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Book Review: The Lies We Tell Ourselves

While writers akin to Dan Ariely and Robert Trivers have explored the subject of self-deception from the views of behavioral economics and evolutionary biology, the query we might typically discover ourselves asking is, simply how can we cease lying to ourselves? In his new guide, The Lies We Tell Ourselves: How to Face the Truth, Accept Yourself, and Create a Better Life, psychotherapist and founding father of the Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy Institute for Training and Research, Jon Frederickson, explores this very query.

Through revealing vignettes and highly effective psychological insights, Frederickson removes the masks of our illusions to uncover a deeper, extra profound fact — that once we reside with out distortion, avoidance, and deception, we additionally reside with far more connection to ourselves, others, and the world round us.

Frederickson begins by reminding us that mendacity to ourselves is a common strategy to keep away from ache. And but telling ourselves lies doesn’t actually assist us keep away from ache, as an alternative it often causes extra. “We suffer because we run from life, death, and the teachings they offer. We become healed when we embrace our inner life, our loved ones, and life itself,” he writes.

Just how we go about embracing the reality of our lives is thru the therapeutic relationship. Frederickson tells us that remedy just isn’t a way, method, or one thing that’s executed to us, however quite a heart-to coronary heart encounter — two individuals dedicated to discovering the truths which were prevented.

Sometimes it’s our illusions that torture us. Here Frederickson introduces us to the mom who held on the will for her forty-year-old son with autism to be regular. Only when the impossibility of her want was delivered to her consideration might she settle for that her struggling had been introduced on not a lot by her son’s autism, however her refusal to simply accept autism for what it’s.

Healing from our illusions and the ache they trigger, Frederickson tells us, begins in a relationship, “a relationship where the therapist doesn’t talk at us but with us.” Through this relationship, we discover our internal world, the emotions, urges, and wishes which were missed. What we uncover is that we might have informed ourselves one thing is flawed with us, with these round us, and even that we’re damaged.

And but breaking down these truths, and the breakdown that follows, is usually a breakthrough. Frederickson quotes the writer, Jeff Foster, “Breakdown can always point to the breakthrough of a deeper truth, since only that which is false in you can break down. Truth does not break. Some call this recognition ‘waking up’, some call it ‘self-realization’.”

What we study in remedy is the reality. When we will embrace actuality, we will additionally see simply how we might have engaged in a set of beliefs that weren’t solely false, however the very beliefs that stored us imprisoned. “Grief,” Frederickson writes, “is not a problem, however, but a path. When we grieve, we surrender to the truth that washes away the false and leaves the real.”

Sometimes these falsehoods are much less apparent, like once we select to disclaim actuality and make use of what Frederickson calls “optimal hopelessness.” The trick right here, he tells us, shouldn’t be to surrender on ourselves, however on a hopeless fantasy.

Yet embracing actuality is just not straightforward. We can refuse to embrace the reality for a lot of causes. Not solely can we distort actuality in our favor, one thing Frederickson calls “psychological cherry picking,” however we additionally might devalue those that want to supply fact to us. And typically others devalue us, gaslighting us and trying to persuade us that we’re, the truth is, flawed.

It is right here that Frederickson presents his personal solemn fact: “In therapy and in life, we face two deaths: the death of our bodies and the death of our illusions.” By studying to cease hiding behind facades, we expertise inside ourselves a welcoming openness. As the obstacles between us and what’s dissolve, we start to embrace ourselves not as very best, however actual.

The query for a lot of then turns into, “freedom from the past, or freedom to embrace the future?” And freedom, Frederickson reminds us, “will not come by doubting our inner life but from accepting it as it passes by.”

In this embrace, we uncover not what we need to be, however who we now have all the time been. No longer will we miss out on ourselves clearly, however we may also see others as they’re. Within this bigger actuality lies a relating that’s deeper, extra trustworthy, and extra percipient. As Frederickson explains, “Perhaps it is not so much that we see more deeply into others, but that we see more deeply from within ourselves, from that space in which knowledge arises.”

It is gritty knowledge similar to this that makes The Lies We Tell Ourselves a transformative gem for anybody trying to reside a extra genuine, richer, and higher life.

The Lies We Tell Ourselves: How to Face the Truth, Accept Yourself, and Create a Better Life
Seven Leaves Press, January 2017
Paperback, 156 pages

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