It was warm outside. Lots of noises. Birds. Wind in the trees. Traffic. High-school students during their break. Looking down the window from the classroom, I could hear my colleague saying that her sister was learning about cognitive neuroscience and psychology and because of that she discovered that there are a lot of chemical reactions in the brain. A lot of stuff going on there and I was intrigued. So, I imagined myself studying psychology, and during the breaks of my courses I would sit at a cafe shop and enjoy the readings of a good book explaining the processes of our brains and becoming highly skilled at figuring out people. That was a random break in May 2014 when I was still in high-school deciding what to study for Uni.
And then, in July 2015, I got in. I enjoyed it a lot and I never regretted my decision to go for that subject. Here are 10 powerful truths I learned at Uni while studying Psychology and that have shaped my life decisions going forward.
1.The more safety you look for, the less free you become. You cannot be safe and free at the same time. Freedom is not safe. Safety does not give you freedom. 2.There’s more to the surface than meets the eye. Every person has something crazy lovely wild and wonderful that they believe in. Something more than a superstition. Something unique that guides ones life path. Something that one does or acts in a certain way. Distinct from anybody else’s. That feature may annoy some people, may attract some others and may make you look like a fool in other people’s eyes. You know all that, but you will never give up on it, because it is part of you. It’s like you leg, or another component of your body. It is simply attached to you and it cannot be taken. Nor do you want it taken, because you actually love it. Mine? Cannot disclose it. No one ever does. It is hidden and yet it is visible. 3.Observing people can help one decipher a lot about oneself. And thus, about others. Studying their walking, their hurry, their eyes, their movements, their looks. Their beings while you silently observe that life pass by your scrutinizing eyes. That’s how you understand more about how to read a mind. How to read a person. 4.Psychology is not just for the insane. It is for everyone. If you need an advice, someone to support and not judge your decisions, if you need a person to whom to share your secrets. Psychology is to keep you sane in an insane society. Remember this: Someone’s therapist knows all about you. 5.Perception is externally guided hallucination. Your sensations and perceptions give you thoughts and feelings that transform themselves (depending on the circumstances) into beliefs, which in turn, create your reality. 6.If you are too smart, you will not be open to change. That’s because smart people have arguments and because of all their arguments and convictions, they cannot see the other part of the story. 7.Only good people get depressed. If people could stop blaming themselves for things that have happened in their lives, the rate of depression would decrease dramatically. We create and choose our beliefs. 8.We cannot distinguish the sane from the insane in psychiatric hospitals. If you want to know more about that, you can read The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson. 9. 24 hours after learning something, we forget 2/3 of it. 10.Man’s main task is to give birth to himself. The ability to find meaning in our lives is the defining characteristic of humankind. The ultimate aim of a human life is to develop what Erich Fromm described as “the most precious quality man is endowed with – the love of life.” 11.People who do crazy things are not necessarily crazy. We behave differently in different situations. If you have messed up something in one situation, that does not define who you are. 12.We become ourselves through others. We are by nature, social beings. The others are our mirrors. Because most human behavior is learned through modelling. 13. There is no significant difference in the overall intellectual aptitude of boys and girls. But because girls tend to put in a greater effort at school, and have greater interest and better work habits, girls get better grades than boys. 14. Events and emotions are stored in the memory together. Because of that, we tend to offer a greater importance to a memory because of the way it made us feel. What we believe with all our hearts it’s not necessarily the truth simply because it may have been shaped by false information, it may have been suggested to us by someone we trust, it may have been altered by other experiences or by our current emotions or ideas. Because of its emotional importance we appear to “remember” it vividly. 15.One is not one’s thoughts. This introduces the concept of mindfulness. Each of us is more than just a body and more than the thoughts that go through our minds. 16.The good life is a process, not a state of being. In order to enjoy life, we need to be fully open to experience, live in the present moment, trust ourselves, take responsibility for our choices and treat ourselves and others with unconditional positive regard. Carl Rogers said “The process of the good life … means launching oneself fully into the stream of life.” 17. The Freudian slip – also called parapraxis when you say something in error, but that error actually is your unconscious speaking without limits for you. I found a very good example on Wikipedia.
“She: ‘What would you like—bread and butter, or cake?’ He: ‘Bed and butter.’In the above, the man may be presumed to have a sexual feeling or intention that he wished to leave unexpressed, not a sexual feeling or intention that was dynamically repressed. His sexual intention was therefore secret, rather than unconscious, and any ‘parapraxis’ would inhere in the idea that he unconsciously wished to express that intention, rather than in the sexual connotation of the substitution. Freudians might point out, however, that this is simply a description of what Freud and Breuer termed the preconscious which Freud defined as thoughts that are not presently conscious but can become conscious without meeting any resistance. In Freud’s theory he allows parapraxes to be generated in the preconscious and so he would allow for thoughts that are currently tried to be put outside of consciousness to have effects on conscious actions.”
This Freudian slip is helpful and extremely insightful as sometimes you can catch yourself on it and if you sleep on it, it will show you what you actually wanted to say. It usually happens in speech. That’s like another one of self discovery and of taking in lesson number 10. Man’s main task is to give birth to himself.
You choose your truths, they don’t choose you.