The previous post, and the one before that, demonstrated that the unrealized act of self-deception is one of the largest factors undermining relationships, teamwork, and performance. Self-deception puts us in a box that blinds us to the true cause of problems and leads us to focus on symptoms. Therefore, most “solutions” actually make matters worse.

To find our way out of the box we must depend upon something beyond our own thinking— some counsel that comes from outside the box. That counsel comes to us constantly from other people. Their needs and feelings call upon us to treat them sensitively and with respect.

We can’t change by deliberately “trying to change.” We can, however, respond unguardedly, unarmed and unarmored, to what we perceive as the needs and feelings of others. Instead of changing by trying to reinvent ourselves according to some ideal image we hold in our minds, we change by forgetting ourselves as we respond to others.

What would happen if we were to see their needs and feelings as being as important as our own?

The role of fear

While we are caught in the box of self-betrayal, the prospect of giving up our accusing feelings and being responsive to others seems hard, very hard. We worry about defending ourselves from those we are accusing. We are afraid.

But we have such fears only so long as we remain in the box. Once we escape the box, we leave these fears behind, because having left the box, we no longer see the world in the old way. We have left the perspective of the box.

We got into the box by self-deception; by seeing others as objects instead of human beings, with needs and  feelings of their own. We de-humanized them. We made them, and ourselves, not real. Therefore, the way out of the box is to re-humanize them.

Remember, we change not by trying to change ourselves, but by forgetting ourselves in response to others. By finding others, we find our true selves. It is only by losing our false self-image, our pretense, and our self-absorption that we become genuine, open, appealing, and real.

To be out of the false world of the box is to be responsive to someone else’s world. We are either real with others or we are not real at all.

In Other Words…

“It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.” ― Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

“You will act like the sort of person you conceive yourself to be.” ― Maxwell Maltz, Psycho-Cybernetics, A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life

“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

“The reason I talk to myself is because I’m the only one whose answers I accept.” ― George Carlin

In The Word…

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. ― Romans 12:16ESV

In Linked Words…

Do you really know how to think “out of the box?” – Part #1

Do you really know how to “think out of the box?” – Part #2, How bad could it be?