Feeling worthless lately? Like you’re living under a cloud of futility or failure? Chances are, it’s because you’re being lied to, and you’re choosing to believe the lie. Below are ten hidden rules – ten lies – that, when we take them to heart, leave us knee-deep in a life of shame (and shame-based behavior). They are beliefs, using lies, leading to shame, hopelessness, ineffectiveness, and turmoil.
See how many have seeped into your belief system:
1. If I do it, I must do it reasonably well.
It doesn’t have to be perfect. But it certainly should be awesome.
2. If I do it reasonably well today, I must do it even better tomorrow.
Growth and improvement lead to better performance, which ultimately leads to perfection.
3. The evidence that I am improving is found in something measurable.
Like a golf score, for example. Or a bank balance. Or a number of readers, sales, or subscribers. It’s all a numbers game, and the numbers don’t lie.
4. If I see evidence of growth, I am validated, and I am allowed feel good about myself.
Performance is about moving toward perfection, not being a perfectionist!
5. If I don’t see evidence of growth, according to the way I have defined it, I am a failure.
And should feel like a failure. And should probably start defining my whole life in those terms.
6. Words of praise or criticism trump all other rules.
If I receive personal praise in the form of words, either to myself or others, I feel good about myself. If I receive criticism, I feel globally horrible about myself. If I receive silence, I am left at the mercy of whatever measurable things I can find (see rule #3).
7. If somebody else continually gets more of what I’m pursuing in measurable terms than I do, I feel jealous – inferior at best, completely rejected at worst.
Life is a competition for praise, honor, and success, and there is only so much of that to go around.
8. If I get more of what I’m pursuing than I did yesterday, I feel validated and my life is worthwhile.
I must have what I must have. My worth is measured in terms of fulfilled desire.
9. If I feel invalidated, I must dig in, try harder, demand more of myself or others.
After all, when my life is not defined by performance, it is defined by the validation of others. I must please them.
10. If all else fails, give up on cataclysmic levels.
There is no room for partial success. Failure in an instant means failure for life. Disappointment or criticism defines my entire life as worthless.
Every one of these is built on a lie. In a future post, I’ll show you the Ten Truths of Grace that correspond to these. In the meantime, if you’re building your life around any of them, I would gently suggest that maybe it’s time to change your rules.