advertisement
Home » Blogs » Building Relationship Skills » Don’t Believe Everything You Think

Don’t Believe Everything You Think

Myths not to live by

True or false:

  • Couples with great relationships don’t fight
  • Most people expect too much from marriage
  • All the good men/women are already taken
  • Love can heal all wounds
  • If my partner were more like me we’d have a better relationship

RoseonFence

These are some examples of beliefs that are commonly-held held by many people. When a belief is held by a sizable portion of the population, it may be said to be a myth. Webster defines “myth” as “an unproved or false collective belief that is used to justify a social institution or worldview.”When a belief reaches the scale of myth, it is no longer merely personal. At that point it possesses the power to influenc

e the perceptions and views of a significant portion of the population. Myths may or may not contain some truth, but whether or not they do, when they are held as true, there is no longer any motivation to question them and they become accepted as “reality”.

Myths share the common characteristic of “feeling” like they are true and consequently are easy to believe and live in accordance with. Conversely, something that doesn’t feel true, isn’t necessarily false. Believing something to be true when it may not be can be dangerous business indeed. By acting in ways that affirm these beliefs, we are likely to be inclined to create self-fulfilling prophecies that reinforce and provide “evidence” that validates our views. In this process, myths become the water that we the fish are swimming in. We’re incapable of seeing them for what they are and can only collect more social agreement that holds them as “true”.

This phenomenon is particularly prevalent in the domain of relationships, in which the distinguishing of truth from fiction can be a task that requires exceptional powers of wisdom and discernment. When we fail to recognize that a particular belief isn’t necessarily THE truth, there’s a fairly high likelihood that we’ll act in accordance with that and because we’re not operating from an accurate compass, end up someplace other than where we had intended to go. Consequently, there’s a good possibility that we’ll end up feeling disappointed, angry, helpless, guilty, resentful, or some combination of the above. In the realm of relationships, when we experience these feelings, we usually don’t attribute them to ungrounded beliefs, but instead we look for someone to blame for them, most likely our partner or perhaps ourselves. While this tendency to find fault with someone can be painful, the need to change our belief system may seem like a more daunting prospect. After all, we may have a lifetime of conviction invested in it. When asked what he would do if science were to come up with evidence that would disprove tenets of Buddhism, without hesitation, the Dalai Lama replied that he would alter his beliefs. Most of us are quite a bit more attached to our beliefs than that. “Reality” can be very hard to challenge.

Seeing a myth for what it is and questioning it’s validity requires us to accept responsibility for having the power to influence and shape the context of our relationship and to see it not as fixed a fixed entity, but as an evolving process, expressing itself moment to moment in a constantly shifting dance. It requires us to accept the challenge of dropping the models into which we may be trying to coerce our partner and see them as they truly are, rather than through the lenses of what could be distorted beliefs. Given the strength of our inclination (and theirs) to hold onto the world views that we’ve spent a lifetime cultivating and reinforcing, this is, admittedly, no easy task. It requires us to put our efforts into the development of empathic understanding and respect rather than trying to instill these qualities in our partner. It is to be more concerned with listening than with being heard and with giving rather than getting.

Those who are successful in doing this have had to deal with social mythology just as everyone else has  had to. The difference is that they have disengaged from their attachment to being right about everything that they have held as “truth” and are more open to identifying and questioning the assumptions that have ruled their lives.

The fact that so many marriages end in disappointment for so many couples is a reflection of how many people continue to opt for the illusion of myths rather than to challenge the assumptions on which they are based.

In subsequent blogs we will identify and confront some of the more prevalent beliefs that pervade American culture. Our intention is prompt you the reader to recognize which of these myths may have taken on and to see for yourself where the truth lies. The process of distinguishing belief from reality is itself a process of liberation that frees us to live in accordance with the truth of what is real. As a wise man (David Edwards), once said,  “We have nothing to lose but our illusions”. Some things are worth losing.

Don’t Believe Everything You Think

Bloomwork

Linda Bloom LCSW and Charlie Bloom MSW are considered experts in the field of relationships. They have been married since 1972. They have both been trained as seminar leaders, therapists and relationship counselors and have been working with individuals, couples, and groups since 1975. They have been featured presenters at numerous conferences, universities, and institutions of learning throughout the country and overseas as well. They have appeared on over two hundred radio and TV programs. Linda and Charlie are co-authors of the widely acclaimed books: 101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married: Simple Lessons to Make Love Last (over 100,000 copies sold) Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truth from Real Couples about Lasting Love, and Happily Ever After...and 39 Other Myths about Love: Breaking Through to the Relationship of Your Dreams. The Blooms are excited to announce the release of their fourth book, That Which Doesn't Kill Us: How One Couple Became Stronger at the Broken Places. They live in Santa Cruz, California, near their two children and three grandchildren. To view our upcoming events and to sign up for our free newsletter, visit our website at: www.Bloomwork.com


No comments yet... View Comments / Leave a Comment

 

 

APA Reference
Bloom, L. (2013). Don’t Believe Everything You Think. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 17, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/relationship-skills/2013/06/dont-believe-everything-you-think/

 

Last updated: 27 Jun 2013
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 27 Jun 2013
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.