Honesty, truth, trust . . . These traits all come together in us in some way. Like pieces in a puzzle, they link together creating an image of who we are and how we view the people and events around us.
As children, if we were, for instance, frightened by loud arguments but told by parents repeatedly, “It’s nothing,” we begin to doubt ourselves and our warning signals. This self-doubt runs deep and can affect all aspects of our lives. A small part of our small selves “knew” that things were not really okay and so we learned from an early age that our parents lied. This small self also may have wished to be wrong and so gladly surrendered their own “truth” of events to their parent.
This may have translated onto a learned behavior of lying in our own lives, or it may have led to an inability to trust our own judgment or the motives of others, or all of the above. The self-doubt adds a layer of fear. Questions like “What if I am wrong?” might plague us. We might feel a warning about a person of place, but disregard it with “I’m probably wrong.” Reliving that pattern on a subconscious level could show up as continually seeking feedback from others, but not trusting their responses. These patterns can lead to experiences of anxiety and depression, as well as substance abuse in an attempt to relieve the discomfort – all adding additional layers that obscure our connection with our true selves.
Regardless of how this mistrust (of self and others) started, moving toward trust is a core aspect of the personal work of regaining authenticity and self-compassion and reaching our true selves. Awareness of dynamics in our family of origin goes a long way toward recognizing ongoing patterns that keep us stuck in the layers that hide our true selves (survival charades ©). Peeling those layers away, with lovingkindness and compassion, helps us to live authentically – to be able to trust ourselves and to surround ourselves with trustworthy (authentic) others.
This is some of the work we do at The Evolution Group through our Integrity Recovery Workbook. The Integrity Recovery Workbook (IRW) is designed to guide individuals through a journey to integrity, defined as a state of wholeness in which thoughts, beliefs, and feelings align with words and actions, through ten “levels” of work:
III Shifting reality
Each chapter (or level) contains educational material on charades, behaviors, and thought processes that block individuals from the value listed in the title, as well as guidance to move toward those same values. There are sections of self-reflection, writing, and journaling. And then there is a suggestion of presenting the completed work to a trusted therapist. This work is also extremely effective in a guided group setting and The Evolution Group offers ongoing Integrity Recovery groups.