How to Defeat the Lies you Believe
I keep a running tally of lies I've used this process against (25+). It hasn't failed me yet!
Part 1: Identify the Lie
What’s something you believe that you’re pretty sure you don’t have to believe?
It probably affects your relationships, work, daily behavior, and ultimately your quality of life.
“If somebody says something bad about me, it must be true”
“If my kid gets hurt, I’m a bad parent”
“If my boss is displeased, it must be my fault”
🤔 Here’s an example of a lie from my own life:
“Everything bad that happens is permanent; everything good that happens is permanent” Or “Every change is permanent”
If we have to cut back on expenses this month, it’s hard for me to envision an end date, so it feels permanent. I panic and institute rations and make other overly-dramatic choices.
Or if my husband and I have successfully prevented arguments through good communication, then I expect we’ll never argue again. Unfortunately, I’m totally shaken when that turns out not to be true.
Name the Lie
Identifying and naming a lie is 75% of the battle. Once you give it a name and declare it separate from you, you’ve already decided that you don’t have to believe it.
Give it a name so that you can easily refer to it moving forward:
“Oh I see, that’s just the Everything is Permanent issue popping up again”
“Are you believing the Everything is My Fault lie right now?”
”I think I’m a facing an Everyone is Right kind of a situation and need to snap out of it”
Recognize its Other Forms
It might take various forms or pop up in unexpected places.
Learn to recognize the physical or emotional feeling that you get when you are obeying this lie. Is it a sense of anxiety? Anger coursing through your veins? A desire to defend yourself?
Keep a list of where you see this lie popping up so it becomes easier to recognize.
Getting to this point may take only a matter of days or weeks.
Part 2: Practice Defeating it
Keep an eye out for opportunities to practice
When you sense one of those opportunities, pause and ask yourself
What am I believing right now?
What is this lie trying to tell me about myself?
Is this actually true? Or is this a clever attempt to get me to believe that same old lie?
Then give yourself a pep talk of the truth:
“No, I am not a bad parent. My child likes to play rough and is much happier when I don’t try to coddle him. I am a good parent.”
Repeat until you’re able to move on in this moment.
Aim for an Upward Trajectory
It’s alright if you fail over and over. It’s an actual battle in your mind! Keep fighting.
As I’m personally learning, progress is NOT linear. Some days it’s up, some days it’s down, but I’m always learning more and progressing more. Over time it takes an upward trajectory. You’ll fail less and less.
This will become easier.
Right now it’s mental aerobics. It’s pull-ups for your mind. The more you exercise this new resistance, the easier it will become over time.
You can actually rewrite the neural pathways in your brain so that you automatically begin to believe the truth over the lie.
Depending on how vigorously you attack this lie in your life, getting to this point could be months or years. And that’s ok. This is a marathon, not a sprint, but you’ll get faster and faster until it’s all second nature.
Brené Brown talks about the concept of a “shitty first draft”, or the stories we make up about something, in the absence of data (Dare to Lead). Basically, generating conspiracy theories and filling in the gaps, either about things we don’t fully know, or the lies we hear or tell ourselves.
Writing it out as an actual shitty first draft helps slow us down, but to distill it to its essence, we need to ask:
1. What more do I need to learn and understand about the situation?
2. What more do I need to learn and understand about the people in the story?
3. What more do I need to learn and understand about myself?
Answering these questions gives us a reality check and an opportunity to write a better (truer) version of that first draft.