Three Basic Truths
By Donnie McKinney c 2006
I have found that every problem involving human beings can be understood more clearly, and possibly solved, by applying one or more of the following Basic Truths. Life is really pretty simple. We humans just complicate it with faulty thinking. Once we get the knee-jerk human reactions out of the way, we can separate the problem from our faulty thinking and get it resolved.
What’s creating a problem in your life? Think about it. Write down some current problems you're having with people if necessary to get a clear understanding of what you think the problem is. Then, read each of the following Basic Truths and see which ones apply to it and what changes you can make in your thinking to allow you to “fix” the problem.
The degree of unhappiness you are experiencing right now is directly proportional to how far your thinking has deviated from one or more of the Basic Truths. It’s easy to find the solution to your problem and make your life better by simply looking at it in a different light. So, consider the problem that is creating the most angst or unhappiness in your life right now, and then adjust your thinking to coincide with the Basic Truth that applies to it. You’ll be astonished at how clearly you can see the solution.
Basic Truth #1. Most of the attitudes, emotions and thought processes we have adopted - our own self-concepts - are fictitious and erroneous.
Although almost every human problem has some relation to Basic Truth #1, some of the specific life problems that are directly related include:
Feeling depressed, anger issues, eating disorders, just not enjoying life and having fun, not liking “you,” being afraid to try new things, being embarrassed, negativity, prejudices, difficulty getting along with others, and lack of goals.
The starting point to resolving those issues is simply to realize that the feelings, attitudes, emotions - everything we accept as "true" about ourselves, even our own self-image - are all false. They feel real. You “think” they are real. They’re not. The simple fact is you cannot fix a problem when you don't know what it is. You can't know what the real problem is when your thinking is based on false "data." Strip away the false data, and the solution is at hand.
The further you are from being happy, successful and fulfilled in life is a direct indicator of how many fictitious and erroneous thought patterns and emotions you have developed. It’s that simple. You have simply applied your own interpretations to people and events in your life. It’s easy to fabricate mechanisms to keep from being "hurt" again, but they keep you from living. You make assumptions about your own abilities and limit them, thus setting your own limits in life. Those limits are based on false conclusions. The "real you" is in there, but you just don't know where it is. One way to detect the real problem in depression and similar problems is to play Play 20 Questions
The process through which all this has happened in your life is simply Human Conditioning. Understanding human conditioning is the first key to release yourself to REALLY live.
Basic Truth #2. You cannot change anything that has happened in the past. All you can do is learn what you can from it, fix what you can, and then start right where you are this instant, and move forward with your life.
Life problems that are directly related to this Basic Truth include: Disappointment, regret, affects of rape or abuse, guilt and embarrassment.
Think about this logically for a minute. See the past for what it is. Whatever it is, it has already happened. Thus far, no one has invented a way to change anything that has already happened. So, why continue to let things that happened in the past ruin your life in the present, which is the only time you can live? You can't change those things. You can only learn to react to them differently.
Once you understand that past traumas were caused by imperfect humans, you can feel sorry for those sick or confused humans, instead of hating them, for instance. It is unfortunate that "stuff" has happened in your life. Whatever "stuff" happened, however, is simply something that "is." Your reaction to it is totally within your control.
You may find that you have deep subconscious "suppressed" emotions and reactions as a result of a traumatic incident in your life. If so, you may need to clear them up. Traumatic Incidences
Are you beginning to see that worrying about things that have happened in the past is a total waste of time, energy and brain cells? Be proactive, not reactive. See the past for what it is. Stop letting it control your life. Draw a line in the sand and decide, right now, that everything behind that line is gone. Think about what is in front of the line, not behind it. A simple change in how you see things will change your life.
Basic Truth #3. You cannot control other people. You can only control your reactions to them.
The problems relating directly to this Basic Truth include:
Parents & other relationships, anger, feeling bad because of what someone said about you, lost loves, arguments, intense reaction to people "talking trash" about you and worrying about what others think.
Most of the problems teens experience are related to a desire that other people to be like they want them to be. Other people are never going to be like you want them to be. You can't change them. Wishing that they were different will drive you crazy, however. They aren’t going to be different.
Many times, the people who aren't like you want them to be, at least from the teens I encounter, are Parents. Parents aren't perfect. They're just imperfect humans like the rest of us. Some are right down crappy. But, you are never going to change them. They are the way they are because of Basic Truth #1 Human Conditioning
An important concept to grasp is that, where human beings are concerned, there is no such thing as reality. There is only the "perception" of reality. Other people will never "know" you. They only have a "perception" of you derived from what they see, which is colored by their own thoughts. You will never "know" other people. You only "perceive" things about them. So, don't judge them. Don't react to them. Just accept them as they are.
That's the way to apply this Basic Truth to your life. Simply accept other human beings exactly as they are and love them unconditionally. Let them say whatever they want to say. They don’t know what they’re talking about in the first place. Other people saying things cannot affect you, unless you let it. If it does affect you, then it’s because of your own Self-Esteem Choose to "see" them differently, instead becoming angry because they aren't the way you want them to be. They will never be the way you want them to be.
Think about the meaning behind the Serenity Prayer, "Accept the things we cannot change, change the things we can, and have the wisdom to know the difference." Now you have some wisdom. You cannot change other people.
Summary. The simple key to stopping other people and events controlling your life on autopilot is to just get in the habit of stopping and examining problems and conflicts in light of the Three Basic Truths. Consciously think about whether your reactions conflict with one of the Basic Truths. If it conflicts with truth, then it is false. Think about where that thought pattern came from. Then, think about new, constructive thought patterns to replace it. Erroneous autonomic reactions to people and events will destroy your life. Start replacing them with constructive reactions. Take charge of your own life. It's more fun that way.
Remember, changing your life is not an overnight process. It is a process of making tiny changes every day. Ferret out one erroneous thought pattern at a time. Face that thought, head-on, in the light of the Three Basic Truths. Work on another tomorrow. Tiny bit by tiny bit, you will begin the process of changing your life. Take responsibility for your own thoughts. You're not responsible for whatever events that occurred in the past. You are responsible for your own interpretations and reactions to them. You can start being in total control of your own thoughts right this minute.
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