Self-Deceit: Falling for an Illusion

“No, I’m not a coward. Come on man, that talk just isn’t cool. Lighten up a bit will ya? Come on, look at this illusion instead.”

Hey guys, I’ve been meaning to make a post on Self-Deceit for a while now. Addressing this aspect of one’s self is so crucial to seeing the things inside one’s self¬†clearly.

Oftentimes, when looking inside one’s self, you can see a lot of embarrassing things. Cowardice, fear, insecurities, anger, superiority, pride and cruelty. Self-deceit doesn’t want you to see these things.

You see, he can team up with Deceit to try and make your life as easy as possible. Deceit wants to plan out life so it’s easy, and Self-Deceit fools you into thinking it is. After all, if every time you look for your inner demons you see nothing “bad”, you’ll quit worrying about it and believe you’re awesome instead!

Like this guy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYws8biwOYc

That’s how that part of you talks (you normally experience it as thinking). To him, criticism is “uncool”, and it would rather live in a world full of people who don’t question him than ever consider his own cowardice. And that’s what he is, when you come down to it.

A coward.

So where is this guy in you? Any time you insist that you are a particular way¬†you like, and deny that you are bad in any way, with thoughts like “I’m pretty darn cool.”, “Wow I’m smart, yeah!”, “No no I’m not a coward.”, or “I’m Innocent, seriously!”, this is the indication of self-deceit trying to have power over you, and trick you.

And maybe you’re not cowardly (most of the time). But why insist on it? Why make a big deal to yourself about how you are a particular way? You¬†could just act with courage, and leave it at that.

Self-deceit just doesn’t want you to see your own inner world, your difficulties, your flaws, all the embarrassing stuff about yourself. Can you see why this is a problem? No matter how awesome you feel, issues are left unsolved. You remain a mystery to yourself. Your pain and depression and frustration continue.

So how did I get past this guy? Three things:

  1. The Inner Victim – the part of one’s self who feels helpless and weak, who worries and tries to grasp on to solutions – this part of myself came to the point where lies were hurting her so badly that she¬†desperately¬†wanted the truth. She realized that the truth would be the only thing that would empower her to make decisions that would¬†really¬†help her. Otherwise she was at the whims of the lies of my Deceiver and Self-Deceiver. She no longer wanted things to be nice, or cool or awesome. She wanted to see the bad and face it down, and find real solutions, no matter what she found on the way to them. She didn’t want to be fooled.
  2. I challenged Self-Deceit’s notion that it’s awesome to fool one’s self. I gave him the idea that it was¬†more awesome¬†to be able to stand tall in the face of all the darkness inside one’s self. He bought into this for a second, but his fear got the better of him. That’s when I realized he was a true coward.
  3. See those star glasses he’s wearing in the picture above? I imagined taking them off. I ripped off his mask. And underneath, I saw a scared, insecure, quivering child. “No… my precious coolness…” he said, “Damn it… give [the glasses] back… I don’t want to see… that I’m insecure…”

After that, his game was up. He stopped trying to deceive me, because he was forced to see how uncool he really was. Yeah it can be uncomfortable, but ultimately it’s what we need to be healthy, to know what goes on inside ourselves without the interference of our imaginations.

That’s how he gets you, by the way, Self-Deceit has the power to create illusions with your imagination. You can imagine anything – it can be the exact opposite of what’s actually inside you. How do you know the difference? You could always get lost in a world of illusions created by Self-Deceit to distract you from your desire to see the truth. We could avoid the guilt, the pain, the¬†embarrassment for our entire lives. It doesn’t mean it’s not there, but we’ve covered it over with our own unwillingness to see our flaws. Our own fear.

In the mean time, we can’t pursue the truth, self-improvement, or healing consciously.

So, knowing this – is that how any of us truly wants to live? If you could see what Self-Deceit can do to you, I’d bet not. So call this guy out! Oh and good luck finding him, too – he probably doesn’t want you to. But I think you’ll know him when you find him.

For more help on the dynamic involving the Deceiver, the Inner Victim, Self-Deceit, and the Good-Hearted Theorist, check out these previous blog posts:

Overview: Self-Deceit and Manipulation

Overcoming Self-Deceit, continued

The Inner Deceiver’s Return

(Note: I call it Self-Deceit here, but there’s a difference between the Self-Deceiver and the Deceiver. The Deceiver wants an easy life through lying to others. The Self-Deceiver wants to run away from the truth of himself. But it’s a pack of lies regardless.)

People-pleaser to fighter: The Nurturer’s Journey

“One can easily become a monster… it’s pathetic. What I want more than anything… is to know how to care. Bah.”

Today I wanted to talk about the Nurturer. This is the part of one’s self who naturally cares about others, and wants to help people to become better. He (or she) sees people in need, and wants to help. He has good intentions.

But perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” The Nurturer sometimes gets too excited about the idea of helping somebody that he forgets the whole picture, and all the complexities involved in taking action. Sometimes we hurt people without intending to, or we support those who are creating harm.

All too often, the Nurturer turns those bad results on himself, feeling guilt and pain. He buys self-help books. He fantasizes about being able to truly help others, and can get envious of those who already do. And after the envy and guilt, he fully accepts it was a mistake to get so down on himself, that he still has flaws, that he still has much to learn. And he has the drive.

There’s another path for the Nurturer, that doesn’t involve constantly modifying himself and examining his flaws, where he doesn’t have to keep watching himself in order to be a better, kinder human being. Instead, he can fight.

Mistakes in kindness usually happen when a part of yourself that’s out of line – something arrogant, demeaning, prideful, hateful – goes unquestioned inside you. Your Nurturer can decide that, instead of catering to the whims of others all the time, and helping those in need, he can do more good by fighting with those who create your suffering. Questioning them. In the process, he’ll be confronting his own demons – thus changing and becoming more able to care for others.

That’s the thing – defeating what’s uncaring in you, rather than cleaning up after them, you become more caring.

After wandering around under the radar, doing good here, good there, the decision to fight makes this part of yourself more like a chivalrous knight. Ready to draw a hard line and tell your inner demons to back down. Ready to prove their approach to life as wrong.

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The Destructiveness of Moral Righteousness

Yes, that is an impressive unibrow.

Moral Righteousness, examining his own fury

There is a part of you, who, when it sees a part of yourself it sees as a “demon”, it wants to utterly destroy that part of you. Right now I’m calling this guy “Moral Righteousness”, as he wants to decisively “purify” any “evil” he sees with his fiery powers. But unfortunately for him, I’m wise to his game. Yes, something in me might cause problems for me in life, might bring me down or keep me from some goal of mine. Fine. But if you try to come at things from a perspective of moral purity, then you never get to the root cause of what made a part of you “demonic” in the first place, and thus, never heal it. Now if a part of yourself is actively hurting another part, that’s different. Then you just need to stop the self-abuse. But to actively seek to destroy something inside of you? That’s extreme abuse.

And not only that, but it’s denying that the “demon” is a part of you in the first place! Maybe you’re uncomfortable relating to that twisted up part of yourself, or with even having the patience to work with it. But ultimately you’re not working with a “demon” or something outside of yourself. It’s a part of you, and for some reason, a reason that’s important to get to the root of, it’s behaving as it is.

Not only that, but the mindset of “Moral Righteousness” has been part of the reason for many of the genocides in the past century. The impulse to label a certain group of people as a problem, then seek to destroy them in the name of “purity” is something we’ve all seen before. It’s similar on an internal level, with that group of people being called things like “demons” or “evil”, and ruthlessly pursued so it can be purged out of you. And yet, as much as we try to deny it, they are us! We have something in common with everyone,¬†¬†especially¬†our “demons”.

So then, if we each learn about healing, if we understand what causes “demonic” behavior in the first place, and can work with those parts of ourselves, maybe we’ll see less genocide in the world as well. Sounds good to me!

And btw – what do I mean by “demon”? Well, one internal character I talked about a while back, The Deceiver, I could definitely call a demon. Perhaps anything in you that causes havoc or harm you could call a “demon”.

Mind Chatter

So today I had allergies, and, funny as this might sound I thought there might be something in me, that I wasn’t aware of, that was causing it. And while there is strong evidence for the connection between the emotional and physical (See this Google search on “emotional connection physical ailments”), I unfortunately was left to have a dribbling nose the rest of the day. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t find something interesting, however.

To find it, I did a meditation to go to my shadow. The “shadow” is just a metaphorical construct that you can go visit in your imagination that houses all the feelings you deny as being a part of yourself. That’s why I went there (in my mind) today – I can find the root causes of various feelings, things I never even thought were the cause. You can buy the meditation I used to first visit my shadow by clicking here. It is one of the best ways I’ve found to have an instant, enriching, informative inner adventure. The meditation itself is by Mark Ivar Myhre. He’s got lots of great tools for healing yourself emotionally. Check his website out at:¬†http://www.emotional-times.com/

Today, I found what I interpret to be a metaphor for mind chatter:

The Mind Chatterers and their attacking snakes (and my Explorer going “oh no go away snakes!”)

My Shadow showed me to a room where I had a vague sense of what was there. The only thing I could clearly distinguish to visualize was a purple ball of energy in the middle of the room. So I was like, “well, I’ll just take this and see what happens.” Immediately after I did, I started visualizing what you see above. A number of stoic, thinking parts of myself were standing in a large circle around me, talking¬†incessantly¬†about if it was right of me to have taken the ball of energy. As they were lost in this talk, a hoard of snakes kept advancing on me from all sides. I noticed also that the talk of the thinkers and the snakes were connected.

This led me to the conclusion that when you start thinking incessantly, and get lost in thoughts, it can be like a hoard of snakes is also advancing on the acting part of you – the one who actually gets things done and moves around and explores the shadow. And I’m not talking about daydream thoughts – but rather the kind of torrent of thoughts you get when worried. “Well what if this, what if that, or maybe this, no this…” and on and on without end.

So if you’re wondering about practical application, I’d say this: Thinking about things is great and all, but just be careful about the effect it’s having on you. What’s it doing to you? Is it shutting down your ability to act, attacking you? If so, it might be helpful to stand up to those thoughts, find some way to get them to stand down. Or just act regardless of what they have to say.

P.S. I concluded in my Shadow by leading the mind chatterers out of their room. At first I was going to keep the snakes sealed away, but they complained saying that the snakes were their friends. So I let them keep them on the condition that if they tried to attack me or anyone else inside me, I would burn them up with fire. They agreed and so we all left the shadow, and then I exited the meditation. Fun times!

Meeting Paranoia

Paranoia, one of the Malcontents

Had a talk with another one of my malcontents today, who I call “paranoia”. Found out several things about this guy:

  1. His whole job, as he defines it, is to avoid death.
  2. Since there is no room for error in this job, he can get pretty stressed out.
  3. Also because of no room for error, he often extrapolates suspicions about what might possibly lead to death, and tries to make sure those paths¬†are avoided. This can get pretty extreme, for example something like, “we’ve got to make sure we keep up good appearances to others so that we don’t get stigmatized and thus are more likely to fall into poverty and thus die early.”
  4. Ultimately, his purpose for starting this in the first place was to preserve life. By doing his job right, he can preserve the lives of those who enjoy life.
  5. By consequence, he is afraid of letting down those who enjoy life, for if they are ever endangered, he’s often the one to get the blame.

I finally got him to calm down a bit when I told him that if any of those he’s trying to protect ever did blame him, or ever did die – whatever might have happened is part of life – and he can rest in knowing that he did everything he knew to do possible. Anyone who still has a problem with this is being unfair to him. Maybe it’s a small change, but at least I got through to him. He was extremely paranoid, after all. And even if it’s a small voice within one’s self, that paranoia can make life pretty chaotic.

The Malcontents

Tonight was the second time I’ve come across a group within my consciousness that I can only describe as “the malcontents”. These parts of you are involved in high-level decision making processes and try to make sure the world stays in balance, even if their methods aren’t always fair. Some of this group I identified: stubborn pride, worry and doubt, suspicion, depression, paranoia, and annoyance.¬†All of these guys constantly look for things that might cause bad things to happen within your consciousness, and direct an effort to keep things on the right track, according to them.

Trouble is, as much as they might want a happy, joyful, fulfilled inner world, they are not happy joyful or fulfilled themselves. In fact, they’d rather be doing something else! But nothing else within the consciousness seems to have the patience to constantly watch for threats (like egotism, hatred, “evil”, etc.), so they do it out of a sense of obligation. They simply do not know of anything else that would want to do this task, and who could do it well. Not to mention their suspiciousness stops others from trying to take over their job also.
However, it’s important to know that this setup can piss some other things in you off – these malcontents don’t always take the fair and just approach. After all, they’re doing this whole thing out of fear, basically – love is much too random, non-practical, and unknown – as much as they’d LIKE to use it.

Somehow I feel this powerful position needs to be given to someone who WANTS it, and whose primary motivation isn’t fear, but love instead. But, we shall see.

Honorable Self-doubt

There is a part of you who earnestly wants to do the right, honorable thing, and is often thrown into doubt about every little thing where he might be doing the wrong thing. Other parts of you can try to cheer him up, tell him he needs to be confident, but he won’t ever trust the advice of others enough to actually give up his self-doubt. What he needs is experience, and one of the best places for¬†him to get it is around those parts of you who ACT, and who view fear and doubt as a weakness that hinders a person from getting things done. Why them? Because your self-doubter can examine where these other parts of you are being honorable or dishonorable, while at the same time gaining some experience in acting despite his doubts (aka: courage).

This part of myself is currently the understudy of a black-haired, ill-tempered woman commander, with an eye patch, who doesn’t take any crap or fluffy idealism, and whose business is action in the face of adversity. Part of this involves accepting all adversity that exists, and dealing with it. Not sure where this is going to go from here, but just thought I’d share.