It’s Thursday and I want to figure out weekend plans so I text a friend “hey, are you free this weekend to get together?” Thursday comes and goes and I wonder why they didn’t respond…maybe they were busy with work all day and didn’t have time to read it…no big deal. Friday comes and goes without a response…they must have seen the text by now, but maybe they just forgot to respond. Saturday comes and goes with no response…ok what the heck, they must be ghosting me…how hard is it to write a simple “yes” or “no”? Sunday comes and goes…well this clearly means they don’t like me anymore…I guess we’re not friends…I must have done something to annoy them…apparently I’m not fun enough to be around.
Does this situation sound familiar to anyone? I used to be so insecure that if I was ever rejected I’d automatically jump to conclusions and assume there was something wrong with me. This was my way of staying safe and keeping people at an arm’s length. My anxiety would cause me to try and predict outcomes and the only way to do that was by relying on my past negative experiences. Thus if I was ever rejected, or something didn’t turn out positive, my insecurities and old stories would be validated.
We always want to prove ourselves right. We want our ideas to be true, so we end up gathering information to support those ideas and eventually we believe those theories to be true. We even ignore or reject information that goes against our beliefs. This, my friends, is called confirmation bias. We only want the bits of information that make us feel good because they confirm what we believe to be true. But by only believing what we want to believe we stay trapped in our false stories.
It goes against our natural instinct to look for information that tells us we’re wrong, but that’s exactly what we need to do if we want to break free. We need to stop trying to please our egos. You would think that believing we’re right all the time would make us more confident and self-assured, but in reality it only feeds into our insecurities. Gaining true confidence and autonomy means admitting that you can be wrong. So how do we challenge ourselves to stop self-sabotaging with confirmation bias?
1. Play devil’s advocate
You don’t have to agree with a certain point of view, but try to look at it from a different perspective. Debate the thought/feeling/idea and explore it further.
2. Gather information that proves you’re wrong
You can easily point out all the evidence that proves you’re right, but what in your situation proves that you’re wrong? What points against you? How would you defend the opposing idea? How does this new information compare with your beliefs?
3. Take time before making a decision
Our past experiences and negative beliefs cause us to make automatic reactions and decisions about situations. So what would happen if you went with the opposite choice? What would that look and feel like? Think about every possible option before making a decision.
4. Get another perspective
Sometimes it takes an outsider’s point of view to change our own. Discuss your thoughts and ideas with others. And don’t just talk with people you know will take your side. Surround yourself with diverse groups of people and hear a variety of opinions.
If you’re ready to gain confidence and stop self-sabotaging with confirmation bias, contact me to set up a free clarity call.