MOST LIKELY, your first reaction to hearing this lie is, “Boy, do I know someone who believes that!” If we are being honest with ourselves, though, we all have a knee-jerk reaction to find the jerk “out there” who’s responsible for any given problem before a finger can possibly be pointed at ourselves. We automatically look outward for the source of the problem when it comes to assigning blame.

This is because we unknowingly suffer from the worldwide epidemic of “directionality confusion.” In other words, we all have to learn that nothing is coming at us, mandating our immediate judgment and response. In fact, it’s all coming from us — although we would certainly rather not accept this as the way things are.

What appears to be happening is that there are thousands upon thousands (a reliable, endless supply) of faulty, wrong-thinking human beings around us — from willful, mind-blowing idiots all the way down to those hapless, good-natured people who just don’t know any better. All these people are regularly saying or doing things that we can easily judge as clearly wrong. Thus we all join the endless crusade of the ego: to elevate each of us personally as the gold standard of all that’s right and sensible.

Of course, that requires constant vigilance in order to keep seeing who is in the wrong, and point them out for everyone’s benefit.

But what if everything is actually happening in the other direction? We can’t entirely suppress the ego’s hidden anxiety, which is that — for each of us — I’m the one who is wrong about everything. Specifically, I was profoundly wrong that separating from my Source would be an improvement on perfection. Since I unconsciously fear being punished for this mindless choice, I must invent an “other” who is wrong, so I can pretend I am right. To make it more convincing, I’ll make up countless millions of others who are wrong about this or that, and I’ll make up just a few choice others who mostly agree with me. Thus the battle lines are drawn. It’s guaranteed that I’ll always be outnumbered, so I can feel persecuted, perhaps even leading to my eventual martyrdom. To make all this even more convincing, I’ll choose to forget I made up the whole mess.

Let’s analyze (lying on a couch is optional)

Classical psychology can shed some light on this budding awareness. Anna Freud was Sigmund’s youngest child of six. Her father was the first to articulate that whatever we suppress in ourselves we project onto others. Anna took it a step further with the idea of reaction formation, that is, when a person avoids one position (being wrong) by insisting the opposite is true (being right).

We can use this concept to measure our resistance to change and growth. The greater the certainty we feel that we’re right about anything in particular, the greater our unwillingness to acknowledge that we are actually wrong about everything. In her book The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense, Anna explained that “indications of obsessional exaggeration suggest that it is of the nature of a reaction (formation) and that it conceals a long-standing conflict.” Additionally, that it acts as a form of “permanent protection.” This means that we cover our tracks well, or at least, we think we have. However, both the Course and the Freuds are happy to point out that what we deny inside is clearly visible outside. We only need look upon the world to have a perfect view of our hidden conflict in action.

But denial has its perks: we get to be God, or sort of. That is, we choose to live in a massive illusion that we’re projecting at every moment, and calling it Reality.

The (Blame) Game of Life

The Course asks us, “Do you prefer that you be right or happy?” The answer depends on who you want to hang out with. If the ego is your constant companion, being right makes you happy, but that kind of happiness depends on identifying who is wrong. The ego can show you just how effortless that task is, how big the reward: never having to look at your own part in your troubles.

If Spirit is your guide, though, admitting the wrongness of everything the ego has been telling you is the path to lasting happiness. Spirit will gently correct your error in thinking and, once corrected, your natural flow of happiness emerges. Happiness can even become your new normal, for it’s something you actually already possess in abundance.

A required first step is to look deeply at our unconscious need to assign blame. Frankly, I’ve noticed that it feels good to make at least ten people wrong before my morning tea! Watching the news as soon as I wake up speeds up this process considerably, so turning on the box full of idiots is so helpful when I’m in a hurry. Otherwise, the cast of characters in my own house will do fine for starters. Assigning blame is like the gravitational pull holding us securely in this made-up world. But when we stop, we can literally float above it like an astronaut in training.

Take the challenge, be the change

The Course encourages us to start on the path of change with “a little willingness” to see things differently. Let’s start here with our first 24-hour challenge:

For today and today only, I’m willing to believe I might be wrong about absolutely everything.

You may be shocked at just how error-prone you can be!

To SAVE 25% on The Top Ten Lies We Tell Ourselves and How to Stop Living Them and all other books from Ixia Press, click here and use code WXA6 at checkout.

Author's Bio: 

Excerpted from The Top Ten Lies We Tell Ourselves and How to Stop Living Them By Dana Marrocco, ©2018; Published by Ixia Press, and Imprint of Dover Publications,
August 2018