When you believe anything that’s not true, it not only makes you miserable, but it also negatively impacts your sense of worthiness, your relationships, and your emotional health.

You can dismantle false beliefs and lies to experience more of what’s true.

Looking at the lies you believe, or the errors in your thinking, will confront you with the fact that you’ve been brainwashed. Yes, women have been brainwashed by their family, the culture they grew up in, the books they’ve read, the schools they attended, media, and even the religious or spiritual communities they belong to. Dismantling the lies you believe is an invitation to see yourself, other people, and your relationships in completely new and more loving ways.

LIE #1

You have the power to attract or repel a partner (or anyone else)

The idea that this statement is a lie probably flies in the face of everything you’ve been taught about what it means to be female. That’s because women are conditioned and taught to believe that they do, in fact, have the power to attract or repel a partner or another person based on the way they look, speak, act, or dress, and so on.

Countless books have been written about the topic like, “How to get a man,” “How to find a man,” or “How to keep the man you have.” These books or articles imply that you have the power to make these things happen. Of course, on a very practical level it’s true that you can be more or less pleasant to be with.

The bigger truth is that even being unattractive or unpleasant isn’t necessarily a surefire way to repel someone.

Below are some examples that demonstrate that the power to attract or repel another person isn’t solely in your power or control.

I heard a story several years ago about a heterosexual couple where, often without any provocation, the woman would become extremely emotional and react to her partner with over-the-top outbursts. She was — in a word — difficult. She was routinely and reliably highly emotional and highly reactive.

One day she became enraged at her boyfriend over some small thing. He hadn’t done anything egregious (terrible), but she was so angry with him that she threw all his clothes and personal belongings out into the front yard of the house where they lived. Then she took his favorite black leather motorcycle jacket and donated it to Goodwill. (In case you’ve never heard of Goodwill, it’s a place that accepts donations of items you no longer have any use for, so that someone else can buy them. Goodwill uses the money to help people with disabilities or who have other barriers to employment.)

Most people would agree that someone throwing your stuff into the front yard and donating your favorite item of clothing to charity is pretty unattractive. But, about a year after the clothes-in-the-front yard motorcycle jacket incident, this couple got married! The man who lost his motorcycle jacket came back and asked her to marry him, and the last I heard about this couple they were peacefully coexisting.

Here’s another example that I hope will convince you that you don’t have the power to attract or repel another person. This one will probably be more relatable — a little closer to home.

Have you ever had a bad day or just a lazy day where you were still in your bathrobe at three o’clock in the afternoon and hadn’t combed your hair or brushed your teeth? Of course! And then, your partner (or somebody else) looked at you with the sweetest expression and said, “You’re so beautiful.” Or, “You look so cute sitting there in in your bathrobe.”

Or maybe you were working in the yard and you were dirty and sweaty — your wet hair glued to the side of your face. Then your partner comes outside and says to you, “You’re so gorgeous!”

Have you ever experienced anything like that? Most women have. And it’s one piece among many pieces of evidence that you don’t have to show up looking like a movie star to be appreciated, admired, or loved.

Here’s another example — a final example that I hope will help you abandon the lie that you have the power to attract or repel anyone. Have you ever seen or heard about someone — say a supermodel, or some amazingly gorgeous woman with four bazillion followers on social media — whose spouse cheated on her or left her? By most mainstream standards she might be considered one of the top .001% of beautiful, attractive women on the planet. And yet, the person she wants to be with cheated, or left. (For the answer to, “Is his disinterest in being with her, or his cheating about him or about her?” see Lie #2.)

So how does the belief that you can attract or repel a partner (or anyone else) hold up when you consider these examples? I know, if you’re firmly attached to this belief you’ll find a way to argue with what I’m saying. But all I want to do is to open your mind — even a tiny bit — to ideas you may not have questioned before.

And even if you’re totally on board with the TRUTH that it’s a LIE that you have the power to attract or repel someone, you’re going to fall back into the trap of believing this lie from time to time.

Here’s why: You’ve been brainwashed to believe it’s true. Not only that, many people are making massive amounts of money off of you maintaining this false belief. The cosmetics industry, the cosmetic surgery industry, every anti-aging product, full-body deodorant (!), or service, books, courses, or coaching that promises you the secret for how to get, or keep, or get back a man. Why not skip all the stress and striving, and claim the joy and freedom of knowing that you being you is all you need?

LIE #2

What other people do has something to do with you, or is about you

There are countless opportunities — big and small — to notice how this lie plays out in your daily life. Looking at the list below, think about all the possible explanations you can make up about why any of these events happened:

  • Someone didn’t answer your text in less an hour
  • You didn’t get a reply to an email you sent
  • Your girlfriend didn’t invite you to the annual girls’ trip next spring
  • Someone forgot your birthday
  • You didn’t get the job
  • Your partner cheated on you
  • Your spouse left you

Most people automatically and unconsciously believe that they (or something about them) are the reason most or all of these situations came to be. Intensely personal explanations range from, “She doesn’t like me,” to “I’m not attractive enough.” It’s only human to create self-focused explanations for why other people make certain choices or behave as they do.

Like everyone else, you’re the center of your own universe.

And that means you will explain situations like not getting a response to an email or not being asked for a second date as being about you. But can you imagine telling another woman that the reason her partner cheated was because she’s not attractive enough or because she didn’t have the “right” size body parts? No! But you’ll say this to yourself in the privacy of your own mind. This kind of thinking is emotional self-abuse.

Unfortunately, this kind self-focused and toxic thinking is so common that it remains largely unexamined and unquestioned.

One of the best ways to know that you’re deep into these types of thought distortions is when you begin believing them about other people. For example, you believe that another woman’s husband left her because she gained weight and isn’t attractive enough to keep him. Ouch!

If you’ve gotten into the habit of blaming people for not being good enough, skinny enough, smart enough, or sexy enough to be a friend, get a date, and so on, this lie has become so deeply entrenched for you that you’re going to have a hard time dislodging it.

Understanding on a deep and cellular level the truth that what other people do is about them and not you isn’t a one-and-done kind of knowing.

Deprogramming yourself takes countless repetitions because of the intense brainwashing we’ve all endured — and continue to experience.

Remember: you have power over how much of this lie you expose yourself to. If you regularly consume ad-drenched media or you spend a lot of time on social media engaging in compare and despair, you’re feeding yourself a non-stop diet of this particular lie.

What I want you to get — in your bones — is that 100% of what other people do is about them.

Just like 100% of what you do is about you. Even though you may intellectually agree with what I just said, most of us don’t get it at the deepest level. So I repeat, what other people do is 100% about them and 100% of what you do is about you.

But you might say, “That’s not really true that what other people do is 100% about them. If somebody doesn’t treat me with respect, they deserve it if I’m rude back to them.”

If you believe the reason you were rude to someone was because of what they did, what you’re saying is that your behavior is determined by what other people do. You probably bristle when someone says to you, “The reason I _______________ was because you ______________,” essentially blaming you for what they did.

Believing you’re controlled by other people means you’re a robot, or someone who doesn’t have free will. Someone who’s programmed to respond based on how other people show up and interact with you. Believing (or saying) you’re not responsible for what you do because somebody else made you do it is a failure to take responsibility. It’s an admission of not having character or integrity.

LIE #3

You don’t matter, you’re not enough, or you don’t have value

Nearly every woman I’ve ever met has one of these lies lurking just beneath the surface of her everyday experience:

  • I don’t belong
  • I don’t matter
  • I’m not good enough
  • I don’t have value
  • I don’t fit in

Pick the belief that’s the most powerful for you, and get curious about it. Is it really true?

The belief (lie) that’s most powerful for you is a kind of go to belief — a negative belief about yourself that becomes the lens through which you see and interpret yourself, your relationships, and your life.

But would you say, “You don’t matter” to your daughter, your best friend, or your favorite sister? If you wouldn’t say it to your daughter or your best friend or your sister, why not? It’s vital that you think about why you would never tell another woman she’s not good enough, but you say it to yourself on a regular basis.

Another way to get curious about the lie you believe about yourself is to ask yourself if there’s evidence for the opposite of what you believe.

For example, if you believe you don’t matter, is there evidence that you do matter? If you have a hard time coming up with an answer then think again about your daughter, your best friend, or a sister. What is the evidence that she matters? And when you find the answer to that question, can you apply the same answers to yourself?

My guess is that you probably can. You can also investigate this lie by seeing how the first two lies I talked about earlier (that you can attract or repel someone, or that what other people do is about you) intersect with this one. In other words, when you believe that what other people do is about you, does that belief cause you to think you don’t matter? Or that you’re not enough?

If you ask this question sincerely and look at it closely, you’ll find the answer. To make it more concrete, say you had a plan with a friend to meet for lunch and when you got to where you were supposed to meet, they didn’t show up. After 15 minutes, you texted them and found out they completely forgot about the commitment they made to get together for lunch.

If you believe the reason they forgot is because you don’t matter to them, can you see how you managed to fit two of the three lies into your explanation — that you don’t matter, and what they did was about you?

One of the most harmful consequences of believing you don’t matter or you’re not enough is that you’ll use the belief to explain other events and other situations in your life.

Or you may unconsciously try to find evidence of these lies or beliefs.

Dismantling false beliefs and lies takes awareness, self-honesty, and courage. Review any false beliefs you have as many times as you need to get clear and grounded about what’s true for you so that you can be free of the unnecessary and painful emotions that come with believing what’s not true.

Listen to 3 Big Lies Women Believe on YouTube

© Victoria Priya, LCSW (2024)

Radiant Threefold Path articles are protected by U.S. copyright laws, and may not be reproduced, distributed, or re-published without written permission of the author.

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