It is part of our human nature to create defenses / excuses that can save us from feelings of overwhelm. These mechanisms or safeguarding tendencies are what personality theorists describe as behaviors that help protect the ego from the demands of the superego, id, and the demands of reality around us. Sometimes, it is deeply programmed into us, at other times, our subconscious tries to find the most creative way for us to get out of situations that we no longer wish to put up with. In the years that I have had to do therapy and healing, it has become evident to me that there are 5 basic lies that we all tend to tell ourselves to help us in our coping. And whether we realize it or not, these 5 basic lies are deeply embedded into us as a culture that we don't realize how they tend to limit us in our social, emotional, mental, and professional well-being. They are:
1. I'm just too busy!
We live in a culture that worships "busy". For some reason, we have equated "being busy" with an irrational sense of importance and arrogance. How many times have you found yourself making "busy" an excuse to get out of situations? How many times have we let the "busy" lie rule our lives? Sometimes busy just sounds like a more acceptable excuse right? Wrong. Being occupied with certain tasks may truly need our attention, but we need to stop making "busy" an excuse to ignore other things that may actually need attending to. Get off your mobile and FIND TIME. If you really don't want to do something, then a flat NO should do the trick.
2. It's always been this way.
This lie is used mostly when it comes to tradition and routine. These are the kinds of lies that dull our sparkle, because they hold us back from challenging norms, thinking outside of the box, and actively pursuing independent thought. It's a scary lie because it paralyzes us from actually moving forward. We get stuck in certain roles and we over identify with them just because they've "always been this way".
3. Success must be hard earned.
This is a universal money issue we all have. In fact it's a belief that limits our desire to pursue things because we become overwhelmed with the amount of work that needs to be done before we can get anywhere. Almost as if pursuing success was a chore... and this can be debilitating. Of course there is reason as to why we need to cultivate the discipline of hard, honest work, but it has become a belief that has made us think that reaching for dreams always have to be difficult. It puts us in the stress mindset, feeding on lies of "i'm just too busy", making other aspects of our lives suffer.
4. I owe people an explanation.
Especially in the Filipino culture, with concepts like hiya (a sense of shame or accountability towards others), we as a people feel like we need to explain each of our actions to our community. We have such strong cultural ties that this can limit us from advancing in the direction that we would like to go. When we feel like we need to explain our actions to every single person, this comes with a fear of what other people will and can say about your personal direction. And when we get stuck in wondering what they could do or say, we delay decisions or we simply never take action.
5. I am limited.
We tend to underestimate ourselves, don't we? We put ourselves into a box, thinking that we can have the things that are only within our reach. If we go any further, we may need to explain ourselves to people, we might have to work hard, people may reject us, and routine could go berserk. How do you limit yourself? What are some programs that tell you that you have limited reach? Who are the people in your life who have limited your movement? And why? By knowing how we tend to limit ourselves, we can find ways to address all the other lies we tend to tell ourselves. Look within and find out what's keeping you so small.