The Land of Make Believe: How We Rationalize Reality


Irrational Thoughts All of us have seen Lifetime movies, tv shows, and episodes of Oprah where someone tells the kids, “It’s not your fault.” But what we may not fully understand are the number of irrational thoughts that live inside the minds of children and within our own minds.

From the time that I was born until I was four years old, Sesame Street was my life. I lived for Count Dracula, Big Bird, and Kermit. I also remember the exact moment when my brother ruined my life. In the middle of watching Sesame Street, he told me that Kermit the Frog and Bert and Ernie were puppets. “You are lying!” I screamed. I waited for my dad to get home that evening. I looked at him, convinced that he would tell me that my brother was playing a trick on me. And then my dad started to explain what a puppeteer was and how the puppets were in fact not real. I was devastated.
For me, that experience gives me insight into the irrational mind of a child. Children use their imagination to create fantasy worlds about what they don’t understand. As a society, most of us enter into adulthood and forget about our childhood beliefs. We become grossly unaware or detached from the types of things that kids tell themselves in an attempt to manage reality, especially when it comes to coping with divorce, neglect, absent parents, or parents who jump in and out of their lives.
As a relationship and life coach, I am very aware of the kinds of thoughts that individuals craft and imagine to understand the hand they were dealt as kids or young adults. Whether it was ‘Ron’ who believed at seven that his bad grades and behavior were the cause of his parent’s divorce or ‘Kim’ who believed her father left because she wasn’t pretty enough, their beliefs were created in an attempt to understand or rationalize a situation that they are unable to grasp as children.
As adults, we continue to recreate our fear and pain into fantasy when we navigate the relationship world. We tell ourselves that we are too ugly or too fat to be loved. We ignore blatant signs that a relationship is not good for us. We tell ourselves that we deserve what is happening to us based on things we did in our past. We stay in bad relationships to prove to others that we were right. We remain miserable and unhappy “for the kids.”

Desire is at the root of every fantasy. Whether we desire to be in a relationship, to prove our parents wrong, to feel wanted, to not get a divorce like our parents did, or to feel like we are "good enough", we all have something that is driving us to recreate reality. Only when we acknowledge this can we begin to look at our personal reality for what it truly is instead of what we want it to be.

Check out the video below for a podcast of this post.