Children find order by dividing the world into concrete and abstract opposites: good or bad, big or little, true or false, win or lose. Absolutes give them a sense of security and help them give meaning to unfamiliar experiences.
In adulthood, we know that there is a breadth of space between extremes, for example, right or wrong. Yet, many people grip tight to the idea of one way of being in the world. The byproducts of this type of extremist thinking can have detrimental impacts on a person's mental health. For example, being inflexible stunts development, unyielding ideas curtail connection, and rigid thinking restrains maturation.
Rhys-Thorvald Hansen joined The Ego Project and discussed their gender identity journey. Rhys spoke about the power of deconstruction when it comes to challenging established ideas, behaviors, and self-identities, including sexuality, gender identity, or any belief that has been instilled in you from others.
Deconstructing beliefs and ideas about what we are taught can enhance self-awareness and personal healing. As Rhys shared, their journey began by spending time alone and exploring many different concepts and ways of being.
If you are interested in the deconstruction process, here are some initial steps you can take:
How to Begin Your Deconstruction Journey:
Pinpoint a belief or idea that causes you confusion or you are uncertain about what you have been told or taught. For example, beliefs around gender norms, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any concept that raises doubt in your mind.
What, if anything, about the belief works for you?
What about that idea do you want to keep?
What about that idea do you not want to keep?
Even if you are not ready to completely release a tightly held belief, actively seek out information and examples that help you challenge the belief or idea that you are uncertain about.
NOTE: If you find yourself overwhelmed and in need of support, reach out to a trusted friend, coach, or therapist.