I do my best here on SMART Living to stay away from politics. That’s not because I don’t have an opinion, but my intention here is to instead inspire and encourage us all to think and form our own opinions from a space of awareness, compassion and personal responsibility. With that said, it occurred to me that much of the divisiveness we see and hear these days originates in some fundamental lies that we may be telling ourselves. Those lies or untruths are quite common and perhaps by taking the time to shine some light on them, we just might find that we have taken a wrong turn somewhere along the line. Here then, are ten falsehoods some people tell themselves that keep them from being happy and SMART.
1) We can’t do anything about it, so why bother? I’ve heard this phrase so many times in the last couple of weeks that it might be epidemic. Obviously, many people are feeling powerless in the face of politics or other issues facing our world today. And while the truth is that most of us are happy and doing reasonably well, we still tend to feel that we have little or no control over the events of the world, so why bother to do anything but complain about them?
Why indeed? If you take the time to go back and read just a few of the blog posts here on SMART Living you’ll see why. SMART Living takes the approach that each of us can affect our futures in positive ways—even if it is only by our attitudes. By believing that we are powerless in the face of anything we are building up a belief that says we have little or no power. That makes us a victim, and that’s not SMART!
Instead, by remembering that we can always do what we can, where we are, with what we have, we tell our psyche we are a co-creator of our world. Even when we acknowledge that some things are beyond our control, it’s SMART to remember that we can always choose what we think and how we react.
2) There are big problems in this world, and someone else needs to fix them now! This lie is slightly different than the first because this one assumes that anything bad that happens is someone else’s fault. Whether you believe it is the President, the Congress, certain religious groups, other races, or just the devil, we all tend to want to locate a “bad guy” and make them responsible. We equally prefer to find someone else to put in charge to take care of that bad guy. Sorry! The blame game is never a SMART approach. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for, and until we decide to take action, things will likely stay the same.
3) I need a big house, a bunch of stuff, and lots of money to be safe and happy. This lie exists deeply beneath the American culture as a solution to most of the problems people believe they have. Money and “more” can fix everything right? Wrong! Research continues to prove that once people have their basic needs met, money or more doesn’t change anything. And sometimes the more you get, the more you feel like you have to protect it. Until we accept that happiness and security are an inside job, we will never find the peace we are seeking.
4) If my loved ones just listened to me and did what I told them, everything would work out better. Wouldn’t that be nice? Unfortunately, I don’t know anyone who can get this to happen even most of the time. Do you? Just like each of us, everyone is a unique and special individual with his or her own life to live. Why should anyone sacrifice their life to please us and do what we say? Isn’t that the definition of a slave? Besides, can we ever say we know better than anyone else what is best for another? Far SMARTer to let others live their lives and make their own way. Not only will they be much happier, but so will we.
5) You can’t trust other people, and the world is a scary place. The root of this lie is fear, plain and simple. Years ago Albert Einstein said, “The most important decision we make is whether we live in a friendly or hostile universe.’” Clearly, if you are worried that the Universe is a scary place and out-to-get-you, then just about everything you say and do will be in response to that belief. The good news is that the opposite is also equally true.
6) If I can just get everything under control, then my loved ones and I will be safe, and everything will be okay. This lie falls directly behind the one above. When you come from a fear that things are scary, we can devote an entire lifetime trying to control every little detail around us. Unfortunately, about the only thing we have the ability to control much of the time is our thoughts and actions. Maybe instead of trying to control external events so tightly, we do as Abraham-Hicks suggests and learn to live as though, “Everything is always working out for me.”
7) There’s not enough money, food, water, or good to go around, so I have to get mine first! Lots of people and organizations have spent a lifetime promoting this idea to themselves and each other. By getting us to believe in a scarcity mentality, they convince us that we must fight and defend our good whenever we manage to find it. We also tend to believe that others are hell-bent on taking our good from us. Naturally, that makes us fearful and defensive about everything and everybody. It also suggests that we can never have enough, or be “enough.” Clearly, not a pleasant way to live. Instead, we have the option of believing in a world where there is plenty of good to go around and that we are basically good and “enough” just as we are.
8) Anyone who doesn’t look, act, or think like me is cause for concern and need to be watched and controlled. If we believe we live in a scary world, then it’s also easy to believe that anyone who is different from us is potentially a problem. That makes us want to enact laws to control them, build fences to keep them out, and if that doesn’t work, to eliminate them all together. I was recently speaking to a man I’ve known for years who is both kind and generous. He stunned me when he said, “If we didn’t have a military the barbarians would be storming the gates of our country.” He was deadly serious. Sadly, as long we see other beings with such a “them” mentality, we will never feel safe and will live in fear.
9) If I admit I’m fundamentally wrong about something, my world would collapse, and all hell would break loose. The truth is, none of us like to be wrong and by far prefer to be right over being happy, regardless of what we say. Naturally, that keeps us stuck in mindsets that are not only unhappy, but sometimes destructive to other people, the world around us, and ourselves. Far better to see clearly, honestly, and change our mind when necessary.
10) Change and uncertainty are scary. Behind so much fear is a deep mistrust of the unknown. Even when people come up with the most bizarre explanations and beliefs, many still insist on hanging on to them when the truth is staring them in the face. So rather than being flexible, willing to learn and to adapt, people clutch on with their fingernails as though being dragged into hell. The solution is simple but not always easy. Learn to embrace change and dance with uncertainty.
Something I read years ago has gradually seeped into my consciousness. That saying is, “The Universe always says “Yes!” to us. If you believe all of the lies above then the Universe just says “Yes!” And there is then nothing anyone can say or do that will change your mind. If you believe something else, the benevolent affirmative power of the Universe says “Yes!” to that as well. Much as some people want to believe that only one final truth or reality exists, their conviction is just proof that the Universe is saying “Yes!” to how they choose to believe.
As usual, I have no final answer for anyone else, but I am fairly convinced that the SMART perspective is to always remember that we have a choice about what we believe—and then accept our part in the world we’ve helped to create.
Can you think of any other lies that we routinely believe that limit our happiness? Please share in the comments below.