Posted in Demons, Devils, & Flying Ghost Monkeys

How to deal with lies that are your truth

What to Do about what’s already IN?
OR I’ve stemmed the tide of crap. Now what?

OK, so you are sensitive to the lies coming at you. You see them as Demons or the result of Demons.
You hope that there is hope, which is all you need to start winning the battle.
You set up a Gatekeeper at your mind’s edge to stop the unbridled inflow of new lies. You evaluate more of what you hear and don’t accept it as truth without that evaluation.
You started to look at what YOU were saying about yourself; your own voice can curse you.

You’ve reduced the inflow of lies, but what about everything that was already IN? What about all the stuff that has gotten past the gate?

We’ve been looking primarily at the flow of stuff coming in, but you already have a lifetime of ‘stuff’ in your head from before we started filtering it better. We need to keep ‘preventing’ new stuff from coming in, while we start clearing out old stuff.

This ‘stuff’ what you’ve heard throughout your life, that you’ve ‘adopted’ as the truth about you. Either through repetition or through you repeating it, or it just feeling ‘right.’ You’ve not only let it in, but you’ve also let it ‘settle in’ and get comfortable. You’ve made peace with it and made it your own. You’ve adopted it and define yourself by it.  These things can be good, or bad.  It’s a double-edged sword. Like when we were setting up and reinforcing the Gatekeeper, we didn’t throw out everything; we evaluated it for truth and looked at the source.  For the stuff that has embedded in you, there’s a similar approach available.  It might be so deep, and so far back in time, that the source might be difficult to suss out; ‘I’ve always been bad at math.’ ‘I’ve always been a klutz.’ ‘I’ve always just fallen in with the wrong bunch of people.’    That’s OK, the source isn’t as important as the evaluation of truth.

I propose that you take a few moments to think through the characteristics that define you. Two lists; one that lists how you define yourself, and one in which you capture how you think other people define you.

If you are like me, you DID NOT make those two lists before continuing to read. No worries. I hate those kinds of ‘self-discovery’ exercises. I find them really awkward and full of pressure. I always get spun up trying to pick the perfect or most important example to work on first.  So, let’s skip that. Pick anything you like, and the consequential the better. You don’t start learning auto mechanics on a race car. You start on something a little less complex.

For me, today, I’m going to use Photographer as my example. That actually took me a couple of minutes to get to, because I was trying to over think the meaning and implications of my selection. Duh. Exactly what I was suggesting that you NOT do. Then I looked up and saw a tripod I had set up for another project.  Ding!

An example from my life
OK, to my mind, I’m a ‘wannabe’ photographer. I love taking pictures. I love the romance of film, and before switching to digital, I took it upon myself to preserve some old 35mm cameras.  They were clunky and past their prime, but I just love the mechanics of them.  So, I got basic 35mm equipment, then some more equipment. Then an antique medium format camera. But still, a wannabe photographer. I didn’t study to become better. I didn’t focus on it like a craft. I just did it. And so I got ‘functional’ but not ‘artistic.’ I know basic composition. I know exposures and depth of field. I know all the science and a little of the application. To me, I’m a wannabe photographer. To those around me that aren’t photographers, I’m a photographer. I’m knowledgeable. I take some good shots. I can help them figure out the settings on their camera. To a photographer, I don’t think I even rank as a ProSumer.

So, that’s the context of my ‘photographer’ label. Let’s dig into it together, about me, as a way to maybe see a way to dig into your stuff.

Clarifying the example – unpacking
I articulated that ‘wannabe’ photographer title like it was a statement of fact. It’s been reinforced into my thinking so deep and so long that it’s a ‘fact’ about me from my perspective.  But is it ‘true’?  I understand all the science and art in making a photo. I appreciate a good image and appreciate how difficult it really is to capture.  I take some good shots, and I’ve taken some spectacular shots. So in reality, I’m probably better than ‘wannabe.’ So what gives?  In an unguarded moment, I’ll admit that many times I’ll downplay my abilities so that I have an opportunity to surprise and exceed expectations. In a dark moment, I’ll hear the other voice in my ear whispering that I do that so that I don’t have any performance stress or obligation, and I don’t disappoint.  I’d rather fail to impress than to disappoint.  Because I have a Gatekeeper/filter installed to review those inbound comments, I have a way to take a close look at that voice, as we’ve discussed, and try to determine where it came from.

Let’s pause a moment and reflect…. I saw a tripod in the corner, thought through how that played in my life, and followed that line of thinking to what is potentially a big ‘root’ in my life. Your results may vary, but this kind of exploration and discovery frequently work out this way.  My mental model of my photographic abilities is warped because of a long-term habit of self-deprecation.  I can go about correcting the symptom, “wannabe photographer.” I can go after the root itself: “self-deprecation.”   I’m going to chip away at the root by dealing with the symptom.   I have identified a thing in my life that appears to be a lie that has crept in and taken up lodging. Let’s deal with it.


Steps to dig out the embedded ‘stuff’ in your life
Step 1 – Find evidence to both support and contradict what you are digging in to. You want both viewpoints, not just one sided. There’s probably a kernel of truth in the lie. If you avoid the stuff that supports the lie you are trying to refute, then down the road you’ll be hearing voices of doubt. That you ‘cheated’ to get free of the lie, and that it wasn’t a lie at all; it really was true.   If you don’t look at the bad, but you know it exists, then you’ll face internal accusations of glossing over stuff and not dealing objectively. It’s just fodder for a ‘nagging doubt’ down the road. Deal with it upfront.   For me, regarding photography, I merely gathered a bunch of sample photos.  This got tremendously distracting as I had so much fun reliving the events and places.

Step 2 – Take a step back and look at the evidence as objectively as possible. Evaluate the evidence, and grade it or categorize it as “for” or “against.” This is where you might go back and apply some of your ‘filters’ from our ‘gatekeeper’ dialogue. As my wife would ask, ‘is that something God would say about me?’

Step 3 – Take a look at the standards against which you are measuring.  Am I evaluating my work against that of a professional, or against that of a seasoned amateur? What is the ‘grading scale’?  This is where I usually catch myself; I grade myself using a metric for a level of skill that I’m not trying to meet and coming up short.  That revelation applies to more than just the photography thing, so I’ll tuck it away for use later when I’m digging in to the ‘self-deprecating’ thing.

Step 4 – Use all that evidence to refute that ‘embedded’ thing. Say it out loud a few times. “I’m a pretty good photographer” “I take some splendid photos”  etc.   Saying it, and hearing it, reinforces it. And that starts to push the lie out. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Step 5 – Expect the lie to try to ‘re-establish’ on occasion. It’ll try to present itself again as truth, bold as anything. You just need to call it out as rubbish and put truth back in its place.

Step 6 – That lie has been your ‘truth’ for so long it’s also a ‘habit.’ You’ll consider doing something and think, ‘I’d like to do that, but I’m only a wannabe photographer’….. It’s a habit that you’ve developed to decline to do something because of the lie. So even though the lie is out, the habit lingers.  You have to bring your behavior and habits around to the new truth.  “Well, of course, I’ll take photos at your wedding.”

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Like I said, “Lather. Rinse. Repeat.”  You have a lifetime of stuff to dig out. Don’t try to boil the ocean and do it all at once. You’ll get tired and give up.  What’s the best way to eat an elephant? With lots of Sonny’s Real Pit BBQ sauce, of course. Not sure how that analogy helped right there, but now I got a hankerin’.

Wrapping up
You’ve slowed the flow of new stuff coming in. Now start digging out the lies that have set up shop, and defined you incorrectly.  Then LIVE the new definition.  If you’ve been told your entire life that you aren’t smart, but you really are, then correct that internally, and go DO smart. Smartly? Be Smartness? You get the picture. Because you and I are pretty good photographers.





What you say is dangerous

55b2880d03b5e284bf8a5eda58a9c3c736ab023900313b55d2c80e415fdc4b14What you say is tremendously important.
If you are playing along at home, we’ve been tackling a bunch of stuff to help kick 2017 off. As a quick review;
There are lies that have come at you and that you’ve adopted as your ‘truth’.
Those lies come at you from a bunch of different sources.
We have installed a ‘gatekeeper’ at the doorway of everything we hear, so we can check it before letting it in. This gives you a chance to examine all this stuff that is coming at you to split into ‘good’, ‘bad’, and ‘suspect’.
You’ve started to identify suspect ‘sources’ and are applying those filters based on a ‘source profile’.

Here’s the aha moment for the day: you yourself are a source that you’ve got to get under control. You have to monitor and evaluate what you hear from yourself, in your own voice, with as much vigor and intensity as you apply to all the other voices coming at you.

When you speak, you are speaking for someone else to hear. But guess what; you are listening in.  And that is critical to understand. When you read something, one part of the brain ‘lights up’. When you hear something, another part of your brain fires up.  You want to learn or understand something a new way; read out loud.  My wife is amazing. She processes stuff by talking it out. If you are a fan of her videos, you’ll see sometimes that she’ll say something, and THEN process it, and understands it differently after hearing it spoken out loud.  I can imagine the spark of a thousand connections in her eyes as she works through it. She formed the words, then she spoke them out. Then she heard them spoken, and understood them from a new perspective. And her insights, real time, are profound. I love watching her in action.

Scientifically, your brain processes words you hear differently; it ignites a different part of the brain. When you hear something spoken, it ignites a new set of thoughts, and new sets of neurons.

So, if you are a source, aren’t your words always ‘safe’?

Not in the least. Many times the harshest things I’ve ever heard about myself are in my voice. I’m frequently own worst critic, and I have a tendency to not cut myself slack. But that’s me; you might be drawn differently. For me; it’s a constant challenge.  What’s worse, and is common for both you and I, is that your gatekeeper recognizes your voice, and lets what is said waltz right in; the ‘filter’ will default to allow stuff spoken in your voice ‘through’.

Here’s where you HAVE to be really dedicated at applying that filter. It’s tough to reign in sometimes; the words come spilling out before you have a chance to check them. But If you can’t stop yourself from saying them out loud, you HAVE to take a moment after hearing them to see if they hold water. It sounds weird, but you’ll get the hang of it.

I’m personally trying to get better at not saying this stuff about myself in the first place, but I’m a work in progress. Somedays, i don’t progress. My wife will say something positive and encouraging, and I’ll find some way to twist it to be negative and a false compliment, and throw it back at her like that was how she really meant it.  You’ve seen me do it; ‘You did that well’ gets turned in to ‘surprised aren’t you? Cause I normally mess it up’.


Your brain hears what you speak, and processes it. Here’s the magical, and insidious, thing about our brains. It ‘maps’ what it hears, sees, thinks, etc. Those are memories. Repeat the event, and that pattern gets reinforced a little.  Repeat something over and over, and it is ‘memorized’ and you don’t have to think about the words to the song, or the chords. You just know them.  Well, the same holds true with the lies coming at you. You hear them over and over, and they reinforce themselves, and get printed on you. At some point, even if you KNOW it isn’t true, you adopt that lie as your own, and then it becomes your truth in a way.  I know this woman. (Married her in fact) She was a wicked smart kid, but different. She was told over and over again that she was stupid. Eventually, she started to adopt that mindset in some situations, and would ‘agree’ she couldn’t do something.  (What’s amazing about my wife is that she fought back. Where the school system failed her, she taught herself grammar and English, and everything else she needed to get through school, with little help from educators who were inconvenienced by her different learning style.) If you hear something often enough, you’ll start to believe it. If you are the one saying it, that ‘adoption’ happens even faster. That is your brain hearing and reinforcing something that it has heard, eh. We’ve all seen it in action, I’m sure.

You have to filter what you say, ideally before you even say it. But if not, then for sure before you hear it and accept it BACK IN.  That will feel pretty ‘disconnected’ the first couple of times you consciously reject something you just said. (Also, it might earn you some strange looks from dining companions it you have a discussion with yourself about it. You’ve been warned.)

When you stop something you’ve said from coming back in, and you tag it as ‘suspect’, it might also be a good time to pause and consider where that lie actually came from. It’s “root” so to speak.  Was it something you’ve heard over and over, so you are repeating it? That is like an embedded lie that you have to dig out. We’ll get to that in a couple of posts.  Is it something completely new and out of the blue? That’s how they start; unexpected and small. We’ll get to that in the Next post. Was it something Crazy Aunt Louise said about you all the time? Might just be jealousy talking.

What you say has easy access back in to your brain when you hear it spoken out loud. You have to review what you say with as much, if not more, attention as you do what other people speak.