Unhappiness is Based on Lies
All unhappiness is based on some lie or combination of lies, which I will illustrate shortly with examples. That sounds simple, so why don’t we just eliminate all the lies? Oh, there are many reasons:
- Lies are everywhere. Some lies are told many times a day by almost everyone, so lies have become normalized and accepted. If enough people believe a lie, effectively it becomes true.
- Lies are popular. The truth often involves our seeing something about ourselves that is unflattering, so we PREFER how a lie makes us look. “He makes me angry” is more palatable—and therefore popular—than “I get angry because I feel unloved and respond selfishly to what he does.”
- Nobody knows the truth. Some lies are so prevalent that in many instances we don’t have a single example of somebody who knows and lives the truth.
- Lies are often easy. If I state the lie, “You make me angry,” for example, that’s far easier to state than the truth, “I am selfish,” because that would require that I change my perspectives, feelings, and choices.
- We LIKE our lies, for a variety of reasons, some of which are listed above.
A Few of Our Favorite Lies
Let’s examine just a few of our favorite lies, followed by the truth:
Lie: “You make me angry.”
Truth: Other people are constantly responding to their own pain, and in the process of thrashing about, sometimes they affect us—our partner has an affair, someone says an unkind word, a child is ungrateful and snotty. The other person didn’t do anything TO you. You just happened to be the object of their reaction to pain. When you realize the truth—really believe it—you CANNOT remain hurt by or angry at someone who is in pain. Your pain and anger are replaced, in fact, by compassion.
Lie: “I don’t have enough of XX to be happy.”
Truth: We have been taught that in order to be happy, we have to have “enough”—quantity never clearly specified—money, praise, power, sex, whatever. These things, however, are never enough to make us happy.
Lie: “I’m right, and I have to defend that position.”
Truth: First, rarely do we know that we’re right. We’re usually just expressing a strongly held opinion, and even if we were right rarely do we have to defend a position. We could still listen carefully to the opinions or information provided by others, which fosters much better communication.
Lie: He/she/they “should . . .”
Truth: Moreover, rarely are we in a position to know what someone “should” do. Most people would agree, for example, that racism is not good. But I have learned that in individual cases of an obvious guiding principle, we don’t know what “should” be. I once had a good friend who was raised in South Carolina, the state where slavery was most predominant and the state that began the Civil War. He was trained from birth that black men and women were inferior, so as a child what choice did he have but to accept it? With time and experience with Real Love, his opinions about a lot of things began to change. One day he said to me, “Do you think black mothers love their children like white mothers do?” Ralph was right there in the South during integration, and civil rights marches, and more, and he was told a great many times that he “should not” be racist, but he simply wasn’t ready to hear it. But the day eventually came when he did learn to be more loving toward people of all kinds, and no amount of “shoulding” could have gotten him to that place sooner.
Lie: “I know that . . .”
Truth: There are a few things we actually know—like 2 + 2 = 4—but most of the things we “know” are simply our opinions, based on our own limited experience. When we incorrectly say we know something, it often takes us down paths of feelings and choices that don’t lead to our happiness.
Lie: “I have free will.”
Truth: The lie sounds good, but mostly we don’t make true choices. Instead we react to pain and fear we don’t even recognize. Only when we feel loved and when we are properly informed do we truly possess free will. Read much more about this in the book, Real Love and PCSD.
Lie: “I’m so sad that . . .”
Truth: I’m so invested in time and effort toward accomplishing XX, and it’s not going like I want. I feel helpless and afraid, but using these words would make me look weak, so I use the word “sad” instead.
Lie: “I’m worthless. I’m socially awkward, I have a lousy job, I’m poorly educated, I don’t speak up well, I haven’t accomplished my goals at all.”
Truth: EVERYBODY is worth loving. Everyone. We were born worthy of love, and there isn’t anything we can do to change that. We can become more or less USEFUL—more productive, more skilled, more educated, and so on—but our usefulness does not determine our worth.
Lie: “If I love someone, I have to put their happiness ahead of my own.”
Truth: Putting someone’s happiness ahead of our own often results in our making sacrifices and personal changes that result in our being untrue to ourselves. Loving someone means caring about their happiness, but that does not mean giving them more than I’m able.
Lie: Inaction is the unspoken lie that other people and circumstances will save us.
Truth: If we want to be happy, we have to make our own choices that lead to that end.
Lie: “I have to . . .” Following are some examples of how this expression often concludes:
“ . . . shop for Christmas.”
“ . . . go to a meeting (or event or party).”
“ . . . visit my parents.”
Truth: You don’t want to do a particular thing, so rather than having the courage to buck up and do it—or to refuse—you do it and claim victimhood and martyrdom as your rewards.
Lie: “John is so much better/worse than I am at . . .”
Truth: I feel bad about my life, and comparing myself—positively or negatively—to someone else helps me to make sense of that.
Lie: “Susie hurt my feelings.” The lie is that the other person has in some way TAKEN love and happiness from you.
Truth: You were already empty and in pain. You expected that person to be respectful or kind or supportive or whatever. When they failed to do that, you were sorely disappointed, which translated to more pain. But they did NOT CAUSE your pain. Your pain was already there, and your expectations made everything worse. When you recognize the truth, you won’t expect love from someone who has none. You’ll find the love you need elsewhere.
Lie: “Life is so hard.” The lie is that our wounds and pain are overwhelming, unbearable, intolerable.
Truth: Sometimes your experiences are very inconvenient, but mostly because of your attitude toward the inconveniences. You forget that there is an infinite supply of Real Love, and you can find it whenever you want. You have attached your happiness to the love of someone who has none to give, and THAT is the cause of your disappointment and pain. Again, now you’ll find love where it exists, confident that the supply is inexhaustible.
Lie: “I'm stupid.” We use this lie as an excuse for not trying or succeeding.
The truth: The opposite of a lie is not necessarily the truth. And we often shy away from truths that are uncomfortable. In truth, you ARE stupid. We all are. We all fall far short of perfection either in knowledge or performance, which qualifies as varying degrees of stupidity—or ignorance. This truth becomes tolerable when we recognize that we don’t have to be smart in order to be happy. We need only to be willing to learn, gradually increasing our ability to choose love and happiness over stupidity and misery.
Lie: “I'm ugly.”
Truth: You might be less attractive than society’s notion of attractive, but the notion is pretty artificial. More important, you believe that if you’re pretty enough, you’ll be more lovable, which sets up a horrible cycle. No matter how pretty you make yourself, it won’t make you happy, which confirms that physical appearance is not a factor in determining happiness.
Lie: “I’m shy.”
Truth: I’m afraid. I’ve had such negative experiences interacting with people that I’ve resorted to interacting with people as little as possible.
Lie: “There is something wrong with me. I need to be fixed.”
Truth: Yes and no. This is another great example of where the opposite of a lie is not necessarily the truth. You're perfectly worthwhile—perfectly lovable—but certainly not perfect overall, or there would be nothing for you to learn, nor any room for growth, for the rest of your life. You are not perfectly loving, nor perfectly skilled in many areas. Regrettably, the phrase, “You’re perfect just as you are” is commonly used in sermons and lectures, but it’s confusing to people, because they simultaneously like to hear it but know deep down that it’s not true.
Lie: “I want to be happy.”
Truth: You want people and circumstances to MAKE you happy. You don’t really want to do the work that is required to achieve happiness.
Lie: “I just don't get it.”
Truth: I may not “get it” all yet, but it’s likely that I can and will if I’m committed to learning.
Lie: “I will never get better.”
Truth: You can get better, but it’s easier to say you can’t and just to give up. We need simply persist in following the Laws of Happiness.
Lie: “I am a failure.”
Truth: You may not be entirely successful yet, but as you keep moving forward, you'll gain the ultimate success of peace and happiness.
Lie: “People don't like me.”
Truth: As you simply practice being yourself, some people will love you and like you. Others will not, but these people are telling you far more about themselves than about you.
Lie: “I'm lost.”
Truth: You can learn where you are if you will trust wise people and feel loved.
Lie: “Love hurts.”
Truth: Real love feels great. It’s living in Imitation Love that inevitably leads to pain. Real Love feel great when you trust it, although for a time it can be a bit disorienting.
Lie: “I can't communicate/connect with people.”
Truth: When you feel empty and afraid, you communicate/connect poorly. When you feel loved and loving, you communicate and connect well with many people.
Lie: “I'll never conquer my eating disorder.”
Truth: You don't have an eating disorder. When you're afraid, your react with destructive patterns that revolve around food. When you are loved, loving, and happy, you have no eating disorder.
The lies in our lives make happiness impossible. The truth creates opportunities for us to find love, trust love, and to be loving.