Blinded by What We Want to Believe

Natalie —  March 10, 2010 — Leave a comment

Why are we blinded in certain situations, when it retrospect the truth seems so obvious? It may be that we have:

  • Attachment to a specific outcome
  • Resistance to how the information will change our life
  • Hope that a person won’t deceive us or cause us harm
  • An unspoken agreement with the person to not notice something they are hiding
  • Given power to a past experience of our own, society’s or a parent’s

It is human nature to give preferential treatment to what we want to believe is true, brushing aside our intuition. Seeing the truth is not always pleasant. We start down a path with partial information, make decisions and follow our hopes. Then a new piece of information presents itself that changes our perspective on the path we’ve chosen. We need the experiences of the journey in order to collect those bits of information that illuminate our vision. Yet it is hard to agree to step into the unknown.

When we put one foot in front of the other in response to our inner “yes” “no” or “I don’t know yet” the action leads to greater clarity around a specific choice. We don’t always have all of the information at hand. In fact, if we had all of the information we may not have acted and thus missed a valuable opportunity. Noticing our physical sensory responses can assist in fleshing out the less overt details behind a decision. It is as simple as taking pause to look at our attachments, resistance, agreements and other potential blind spots through the lens of messages from our body. These messages help us discover facts that are material for making better decisions.

Natalie

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No responses to Blinded by What We Want to Believe

  1. Natalie,

    Excellent post. The last item about parents strikes home the hardest with me. As I get older and become more self-aware of what has been driving me, it turns out almost every situation in my adult life has been driven by the belief system I learned from my parents.

    Now, this may seem like one of those DOH! moments, but not really. Most people swear to never be like their parents and try so hard not to be, they turn INTO their parents. Most times with a lesser understanding of what drove the behavior. Hence the younger generation actually becomes WORSE in their behavior.

    So, thank you for a thoughtful post.

    Regards,
    D. D.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Our early conditioning is so deep and ingrained. It’s particularly hard to see. Often it takes getting annoyed by the behavior in someone else to realize it’s an aspect of ourselves that we dislike. We’re on the right path :0) looking in.

    • >Most people swear to never be like their parents and try so hard not to be, they turn INTO their parents.<

      Yes, often we attract to us what we fear most. Judgment of our parents keeps our attention on what we don't want to become, and since we are filled up with it, we draw it to us. However, at least in my personal experience, by reliving some of the things I most despised in my mother I experienced compassion, and forgiveness for her, and eventually myself.

      Love,
      Ahva

  2. Hi Natalie,

    Thank you for a very well written post. I will definitely share your blog site with a few clients and friends.

    Keep on doing what you’re doin’ in the world, the trail of beauty you are leaving is making a difference!

    Much love,
    Ahva

  3. Great observations, Natalie. In the past I’ve gone overboard in the area of trusting people who were not trustworthy because I wanted to think the best of them. In retrospect, I also wanted to believe that something desirable would come to me out of the relationship, in spite of red flags and warnings by those who cared about me, and sometimes those caring people were my parents. I was just too immature and proud to listen to them. Often imperfect parents can discern what’s best, or not best for their children.
    Keep up the good writing!,

    Sandy

  4. Good afternoon Nat

    In the July 2006 edition of Scientific American, Michael Shermer has an article titled The Political Brain……..it is all about conformation bias….We tend to take in only information that confirms our political, religious, etc biases. Knowing that we all tend to do this is a great help in overcoming those biases. Ignorance is not bliss, change only come through awareness.
    (ps: the entire article can be read online).

    rog

  5. v. scott thompson July 17, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Another aspect of this is a very immediate filter of wishful thinking that interprets any unclear communication as something I want to hear right then and there. This hearing what I want to hear sometimes comes from desires born deep in my past which I was not even conscious of still having at that time. This has at times caused problems, so I intend now and after to courageously seek clarification of muffled, incomplete and blurry messages.

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