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As we examine ways we come to know ourselves, we need to keep in mind two aspects of messages: validity and interpretation.

Validity: whether the message is true or false.
Interpretation: whether we believe or interpret the message as true or false.
These two dimensions provide four possibilities for all messages:

  1. A true message can be interpreted as true. (We believe what is true.)
  2. A true message can be interpreted as false. (We believe what is false.)
  3. A false message can be interpreted as true. (We believe what is false.)
  4. A false message can be interpreted as false. (We believe what is true.)

The children’s tale The Ugly Duckling is an example of these possibilities.
The “duckling” that hatched in the nest was not a duckling at all, but rather a misplaced baby swan. The message this “duckling” heard and believed from other ducks was that it was ugly. Later discovering that he looked and swam like a swan, the “duckling” rejected the “ugly” message. The swan had gone from interpreting a false message as true to realizing that the false message was false. By doing so, the swan came to know the truth about itself.

If we can interpret true messages as true and false message as false, we will come to know the truth about ourselves and not be governed by false beliefs.

Can you recall times in your life when you have:

  • Interpreted a true message as true?
  • Interpreted a true message as false?
  • Interpreted a false message as true?
  • Interpreted a false message as false?

Many young people are trapped in false beliefs about themselves. If you are working with youth, please do what you can to help them know the truth about themselves.

From our Top 20 team and seekers of truth: Willow, Tom, and Kevin.

Paul Bernabei
Top 20 Training
paul@top20training.com