One of the best books I have EVER read on relationships was given to me by my father in law. Then, I randomly got assigned to read it in three of my business classes at BYU, so yeah, I guess you can say this book is pretty important. The book is called, Leadership and Self- Deception, and the tools in there can dramatically change the way you look at people and how you handle relationships in ALL aspects of your life. So let me give you the low-down on the main point of the book, and how you can apply it to your own life!
Self- Deception and The Box
Leadership and Self-Deception explains a characteristic natural to most people. Unfortunately, this phenomenon is one which most people do not understand or even recognize in their own lives. This is the idea of self-deception, or the practice of blinding ourselves, hindering our relationships with other people. You may be thinking, “What? How could I possibly deceive myself? That makes no sense!” But, alas, my friend. We mere mortals do it all the time. Our brains are CRAZY!!!
Self- Deception is basically lying to ourselves and convincing ourselves that in any given situation, we are perfect and other people are not. It is the inability to see that we have a problem. By convincing ourselves we are great and other people are annoyances, we see people as objects and not as living, breathing, feeling human beings.
Self-deception puts us in what’s called, “the box”. If we are in the box, we are seeing people as objects. They are hindering our ability to get what we want. They are nuicances, inconveniences, or pretty much anything negative. We see them as roadblocks.
A personal Example
For example, last night my husband had a back neck ache from working extra hours at work. The baby started crying, so I asked , “Are you willing to come in here and help me?”
I really wanted help since I had been home alone with her all day.
To my surprise, he answered, “No. I was going to take a bath…”
Instantly, I was angry!
“What?” I thought, “You aren’t going to help me after all the work I’ve done with her all by myself today? My neck hurts too but you don’t see me complaining!!”
This thought process went on and on and I continued to focus less on all the hard work he does, how justified him taking a bath was since he really did work very hard that day, and even less on how great of a person he was. I just saw him as an object. He wasn’t helping me, so it was ok for me to be mad at him.
If we see people out of the box, on the other hand, we see them as human beings- human beings with feelings, needs, desires, and goals, just like ourselves. We understand their circumstances more and take their valuable life into consideration. This helps us treat them better and serve them in an uplifting way.
After the experience with Zach and the baby, I told him I was angry at how he responded. He was completely confused at my reaction. As it turned out, he had completely misheard what I had said because he was really tired. He thought I had asked if he was coming into our room with me, which is why he said that he was headed to the bathroom haha! He was willing to take care of the baby the whole time, but he just didn’t realize what I asked him. Woah. Mindset completely changed. I felt so bad!!! He had seen me in an out of the box way, and I had not given him the same respect. After that conversation, I apologized and we kissed and made up. He took his bath and I got the baby back to sleep and both of us were happy because now we were seeing each other as human beings and were willing to help each other feel loved and taken care of.
Self- Deception and getting into the box is caused by self-betrayal. This means we go against our conscience in any given situation. In the experience illustrated above, my conscience told me Zach was tired, had been awake longer than me, and had worked really long hours. He deserved a bath. Though I may have briefly had this thought, I went against it pretty quickly and betrayed my conscience. I allowed myself to get annoyed. If I had gone with my conscience, I never would have entered the box and would have had a happy experience with Zach.
The Out of the Box Challenge
We can be in the box to some people while being out of the box to others at any given time. There may be some people we don’t treat as well as we should, while there are others we trust, love, and respect unconditionally. I can guarantee that if you work on being “out of the box” to as many people as you can, as often as you can, you will see your relationships blossom.
My goal is to work on this really hard this week, as I feel treating everyone with respect is an important aspect of CHOOSING to be happy!
Let me know how it goes for you!
See you next post,
PS if you want to take your dating life to another level, check out these 34 ideas!!