience. When it snows outside and I go out and I get wet, I’m having an experience. And experience allows us to be what’s called triggered.

[00:32:29] Triggers

So, what in the world is a trigger?

When I’m triggered, it means that I’m having an emotional experience. When I have a trigger, it means that I’m responding to the experience emotionally. That’s where all the meaning, that’s where all of my interpretation, all my perceptions, all my defining begins, is inside experiences that I feel emotion in—which is every experience I have. So, experience is always about having thoughts, and then my thoughts have emotions. So, I have an experience and then I interpret the experience, I put meaning to the experience, I perceive the experience, I start defining the experience, and that’s where the language comes, that’s where my thoughts come from. And my thoughts can either be in the Truth or my thoughts can be in distortion/shame. I can choose to define my experience in Truth, which means I tell myself the facts, the objectiveness of the experience, the things that are in Reality. This would require me to not react and just allow my emotions to run things.

Or I can choose to interpret in distortion. This is where lies come in. I believe what is true to me. I believe what is true. Remember—true is about being subjective, emotional, changeable, not based in fact—so I just react to my emotions. So, when I believe what is true to me, and I believe that that’s the Truth, and I don’t ever become curious and look for the Truth, then I’ll go into distortion—I’ll either go into self-denigration or self-adulation. And I will believe it’s real. I will absolutely believe it’s real and I’ll believe it’s the Truth. And everything, every thought, every emotion, every behavior will have distortion in it from that point on. If I don’t I get I into the Truth and I just go with what’s true, all my next experiences, my every thought, my emotion, my behavior will have distortion, lies, untruths in them. And I can stay there for generations, lifetimes, months, years, or moments, conditioned upon my willingness to be humble and get curious about what the Truth is. What is the Truth inside the experience?

Just because you or I are uncomfortable or experiencing pain doesn’t mean that distortion is present. So, being uncomfortable does not mean that I have to go into distortion. Experiencing pain does not mean that I have to go into distortion.

[35:40] Optional Pain & Inevitable Pain

There are two types of pain. There’s optional pain and inevitable pain. So, a lot of us think when we have experience and there’s pain inside the experience, like I go out and I see that my car tire is flat, that’s a painful experience because now, I 1) can’t get to work on time, 2) I don’t know how to change a tire, 3) I don’t have a backup car, 4) I have nobody to help me change that. I could go on and on and just start feeling more and more pain. But some of us believe that when we have those kinds of experiences, that it’s because I’m in distortion. And that is not the case, because there are two different types of pain or discomfort. One is inevitable. And one is optional.

Inevitable pain is the result of particular experiences that just show up, like a flat tire, or loss of a job when you weren’t responsible for the loss of the job, you broke your arm, you ran out of eggs as you were making a cake, your friend is upset, you spill flour all over your floor, your windshield wiper breaks in a snowstorm, you wake up to a leg cramp, you can’t find your keys. Those are all inevitable experiences with pain, discomfort. They just kind of come and it doesn’t mean you have to go into distortion. You have an opportunity to choose to go into Truth, so when you lose your job and you weren’t responsible for the loss, instead of going into distortion and adding additional pain on top of your inevitable pain, you can stop yourself and you can say “Okay, this isn’t good, and I don’t have a backup, and I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do, and I’m not going to go into distortion around this, I’m going to call some people, I’m going to talk about how I feel, I’m going to go to so-and-so because I know that they are really good about making resumes, and headhunting for jobs, and I’m going to start making a plan to resolve this issue. And I’m also going to feel emotions of remorse, or sadness, or maybe grief, or loss, because that would be appropriate to feel those kinds of emotions when I have that experience.”

Or there’s this other kind of pain called optional pain. Optional pain is just that, it’s optional. Optional pain has distortion in it. You can’t escape inevitable pain, that’s the Truth. You cannot escape inevitable pain. And you can look it and place facts and the Truth in it and surrender what you can’t control. But optional pain, you can control that. Optional pain is pain you create by going into distortion, by going into shame, by going into self-denigration, by going into self-adulation. You don’t have to go into those things.

So, just know that you are going to have inevitable pain, you’re going to have experiences that just show up that are uncomfortable. But you do not have to add additional pain. Optional pain comes from the stories we tell ourselves about our experiences. Optional pain comes from stories that we tell ourselves about our conclusions, our expectations, our interpretations, and assumptions about what those experiences mean about me.

So, what these experiences mean about me—the stories I tell myself about those experiences and what they mean about me. My painful emotions come from the stories I choose to tell myself and others, which are then reinforced by deeply-held and oftentimes invisible distorted thoughts and false beliefs about my worth, value, and my safety.

We also tell ourselves about the meanings of these fabricated storylines by saying, “…this and this and this happened and that means something personal about me. Like, I went outside and my car had a flat tire, and that means that I don’t matter.” These stories are not the Truth, and when we engage in 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. That’s as simple as it is.

Now, can you choose to never go into distortion, never go into shame? No, you can’t. The goal is not to never go there again, the goal is to learn to live really conscientiously, so that when you have an inevitable, painful experience, that if you start going into distorted thinking, you start going into optional pain, or let’s say you go there and you’re there for a couple minutes, you can start feeling it, you can start feeling the distortion inside your body and inside your mind. And you can say to yourself, “Stop, this is not the Truth, I’ve got to go find the Truth.” I’d invite you to go listen to some podcasts about what the Truth is. Podcast 70 – they’re called Truth Declarations. I would invite you to go listen to those because that’s how you get out of distortion, is that you tell yourself the Truth.

So, be willing to assess every experience you’re in and don’t add additional, optional pain to them. And when you know you’ve done something wrong, when you know you violated yourself or another person, choose to experience remorse, guilt, regret, sadness. And don’t go into distortion or shame. Go through the repentance process, which will invite you into the Truth. And there’s a podcast on the repentance process, it’s podcast number 14. I’d invite you to go listen to that one. It goes right through the steps of repentance. So, when you do something wrong, go through that process of repenting. If it’s just between you and yourself, then do that. If it’s between you and another person, then go clean that up really quickly. Truth is where you want to live.

It is challenging to be in Truth. It’s challenging to stay in Truth. And you can go there if you’re willing, if you’re humble. If you’re willing to be emotionally honest about what you’re feeling and then understand what the thoughts you are having that are creating those feelings.

Thoughts always come before feelings. What is making me the feel the way that I do? What kind of thoughts am I having that are affecting me to feel this way? Your feelings are not your indicator of whether you’re in Truth or not. Just because you feel a feeling does not tell you whether you’re in the Truth. You need to go and critique your thoughts, figure out what your thoughts are saying, so that you know what thoughts are connected to what emotions. Your thoughts need to be aligned with the Truth, the facts, the things that are provable. Then, your feelings will follow those Truthful thoughts.

And one way you will know if you’re in Truth is that you will experience a sense of responsibility, a sense of empowerment, a sense of peace. You will feel a sense of connection. You’ll be willing to do whatever the Truth tells you to do, like, “I was rude, I need to apologize.” Or, “I knew she wanted that and I took it, that was mean of me.” Or, “I need to confront my father on giving me feedback in front of my adult friends when I asked him not to.”

You will always be invited into behaving in responsibility when you tell yourself the Truth. You’ll always take responsibility for your choices, your feelings, and your behaviors.

So, be honest, be accountable, be responsible, be humble, be open, be willing to look at yourself always. When I think about this kind of rigor that I’m inviting all of us to live, it’s a very challenging process because all of us are experiencing things 24/7 and we are responsible for the things that we are experiencing as far as how we perceive them. When something shows up in my life, I am responsible for my perception around that—the meaning I place to that.

And so, I invite you, invite myself, to continue living in a way that I can be honest and emotionally honest with myself, and be curious about what it is that I’m thinking, so that I can understand my emotions and make sure that my emotions are connected to Truthful thoughts and not distorted thoughts.

And as you’re willing to look at yourself and live this way, you will be able to experience the outcomes of connection. That’s someplace that I invite everyone to come and stay as long as you possibly can. And if you leave that place of connection, come back quickly, because it is a very peaceful and gratifying place to live.

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