The other day I was doing some reading about “confirmation bias”, our natural tendency to process information in ways that agree with what we already believe to be true, and ignoring information that challenges those beliefs.
We see this frequently when it comes to politics, for example. People who lean one way or another on political issues, tend to get their information from sources that confirm that belief, and ignore, or outright ridicule sources that represent the other side.
As I was reading some more about it though, I started to see where this natural tendency could be very harmful for survivors. Why? Because we were taught things, and believe things, based on our experiences that simply aren’t true any more. For example, as an adult, I am not a helpless child, yet how often does stress make us revert right back to feeling like we are?
It also comes into play when we “see” things that aren’t really there. As survivors we are fine tuned to sense any kind of danger that may be waiting for us. How much of the danger that we sense is really just our confirmation bias? How many people who are perfectly trustworthy do we push away because we are simply confirming our belief that people are out to hurt us? How many opportunities do we shrink away from, because we are stuck in our belief that the world is full of danger everywhere?
If nothing else, it’s something to think about as part of your healing. Challenge those beliefs when you can, don’t just accept what you’ve believed since childhood. You may find that those beliefs are not the world you live in now.