Thursday, August 16, 2012

Who Can Understand It?

What’s going on? Why do people do the things they do? Why do I do the things I do? Why do I respond this way or that?

It seems to me, like it or not, that everyone has pieces of themselves they either can’t or won’t share with another human being. Even if you want to, when you’re willing to, there will be things you can’t share, because you don’t even know what’s going on yourself. Some things are unknowable. And these “unknowables” are what often lead us to the water, or the poison, we can choose to drink or leave behind.

Some people want to be “transparent” about their lives. They feel it’s false or fake in some way to hold anything back. But even if you managed, somehow, to totally reveal what you believe to be the “truth” of who you are, you would still be a mystery because you can’t even know yourself completely. How is anyone else going to know you that fully?

Don’t get me wrong. It’s worth trying, at least with some people. But it is futile in many ways and I think we need to admit that up front. We’re all just the tips of icebergs. There is a lot going on below the surface, and even a person who is amazingly dedicated to the art of self awareness and self revelation can be, I should say, “will be,” blind to their own motives and at least some of the realities that cause them to feel and eventually do what they do.

We feel things and then think things, and finally do things, because we have been convinced by some event in the past to respond that way. Sometimes, even long after the event itself is forgotten, the reaction lives on. We have been trained by experiences to respond, and our responses can tell us a lot about what’s going on underneath. But it’s like putting together a puzzle with missing and messed up pieces.

I guess you could say I believe in at least some aspects of behavioral psychology. But doesn’t it just make sense? In fact, I think it’s biblical.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

To change this reality, to “understand” your heart, you would have to remember everything you ever did, every thing that ever happened to you, and also be able to measure and calculate a proper emotional response to all that information on the fly as you move through the day.

Let me know how that works out.

You can’t always “choose” your emotional responses to things, but you can “choose” what to do with it. Where do you let it take you? What do you do as a result? A lot of people want to believe they have no control, or responsibility, for what they choose to do, because they don’t always have control over the emotional responses that lead them to that action. But you can always choose. You are not a cyborg, an automaton, a robot, or a thoughtless animal. You are not. You are a human being.

What you, and I, actually do each day, each moment, is the product of your decisions. And decisions have consequences.

© LW Publishing 2011


  1. Well said Dave.

    As I've gone on in life, it's been my experience that many things turn out to be much more complex than we realize, while other things that seemed so complex are simpler than we thought. A lot more of the former than the latter though!

    That deceitful heart is quite a thorn.

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