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Humans tell lies almost every day. And while they seem harmless on the surface, they’re far more deadly than we realize. Everytime you exaggerate or lie, it robs you of energy and happiness.

Exaggeration isn’t always bad. It sends you on an emotional rollercoaster ride that can be fun — if you’re in control of it. But exaggeration causes chaos and havoc in your life and relationships when you’re not aware you’re doing it.

In this episode, I reveal why we exaggerate and why it’s so harmful to our relationships. Then, I share practical tips for controlling your “exaggeration gene” so you can enjoy it without any of the negative hangups.

Here Are The Show Highlights:

  • Why kids are happier than adults (4:09)
  • Why learning from your children is more important than teaching them (4:42)
  • How speaking in absolutes forces you to strap into an emotional rollercoaster ride (8:30)
  • How seemingly harmless lies cause more destruction than you realize (13:48)
  • Why exaggeration usually leads to unnecessary pain and suffering (14:45)
  • How deleting words like “always” and “never” from your vocabulary unlocks power, comfort, and happiness in your life (17:42)
  • The “Chuckle Secret” for getting through stressful situations without embarrassing yourself (19:03)

If you want to radically change how much control you have over your emotions in as little as 20 days, you can go to https://thefreedomspecialist.com/feelbetternow and sign up for the Choose Your Own Emotion course.

If you or somebody you know is looking to drop the ‘F’ Bomb of freedom in your life and break free from addiction, depression, anxiety or anything that’s making you feel flat-out stuck, head over to https://thefreedomspecialist.com/ and book a call where we can look at your unique situation and give you the roadmap you’ve been missing.

Read Full Transcript

It's time to rip the cover off what really works to ditch addiction, depression, anger, anxiety, and all other kinds of human suffering. No, not sobriety. We're talking the F-word here: Freedom. We'll share, straight from the trenches, what we have learned from leaving our own addictions behind, and coaching hundreds of others to do the same—and since it's such a heavy topic, we might as well have a good time while we're at it. [00:27.9]

Bob: Woohoo, welcome back to the “Alive and Free Podcast” today. We're going to, we get to talk about every day lies. Yes, my friend, you and I are liars in the biggest, in the biggest possible way. But today, particularly, and I think I've talked about this on some previous episodes, but today, particularly I want to take us deep, dive down the dark rabbit hole of exaggeration. These everyday lies that we tell ourselves and other people that are actually the things that create drama in the first place. And last week we talked about trauma, today we're going to talk about drama. It's so, so buckle up folks. Now I am not here to throw my wife or kids under the bus, but they just happened to be the human beings who I am around the most and therefore observed the most. And they helped me so much to reflect on who I am and what's going on inside my own head. [01:29.6]

You know, what's crazy is some years ago we were living in Seattle. I was going to graduate school at the time, and we went to church on a mother's day. And on mother's day, this old guy with his grizzled white beard gets up. And this is one of those churches that felt more like Cathedral like. There were stained glass windows on one side, very, very tall, like blue velvety curtains, and you know, kind of a vaulted ceiling. And it had a little more of a cathedral-esque, chapel feel beautiful woodwork on the pew and on the pulpit. And this guy gets up and this was the guy that all the kids loved at church. He like, you go to primary or to the, to the nursery class and he was the guy that came in and played the piano and did singing time with him. And they all loved him because he looked like Santa Claus year round and he'd give them treats. So it was Santa Claus getting up there, talking about, you know, giving a talk on mother's day. And I did not expect anything of the sort that he said. [02:27.4]

But to be honest, like how many mother's day messages and talks have you heard in your life, whether you're a church goer or not. And a lot of them focus around the same thing, how much mothers do; you know how grateful we should be for them, how unsung their qualities are, how divine there potentially is. And I do not want to take away from any of that, but this man talked about sea turtles. Holy Cow!! He said, if you think about it, God could have made us like sea turtles. Is that not a phrase that would turn your head in any church meeting? I mean, come on, like that was brilliant. And I was like, WHAT! He says, I mean, think about it, sea turtles, they go up on the shore, they lay their eggs, they go back out to the ocean and if the babies make it, they make it. And if they don't make it, they don't make it. God could have made us like that. He could have made us like sea turtles to where having children was literally that kind of experience. You just dump them off. And if they make it, they make it. And if they don't make it, Oh, well, apparently that was nature's idea of, of fair trade. [03:31.5]

But no, instead what happens he says, we have these kids and they are, they stick with us for like 18 years. So given the fact that God could have created it so that the kids would have been okay immediately on their own. Have you ever considered the possibility that maybe they're sticking with us so long for our benefit instead of for theirs? That's WOW, right? I had never considered that possibility before. I was so used to growing up believing that as a parent, it was my job to educate my children, to teach them things. But if you think about what it's like with parents, how happy are children? How happy are parents? On average, I would guess that children are way more happy than parents are. How happy were you when you were a child? How happy are you now? Has it gone down? If it has, I would say that's a regression. So what is it exactly that you and I have to teach our kids if we, except for how to become less happy. [04:31.2]

And all the research shows that happiness is the thing that makes the human system function at the best. So obviously we're not doing so great at that. And we have all kinds of healthcare issues in our society because of it. And so here we are, as parents believing, we have powerful things to teach children when the reality is all we're teaching them are some basic skills and a whole lot of how to be miserable. And that was the first time that this was brought to my attention the very first time. And so as I sit there and I have my children in my home now I realize like, look, there is very little, I need to teach them, do I have skills that they could learn? Yes. Do I need to make sure they don't get run over by a car? Yes. Because many of them would have been run over many times. Hadn't been, well, maybe not. Maybe there's other adults watching out for them, you know, it takes a village, they say. But the point is having these children has made me sit back and reflect on how little I understand. And I look at them and I look at how they interact and I marvel at how happy they are. I just Marvel at it and yet, as they're growing, they are learning to exaggerate. [05:31.8]

Have you noticed this they're growing up and when something in their life goes horribly wrong, meaning it goes the way that they don't want it to, they treat it as if death is ensuing. In fact, there was one point in time where my two sons, my two oldest were out riding their scooters around and one son grabbed the scooter. He wanted to get it and try some tricks on it and the other son came in, kind of freaking out. And I went over to him and I talked to him and he said, no, mister. is trying to kill me. And I had to sit there with my son, I was like, okay, so, all right, so it sounds like you think he was literally trying to end your life, trying to cut off your head or stop your heart or something like that. Is that what actually happened? Did you actually see him trying to kill you? Well, no, but he was threatening me. Oh, okay. So what was he doing? Well, he just like raised his fist in the air and he was like, give me that face and he was like, Ummmh, like he was going to kill me. Okay. So what you saw was him raising his face in the air, his fist in the air and making a face in order to scare you to get off of his scooter. Yeah. So was he actually trying to kill you? Well no. but the kid couldn't see it. [06:43.0]

My second son, who's, who's an amazing kid, super intelligent, he couldn't see that his brother wasn't trying to kill him because his first guess about it was, Oh, somebody making that face is literally trying to kill me. Now he may have picked that up from me. Cause when he was younger, I was still stuck in all of my addictive tendencies, my depression and everything else. And there were definitely a few times where I was making a face and raising some hands at the kids. And even if I didn't hit him, I bet it felt like this, you know, nearly six foot tall, giant, cause he's only like two feet tall is coming up. Can you imagine someone three feet, three times your size coming after you with fist raise and jaw clenched? So it might've been that he picked up that idea from how I treated him as an adult, but the reality is it wasn't actually happening. [07:27.4]

So it was his first guest and he couldn't see that his first guess was wrong until I took a moment to step back and be like, Hey, so is that actually happening? Pro tip guys, if you feel like something really negative is happening, take a step back and ask yourself, is that actually happening? Can you see it, taste it, hear it, smell it, touch it or anything else? Because it was not actually happening to you, freaking out about it, isn't going to help matters, even if you want to change the situation. So you'll always want to double check. I mean, unless obviously you're in a fight or something, in which case, double check later in the fight, just do what you can, right? If your safety is compromised, do the best you can. Afterwards. Start to retrain yourself to see things a little more clearly. Now this type of exaggeration happens with absolute terms, good and bad all ways and never right, everyone and nobody. And all of these kinds of absolute terms that we throw on things, willy nilly. [08:27.5]

We've learned to do this, and what happens is when you speak in absolutes, when you speak in those kinds of terms, it takes the person on an emotional roller coaster. If you think back to all the times that you overreacted or that other people overreact it's because they're thinking about things in very, very extreme ways, either very negative or very positive, and they're generally catastrophizing or making more out of it than needed. For instance, someties my kids will make this huge, amazing deal that they're super excited about that is well far and beyond something that's actually happening. And then their hopes get dashed later because they didn't, they made up more than was there. [09:10.2]

And when we say our mind is made up, or I made up my mind or that doesn't make sense, let me tell you this very straight and clear. Human beings are the only ones that are busy, making sense and making up minds and making up ideas and making up things. All that we suffer from is made up by us. The world doesn't care, if it makes sense, humans are busy making sense, but somehow along the way, we learned that things have to make sense in order for us to be okay with them. But the reality is things don't make sense. We make sense of them and you don't have to have things make sense in order for you to be okay with them. That's just one way of going about life. [09:49.4]

If you or someone you know is looking to drop the F-bomb of “Freedom” in their life, whether that's from past trauma, depression, anxiety, addiction, or any other host of emotional and personal struggles, but they just don't know how or wants some help doing it. Head on over to thefreedomspecialist.com/feelbetternow and check out some of the things we've got in store for you or book a call so we can look at your unique situation and get you the help that you're looking for. [10:17.6]

And so the other day, I mean for the last probably year or more, I started noticing some patterns in the language in my home. Okay, you're about to get an expo say on the gardener home and hear some of the goings on in here. And so for instance, when things go south and the kids do not respond to the first or the second or the third time that you asked them to do something, the phrase comes out of either my mine or Jasmine's mouth you'd do you determine who's it is, you can blame me if you want. It says, nobody's listening to me. She's busy telling me this, which means that at least one person is listening to her. Oh, sorry. I gave it away. I'll give you an example of me later, right? Because I want to be fair. And so she's busy telling me this, which means that at least one person is listening to her. And usually when she's saying these things, everyone in the house is hearing what's going on and they're listening. [11:16.3]

They might not care, they might have different priorities about what they think is great. But more often than not, when we say nobody's listening, what that does is it creates inside of us a negative situation. We can say and even worse, we make these categorical statements that say, nobody listens to me. That is like a permanent statement, a permanent label that you're putting on life. I would highly caution you not to put permanent labels on life because it's always changing. If you say, nobody listens to me, that becomes a snarl, a silly notion about real life. And pretty soon, even if people are listening to you, you can't accept it or you dismiss it or you don't remember it. And all you remember are the times when they don't, because you're ratifying your own view on life because it's making sense. Right? [12:01.5]

And so the more that you make it into it at truth claim about your life categorical statement, the more suffering, the more misery you're going to run into this happens. I was writing an email, I mean a message today to somebody who's a client and to his wife cause they were, they're going through some struggles. And at one point in time, she asked me like, if I would be willing to hop on the phone with her and one of her clients, cause they're having a marital thing. And I told her, I said, look, I've been inside of these things before where I intervene. But if one of the parties and one of them, doesn't, it doesn't think it's a problem, he doesn't want to talk about it. He thinks there's nothing wrong. And if one of them gets dragged into the conversation, he's just going to be defensive. And if he doesn't want to change and he doesn't see any issue with it, then there's nothing I'm going to be able to do because he's already going to show up feeling like people are trying to fix him automatically, right? [12:51.4]

And I saw, I said, look, what happens in these situations is that people end up blaming, they end up self-validating and then they ended up just going in circles and nobody gets anywhere. Because both of them have made up an exaggerated view about what's going on. Oh, this isn't a problem. People tell me that porn isn't a problem. Drugs aren’t a problem. Or, or they or other people are like religion is the main issue, right? Right. If there, if it weren't for religion, people would have trouble. People wouldn't be having this kind of shame and guilt stuff. And these are categorical statements and they're all exaggerations. So I was writing this message and I wrote, you know, this never goes well. And then after I finished it, I looked back at my state sentence and I was like, that's not true. I can't say that. What I can say is the times I've done this, which you know, I could count on one hand, it's not like I've intervened in that many, it hasn't gone well by my estimation. And I've and I've seen it go where yes, they did this. They did this. They did that, right? [13:46.2]

And all of that going in circles and self-blame, but by making it never goes well, I was actually lying. And I'll tell you this. It might seem like that's a harmless lie. And those kinds of statements are wonderful statement. You read them in literature, you read them in books, you read them in the news. You read them in church. You read them everywhere, people want to make statements around. I understand how life works and this is the truth of the matter, it's an unassailable truth and I know it, which is one reason why we hate being wrong. And we always get when we hit getting caught in it because we know it's alive. But when we lie like that, there is we lose power, we lose power in our life. And when you can start to say the truth as it is, they weren't listening to me at that moment. You know, he won't share with me. That's a future prediction. Stop predicting the future. You don't know what the future is. Will he share with you tomorrow? You have no idea. He isn't sharing with you at the moment or he didn't share with you when you asked that much you can say, because that much is the truth of the matter. [14:45.7]

But if you want to say more than that, then all you're doing is giving yourself an excuse to suffer an excuse, to feel pain and excuse, to feel misery. So if you were going to say, nobody pays attention to me or, you know, they always pick on me always, really, always like every moment of their life, they're always picking on you. Really? Really like they think more about you than you do, because you don't even think about you every day of your life. They never do this, I never get to sit in the front seat. I can't tell you how many times my kids have said that one after like having sat in the front seat like a week before or something, you know, he always gets more than I do, they have zero context. They're only grabbing one experience and they're turning it into the truth for all time. And what it does is it doesn't change your circumstances. No amount of exaggeration will change anything of what's going on. We only lie to ourselves in order to motivate ourselves to do stuff. We hold back the truth some so that we can manipulate our surroundings. We can manipulate and motivate other people. [15:45.9]

Why would, for instance, my wife come in and say, nobody listens to her, because at some level it's possible that that not consciously, but it's possible that she wants them to feel bad enough about what they're doing and how they're treating her, that they will recognize it and turn around and do something different. Now that could be what's happening, there could be some other things going on there too. Why is it that I would say it never goes well. Well, the reality was when I asked myself that I looked at it and it was because, well, I don't want to get involved in those kinds of conversations. And so what I'm saying is a categorical statement to give myself an excuse so that I can simply say no and back out. Why would my kids say I never get to sit in the front seat? Well, because they want be, they want to sit in the front seat and they want, they want to, they want that. And they're using that type of language in order to manipulate us and to blind us a little bit to evidence and everything else so that we feel sorry for them enough, for them to be able to get what they want. [16:44.4]

They don't really care about whether or not their brother or sister gets an equal amount of time, they don't actually want fairness, they just want to sit in the front seat. Why would we say everyone does this? Or nobody does this? Or why would we use statements that refer to categories of people like blacks or whites? Or why would we use statements that refer to governments or politicians? All of these are labels that become categorical statements that are not the reality, not every politician is the same. Politicians well, everybody lies, but politicians don't just lie more than your average person, right? Marketers, aren't all sleazebags and salespeople aren't all trying to just get your money. And yet we have these lies that we've told ourselves that prevent us from seeing what's really happening. And instead, all they're doing is taking us on an emotional roller coaster ride. So you in your life right now, as you're listening to this, where might you be exaggerating things a bit? Have you noticed any time recently where you've used some categorical statements, like always or some like absolute statements like always and never. Man, my wife she's Oh, she never does this or she never answers this way or she always this, have you done that? [17:56.3]

Oh man, my husband, he just doesn't seem to get it. Or guys are just…hmmm, have you, have you noticed that in your life? Because if you have, I'm so excited for you because those are the exact areas where you can learn to free up so much power and so much ease and so much happiness in your life because you're no longer carrying lies about the world around you. Exaggeration, let it be known itself is a beautiful tool for taking people on an emotional roller coaster. But it has nothing to do with real life and often gets in the way of true happiness, remember that. Have fun with exaggeration, enjoy it, enjoy it in the movies, enjoy it in the books, enjoy it in the newspaper, but don't ever be duped by it because the moment you allow someone to exaggerate and you feel like you're responsible for that is the moment that you lose your freedom on the inside and you get jay yanked around by their exaggerations. [18:51.4]

The moment that you begin to exaggerate in retaliation, or just on your own is the moment that you're busy, lying to yourself, trying to manipulate other people. And now you're trying, it's like you're trying to make everyone do what you want. Instead, take a moment back, laugh at the exaggeration, see what it feels like. Celebrate the fact that you can make it up all you want, but that it doesn't have to be true. And you don't have to believe your exaggerations and then step out and look and see, is that, did that really happen? You know, check the guy on the scooter, did he really try to kill you or not? And you know, a game you can play for yourself is just an alternative interpretation game. If you want to do this, right? I've thought about putting together a card deck and actually making a game like desk, maybe one day in the future, I'll do something like that, but just imagine a situation. For instance, some guy's driving down the road, he cuts you off. How many different ways could you make up a story that determines it? [19:45.0]

Now, maybe your first gut reaction is going to be man, that guy's such a jerk, such a careless reckless driver. And that could be true, but what if there's a bee in the front of the car? And he had to swerve, he was swerving because he was terrified of bees or what if he simply looked in his mirror, but didn't see you. And what if his wife's in the seat? And he's a little agitated because she's pregnant and going into labor. And he wants to make sure that he gets to the hospital in time because it's his first time having a kid. What if he's angry about something else? It just simply wasn't paying attention you know. What if he's a government hitman going on a mission and he's trying to save you know lives. You know what, there's so many different ones and you can get as creative as you want. You can include fictional characters, if you want, like my daughter who didn't want to eat her mashed potatoes. So she told me that fairies had pooped on them, it was pepper y'all. It doesn't matter how you exaggerate, but if you can make it a game and recognize it, you don't have to believe any of it, then you no longer get stuck by the exaggerations. And you're no longer blaming people and turning them into scapegoats for what's going on and we'll talk about that on another episode. [20:51.4]

But for today, I want you to be free of the tyranny of exaggeration, because even though it doesn't seem like it, it seems like it's a fun little game. You don't realize just how much energy, just how much emotion and just how much like happiness is robbing from you, because it takes a lot of that in order to maintain the exaggeration. And when you no longer feel the need to exaggerate or to improve upon life as it is, but can simply embrace it as it is a whole different kind of happiness and freedom show up that is so effortless and so powerful. So here's to telling the truth, folks. Exaggerations be gone, I make them, you make them feel free to call me out on them anytime you want, because we all need practice seeing through the appearances that we've made of things, seeing through the mist and the glamour that we put on top of stuff so that we can interact with life just as it is. [21:47.5]

And that's it for todays “Alive and Free Podcast.” If you enjoyed this show and want some more freedom bombs landing in your ear buds, subscribe right now at wherever you get your podcasts from. And, while you're at it, give us a rating and a review. It'll help us keep delivering great stuff to you. Plus, it's just nice to be nice. [22:06.0]

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