By Published On: January 1, 20227.2 min readCategories: credit repair and credit health, Finance Therapy, Psychotherapy, self healing

Financial Risks of Over-Rating Abilities and Thoughts Creating Debt

Before I begin to attempt to answer the question of whether our thoughts can create debt, let’s look at the bigger picture.

It is a wild life that we live, filled with hilarious observations of others and ourselves. Not so funny though, is the reality that these perceptions might begin to become high risk for us if we navigate our work and finances under these shrouds of self-deception. I will bring this up later in more detail but if we are not in the truth, we are in sacrifice, and sacrifice is a debt-filled space, thus, thoughts can create debt.

Robert Trivers, an evolutionary scientist and author of several books and many publications, including the latest, Wild Life, is one of the first scientists to describe over-rating abilities as a tool to manipulate others but also to believe that self-deception and find self-achievement.

I am torn on this, as this is true often, as this is human nature but we have to ask ourselves, what is the tipping point?

The most dangerous people tend to not be aware of their own self-deception.

According to research at Newcastle University, the break is about 50/50 with some individuals assuming that they are under-ability or over-ability. A handful of people in any given measurement will property assess their abilities.

They found that those who felt that they were under-ability when ranked by peers, also projected a being under-ability, and less confident. Interestingly, those who assumed that they were more able than they were, also projected this confidence to such an extent, that their peers measured them as more confident and able as well.

In a nutshell, those who ranked as high-ability by projection by themselves and their peers were more likely to get promotions and raises. Those who were less capable were apt to be passed over.

This is why we often hear that we must believe ourselves to be worthy, loveable, or attractive, whatever the desire-du-jour because this is what we project into our small circles directly, and into the world indirectly.

Is this confidence, positive thinking, or something else? Well, it’s mostly self-deception. Confidence is being aware that you have potential or capabilities proven from historical experiences. Positive thinking is seeing the silver linings to any experience. Then we have self-deception, which is in essence, a lie. If at our core we are not in the truth, then our thoughts are going to be in a space of sacrifice as well, which can predispose us to have thoughts that create debt.

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Are thoughts that create debt associated with this self-deception?

The unconscious is the driver of most of our experiences. When we have coping strategies that develop continually, as we progress through life. We respond to our environment and our genetics drive some of these responses and emotional outcomes. Thus, we make conscious decisions based upon the unconscious, unmet needs, desires, cravings, fear, and so forth.

When we need to feel like we need to survive, we might become more desperate or vulnerable as we are less resilient in those moments. When we need to thrive, we will act upon what worked for us in survival mode. If being loud and projecting confidence helped survive, we might take that approach toward work. If being passive was what we assumed helped us, we might take the approach of a victim. We project this out into the world and also, in any group, one person will seem to be more capable, and one will seem less capable.

For example, we see evidence of over-ability self-deception with those who are religiously self-righteous all of the time. Do not infer that I am insinuating that everyone religious is self-deceptive. I am speaking of self-righteous people only.

That is a coping strategy that they have created consciously and unconsciously, and they believe themselves to be at a higher spiritual level.

They project this to the world and for many, they are going to be seen as good people if they say some key phrases like “I’m praying for you” or if they volunteer for the religious entity or attend services regularly. These items do not translate into them being a good person, but they believe these actions do mean that and many in their circle will. Externally, their indirect circle if others know of them, will make those assumptions as well. All of this is self-deception if it is taken at face value only. Mind you, this does not mean they are bad people or less than either; they might be great individuals. But they might not be “better” in character or substance than the person who doesn’t attend services nor openly prays for others.

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Now, think of a work environment.

Some people are very organized, do what is told of them all of the time, don’t rock the boat, go in early, leave last, and focus on the entity of work being positive space. This person might come across as a great employee and maybe they are, but much of what they do is either an illusion of being a good employee or not measurable. In truth, in a said organization, the outcome of the work, the results, the fruits of labor, are the true measurement. Some people are able to do this with less time or less fanfare. So, showing up early and staying late might not be an ability but a weakness, but if you believe it to be an ability and project that, others probably will see it that way as well. These can create projections and thoughts that create debt.

Self-Deception and Financial Therapy

Many times, when we are growing up learning to save, to work with loans, to have a career, and to make solid financial decisions – we are learning a level of deception. We work, we pay taxes, we have a bank account and we invest. We work for a company, we spend dollars and save for the long run. We might think that this is what success is all about. We think our financial situation is a success. While our financial situation might be one measure of success, it is not the total picture. This is self-deception.

Success is not just what we have but how we feel. I know of many clients who have incredible wealth but mirrored anxiety over money. They have a self-deception of their inability thus even with the affluence, they have struggles. They over-purchase, do not calculate their risks, they run up credit cards and they are in a cycle of spending and paying others. Meanwhile, I also have had clients who are in a lower income bracket, who save enough to have a nest egg, feel confident- not in self-deception, and are calm in their emotional finances.

Don’t get me wrong, I also have and have had wealthy clients who were at peace with their financial planning and I have had those who were less wealthy who were admittedly struggling and anxious.

My point is that it’s not what you have but how you feel about what you have – which can catapult your success if it is positive feelings that are logical, and not self-deceptive.

What does all of this mean?

Our story – including the chapters that include our money story, is in our subconscious and our habits are ingrained – the way we see the world and our fiscal world, are written out already. There’s bias and we believe that bias.

The best way to alter your self-deception, if you have it (and studies show we do) is to step into a neutral space of both vulnerabilities that are safe and potential that is motivational.

So, do our thoughts create debt?

Yes and no. Some debt, some levels of poverty, some areas of our environment are out of our reach. However, most people have at least some options. Options to study, options to reach for scholarships, options to save, etc.

The more we understand our own self-deception, the better equipped we are to stop it from happening and achieve what we want in love or money.

You can start by grabbing my free self-healing journal below. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this blog post about how neuroscience and psychology influence us. Please let me know your thoughts on this topic – I would be happy to hear them. Also, here’s a quiz to self-score your self-value.

Thank you for taking the time to read today’s article – until next week, as always keep living consciously 🙂

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Michele Paiva

Michele Paiva is a Licensed Psychotherapist, Recovery Coach and Certified Finance Educator, with 30 years experience in helping others to see their true value, and the truth under their trauma, to love themselves and springboard into a full, rich life. Rewrite your money story and take control of your financial and emotional health.

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