The power of subconscious beliefs is that they drive our behavior, perspective and feelings without our knowledge. Neuroscience and psychology research demonstrate that our gut has a lightening-quick reaction in response to our subconscious beliefs, and then our head justifies and rationalizes our gut beliefs.
Your first thought may be, “well, I don’t do that.” If you believe that you’re above all that, please keep reading.
Arbinger Institute suggests that self-justification falls into four main types: Better Than, Worse Than, I Deserve, and Need to Be Seen As. You may have a Need To Be Seen As _________, or perhaps feel Better Than if you believe that others, but not you, are driven by unconscious beliefs. This need may be to appear to yourself or others as perfect, knowledgeable, right, better than, smarter than, more talented than, and so forth.
I can go to any of those four types of self-justification, but I have my favorites. I like to feel smart and competent, even when I’m not, so I tend to go to Better Than when working in my areas of comfort. It comes pretty naturally to me, and it feels pretty good until I realize that I’m probably acting smug and arrogant. Then I feel rotten.
When it comes to the family, I definitely tend to go to the Need To Be Seen As. I Need To Be Seen As a good wife and good mom. Any suggestion to the contrary can be met with Mama Bear; as you can imagine, she’s neither pretty nor a good wife/mom.
I think that perhaps some (but not all) who spend themselves into an unsustainable debt do so to provide the outward appearance of success. Their Need To Be Seen As Successful will put them right into bankruptcy.
In each case, we are neither Better Than nor Seen As A Good Mom/Wife/Successful. Quite the opposite. So in this manner, our fears once again become our self-fulfilling prophecies.
Our subconscious beliefs or icebergs are so powerful when undetected, but they lose their power and potency when brought to light. Awareness of the impact of our icebergs can also allow growth as we start to make decisions and view the world without the bias of that iceberg. We really become powerful as we live our life based on love, kindness, forgiveness, generosity, inspiration and wisdom instead of fear, entitlement, and self-justification.
What kind of self-fulfilling prophecy will result from that?
Feeling angry, anxious or smug as signs of self-justifying with Better Than or Need To Be Seen As Right/Perfect. I have found from my experience of living this way for many years, it is a relief to take ownership of these icebergs and try to manage my human nature more effectively.
If you are deciding that you have been self-justifying too, know that you’re in good company and one step closer to becoming better company.