Families who participate in our program and are working on having the greatest amount of intimacy possible often find that there are certain fallacies in their belief systems that they have to overcome.
Each fallacy can be thought of as a limiting belief and those limiting beliefs can keep critical thinking from taking place. For example, the family that I grew up in acted like they were better than anybody else on the block and were critical of others. We thought we had it so good that it couldn’t get any better. It took me years to see the fallacy in that and required a great deal of emotional work before I could critically think about the issue.
When I engaged in critical thinking I thought, “Of course there were problems with my family.” Our tradition indicated that there were no problems and I was taught critical thinking skills in school but had not really learned to apply those critical thinking skills to my family of origin where I had certain limiting beliefs. Years and years from the first time that I broke through to higher order thinking skills that require a good amount of emotional intelligence, I am still overcoming these limiting beliefs. The first mistaken belief that I had to overcome was probably that my family was ideal and we were better than others. I found that in order to maintain that mythology, I had ignored a lot of my earliest experiences: times I was afraid of my father, times that I did not feel loved by my mother. Don’t misunderstand me, I think I had unusually loving and attentive parents. But my lack of critical thinking about my family showed up in terms of idealizing them.
By doing this, I have been more capable to have a growing intimate relationship with my wife. I have less need for my staff to project positive things on me. As a matter of fact, I was just at two days of training with my senior staff and received a great deal of criticism and I’m proud of the fact that in our business the staff can deliver that criticism. Some of them were afraid and they’re still functioning from traditional belief systems and haven’t really developed the progressive critical reasoning that we teach at our programs.
In summary, if we really want to have intimate relationships, we have to develop our critical thinking skills. We have to be able to identify limiting beliefs, challenge those limiting beliefs, and operate from a higher order of thinking that allows us to say things that would have been unsaid in our former, more limited traditional belief system.
Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.