A flawed story inevitably results in flawed Private Conclusions. For example, if you have a Sore Spot of shame that tells you that you aren’t valuable (Heart Logic), you may misinterpret tension in a relationship as entirely your fault. And you may respond by taking the blame for something that wasn’t yours to own and over-apologizing.
If you have a Sore Spot of pride and someone challenges your opinion, you’ll probably feel insulted and outraged, accusing the person of being “out of line.” You’ll find a way to punish the person so she’ll never do it again.
Private Conclusions are private, not because they’re meant to be secret, but because they’re hidden deep in your soul. You might occasionally recognize them, but often they remain behind the scenes, unarticulated, and unnoticed. Secrecy allows them to exert powerful unseen and unwanted influences. They’re also private because they’re part of your unique story. If Private Conclusions go unexamined, they remain unchallenged, leaving you vulnerable to the catalytic forces of Sore Spots and flawed Heart Logic. The longer you live with your existing Private Conclusions, the more you settle into self-defeating ways of thinking and being. Your pathway narrows as you age and develop rigid habits and routines. When these become normalized, you feel more comfortable with your faulty Private Conclusions, even if they keep you stuck in dysfunctional assumptions and unhealthy responses.
These Life Lessons seem to be good and right, and actually, they seem unassailable. They take forms that are very familiar: “Always work harder than everyone else.” “Love others and be vulnerable no matter how much they hurt you.” “Don’t make anyone unhappy.” “The only one you can trust is yourself.” “It’s not my fault. In fact, it’s never my fault.” “Obey the rules, at least when they make sense!” You may articulate your rules in a different way, but all of us have a set of rules as our life’s guidebook. How do we write these rules? You may think it’s just because your mother said so. That may be partly true, especially if your mother was not one to be messed with! But the rules you adopt as your guidebook are an accumulation of the Private Conclusions swirling around inside of you. Life Lessons become absolutes. We hold tight to these lessons as our guideposts and anchors. We seldom evaluate them; we just live by them. Our undeserved loyalty to our faulty Life Lessons keeps us living out Einstein’s definition of insanity: “Doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result.