How many of us want to make a difference in our world? And the world can be as big or small as you want. Maybe the definition of your world is your children. Or maybe it’s political issues and causes.
The key to getting started is to heal ourselves first. The healthier we are emotionally, the better equipped we are to help our children and others.
In order to get to a healthy emotional state, we need to heal ourselves internally. There are two things that can help us do that.
We need to overcome confirmation bias, and to recognize that things we don’t like about other people are reflective of things we are experiencing inside of ourselves.
It is SO EASY to reject those ideas. “I’m not biased, aren’t I entitled to my opinions?” or “I don’t have to like everyone, do I?”
You are entitled to your opinion, and you don’t have to like everyone. This is not about right or wrong, good or bad. We don’t do these things consciously.
Let’s dig deeper under the surface.
- 1 Confirmation Bias
- 2 The things you don’t like about other people are things that you are experiencing inside of yourself.
- 3 Healing yourself will help you to help others.
When we have confirmation bias, it means that we are ALWAYS right, no matter what we see, hear, or read.
Confirmation bias is when we have a belief, and EVERY piece of information we find validates that belief. We don’t realize we are doing this. Once we establish a belief, we reject anything that doesn’t conform to our way of thinking.
For example, I had a boyfriend a long time ago that was verbally abusive. Before we started dating, I KNEW he was a nice guy. There wasn’t a single doubt in my mind. So naturally, once he started treating me poorly, he was still a nice guy.
It almost didn’t matter what he did or said to me. It all pointed back to my belief that he was a nice guy. He said mean things to me, which meant I deserved it. He stood me up, but it’s okay because he was tired and worked long hours. He lied to me, but it didn’t matter because he had legitimate reasons.
This isn’t about whether or not he was a nice guy. The point is that my belief caused me to stay with him despite the fact that I was miserable and didn’t enjoy being treated poorly.
Another example involves my friend who always wanted to talk about a particular Presidential election. He loved Candidate A and hated Candidate B. While I didn’t have a strong opinion on the matter, I wondered whether or not he would be open to hearing information from other sources on Candidate A.
I told him that my parents had a friend who worked closely with Candidate A not too long ago. The gist of what their friend said was that Candidate A treated him like he was the dirt beneath someone’s shoe, and he would never want to work with Candidate A again.
My friend immediately dismissed everything I said, and told me that that information didn’t affect his opinion at all. This isn’t about someone being right or wrong, either. Just another example of confirmation bias.
When we have confirmation bias, we unknowingly make judgments and assumptions about other people that aren’t based on reality.
Usually it is very easy to prove someone wrong when we don’t agree with them. But what is the point and where does that get us? Why do we need to win arguments? Why does someone always have to be wrong? This can be a very negative space to exist in.
When you start valuing other people and their thoughts, then you can open yourself up to a more positive place. This is also something that can really help your children to create a more positive space for themselves. It can help them to value themselves, value other people, and to be more open-minded. This is one way to create positive change through internal healing.
The things you don’t like about other people are things that you are experiencing inside of yourself.
I’m not saying that you are exactly like people that you don’t like. I’m saying there is a reason that you are bothered by this person, and that you have some similar emotion or trait inside of you.
In other words, there is something inside of us that needs healing. Again, this idea is very easy to reject, and I definitely rejected it the first time someone said this to me years ago.
I said to this person, “You aren’t going to like everyone, and it’s okay to not like some people.”
That is true. However, again, this isn’t about being right or wrong, good or bad. It’s about growing and healing, and it is ALWAYS harder to look inwards than it is to look outwards.
It’s always easier to criticize other people, and not recognize the true emotions that we are experiencing inside. In the past, even when I’ve acknowledged some of my emotions on the surface, it was always easier to blame someone else for them. “I wouldn’t have been angry if he hadn’t made me angry.”
Years after someone had expressed this idea to me, I finally got it. I have a person in my life who is wonderful person, but there was one thing about her that always rubbed me the wrong way.
She always seemed to want to prove that she was right, and prove that other people were wrong. This has bothered me for years.
Finally this year, in 2020, which I have ridiculously dubbed “the year of clarity”, I realized that this is also something that I do. There have been times that I’ve gotten so caught up in proving myself right and other people wrong, that sometimes I lost sight of the actual heart of the matter in which we were discussing.
I finally got what that person was trying to tell me all those years ago.
Here is another example of this.
I was a criminal justice major in college, and I would get SO ANGRY when I studied cases where people were brutally victimized. I would imagine the things that I thought should happen to those criminals, and it would consume me.
I used to be filled with anger, negative emotions, and victimized feelings, and I didn’t even realize it.
It took me a LONG time to realize that through my hatred, I had turned into the very thing I hated through my thoughts and my words.
Those criminals and I may not have been the same, but we were both standing there in the same spot. We were all filled with hatred and violent thoughts.
Did that really make me better than them? I don’t think so. And those feelings certainly didn’t help anyone else either.
What is it that you care about?
Maybe you want to help victimized people. Then you should work on healing parts of yourself that feel victimized.
If you want other people to feel love, then you should work on loving every part of yourself. This is also something that is good for you and your children.
Healing yourself will help you to help others.
Get rid of your bias by seeing the world with a true open mind. Don’t close yourself off and have your mind made up before you even have time to process what you’re seeing, hearing, or reading.
Heal yourself internally from past experiences. Forgive yourself and others, which can help you to love yourself and others. This is how to create positive change through internal healing.
In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate others.”
Do these things, and your emotional health will continue to get better and better. Then you will have an increased ability to help other people with true love and positive energy.
I hope that this article helped you. It is filled with some things that took me quite a long time to learn, and I even learned something today from writing it. I will be learning things for the rest of my life, and I hope that you will come along and learn with me.