Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Breaking Beliefs

I had a rough week. You know when you start asking yourself, "Ok, what on Earth can I screw up now?" Well... I had all the answers! The thing is that in most of the cases, days, weeks, months, years after and with a lot of stumbling and falling and getting up, I come up to the sad truth, "What the heck was I thinking?"

As it usually is the case when animals get hurt, humans also use to take a defensive behavior. Tears are meant to show helplessness and make us look less dangerous, when we cry we rise up the white flag -at least according to Dr. Vingerhoets, although we can't really put an end to the crying discussion- After tears, or together with them, or sometimes without them even when the heart is broken, or maybe just because of that, the defensive behavior is very commonly adopted. We hurt, we are wounded, we have been reminded of our vulnerability and weakness, we have to protect ourselves from the world. And in that stage I was all week, probably still am.

Watching House MD, my favorite TV series in the history of my life, I came to the thought that I was going to try to be like him. Not a chance I can. However, it is interesting to give this antisocial, narcissistic, brutally honest and extremely intelligent character a little place in how we see, project and interact with others by deflecting, avoiding, sugarcoating our "cruelest" thoughts and all that we do in order to function in society and getting along just fine, and in order to take "logical" decisions.

A part of this sugarcoating, deflecting, avoiding habit is our fear of hurting others, and in that hides a little bit of pride. If our feelings can hurt others, we have somehow taken us to the position in which we believe that, for the other one, we mean a lot, a whole lot! When I was doing my practice in psychiatry I had a lot of trouble getting to talk to and interacting with the patients, who were severely ill and had diagnosis like schizophrenia, borderline disorder, psychosis, and so many more. In my first evaluation I explained to the clinic adjunct what the reason to this inability to connect was, I said "I am so scared I say something wrong, or I say something in the wrong way and then I hurt them and make them get worse! How could I live with it if I put one of them in distress just because I don't watch my mouth?" She looked at me and smiled with a deep understanding of what really was going on inside of me and said "You are not that powerful. If something comes out wrong, or is interpreted the wrong way, you say I'm sorry and move on" This fear, based entirely on a belief affects our decisions, this shapes our behavior in some circumstances. 

I came across this great scientific investigation about human decisions and how most of them are not based on logic, even though we swear they are. That was pretty interesting to me, it's nice to feel one is not really that much of a wacko.  But  why do we end up taking illogical decisions? I think the answer is beliefs! We humans need to believe! We rely on our beliefs, they are a part of who we are. I am not talking about religious beliefs only, they most certainly play a major role in how we conduct ourselves in life, but we have other beliefs which I think are stronger and more powerful than religion. Let me define "belief". A belief is an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof, and the key lies in the last part: without a proof! If we have a proof then we know, if we know, we do not need to believe. So in order to be a belief it has to be based on faith, trust, ideas, thoughts, imagination, call it by the name you prefer, as long as you do not know of its veracity. Just as religion can be the opium of the masses, our deep, intimate beliefs can become the "opium" in our lives. We construct a system of beliefs, we believe we are A or B, we believe that we deserve H or F, we secretly and intimately believe that we will or won't achieve our goals, get where we wanna get, what we wanna get, how we wanna get it. We humans rely on our beliefs and our hopes. We take decisions based on them, we get the consequences based on the decisions we make. We, in a way or another, in one or other aspect of our lives -call it romance, love, parenthood, social life, career, economy, whatever- get what our beliefs state that we will, because we work on it, because we make all those illogical decisions (so analysed, and thought over, and evaluated) based on our most intimate and private opium.
So what now? let the defensive state become one where all my beliefs are put under the microscope.

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