Confirmation bias is a cognitive shortcut we all take, all of us humans, wherein we interpret the evidence and facts of our world to confirm our pre-existing hypotheses. In other words, we find evidence to confirm what we already believe.
In other words, if you believe the world is out to get you, or the world is damaged or bad, or evil wins, you will find evidence of that.
But—and this is very good news—if you believe the world is out to shower you with blessings, that the components of the universe are collaborating to help you out, you will find evidence to support your pronoia.
Write about this: Can you marshal evidence of pronoia at work in your own life? Now or ever?
What has that looked like in the past?
What does it look like now?
What are the things, people or experiences in your life right now that you know are collaborative components in your ultimate highest good, well-being or joy?
What would it look like to practice a bias toward pronoia?
Pro[noia] Tip: Today, can you just notice when something goes really, really right for you, and savor that in silence, even for 20 or 30 seconds
I live with a bias towards pronoia because I know that my God is good all the time. He has plans and purposes that far exceed my understanding or expectations. He knows how to orchestrate things that I can not fathom. Here is just a short story of what it has looked like in my life.
In October 2017, during another one of these challenges, I felt led to reach out to a family member that I had not spoken to in over twenty years. It was a step out of my comfort zone, but a step of obedience in what I can only call God’s prompting. I had a falling out with my grandmother after my father was placed on hospice, and had not spoken to her since the birth of my daughter the month following his death.
Shortly following reaching out to her, I was able to introduce my grandmother to her granddaughter. A short time later, I took my other daughter and her husband and children to visit with her. Then at Thanksgiving, I was able to introduce her to the newest great-great grandchild, my son and his wife. They were short visits, but seemed to mean the world to her. I also gave her pictures of all my siblings and their children that had been taken the year before. I was able to visit with her and my grandfather a few times, and had a few missed visits as they were sleeping when I came over.
In January, my grandmother started getting sick to the point of hospitalization. She had problems with her heart, that weren’t new, but were getting worse. When she first went to the hospital, although her memory wasn’t great, she talked for a few hours about various family members, stories from her childhood, and things about my parents. She was very upbeat and positive. Not at all the woman I remembered from our falling out. I just sat with her and let her talk. I felt like she was making peace with everything in her life during that time. She discharged to rehab to try to get stronger.
A few days into rehab, she caught the flu. At first it stressed me out. I had went to the rehab to see her, but she wasn’t there. Due to HIPPA, they wouldn’t give me any information. When I reached out to my grandpa, he told me she was back in the hospital. My youngest daughter and I visited her at the hospital. Granny was more tired, but still pretty talkative. They discharged her home while we were there and I wheeled her out to my grandpa’s car.
A few weeks later, I saw her at home and although she didn’t feel great she sat and talked for an hour. The following week when I went out she did not sound good at all. She was so weak that my grandpa had to physically move her around. She denied any needs, and the nurse had been out to visit her that day.
A week and a half later she was back in the hospital. My grandpa called me a day and a half after she had been admitted to tell me. I went and visited her, but she was sleeping. The following night, I sat with her for a few hours. She ate dinner, but didn’t talk a whole lot. When she was ready to sleep, I left her. The following day, she was very confused basically just saying, yes and no or crying out for my grandpa. I sat with her for a little while, but didn’t stay long when she didn’t want to wake up to eat. Saturday she slept most of the day although restlessly and then was transferred to the nursing home for hospice care. I visited her Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, but she never woke up. This morning I got the call that she had passed away, just a few hours after I left her. She went peacefully and was not alone when she took her last breath.
I knew I needed to write out my time with her, however brief. Not for the story, but for the memory. For myself.
Can I marshal evidence of pronoia? Absolutely. Had I not reconnected with my grandma in that moment, she would not have been able to meet her youngest great-great grandchild. She would not have seen my son or met his wife. For a moment she got to have my family with her, she got to love and be loved.
If I had not reconnected with my grandmother, I would have lived with the regret of not making peace with her before she passed away. God knew that I needed to make that move at that time, and He prompted me to do it. He knew how quickly she would decline and wanted me to have good memories of her and have a little quality time that I could cherish.
Had I stayed in her life, I might have been pushed away by her later as her memory faded and her moods became more unstable. I might have wanted to shield my children from her instead of bring them into her world. I might have been put-off by the apparent falseness of her stories instead of soaking them up as cherished treasures. I don’t know what parts of what she talked about where true or false, but they were real to her, so I’m okay with that.
There have been a few moments since Friday that I have started to go down the path of “why didn’t you take that step sooner?” I can think that God is out to get me, this is not fair, we just reconnected. But I have stopped myself because I can not go back and change the when. I can only rest assured that God knew that it was time and He made a way for it happen.
He knew that despite the time apart, she was someone I loved very much. He didn’t want me to live with any regrets. He loves me and wanted to overwhelm me with the blessings that only He could time. He gave me time. He gave me closure. He gave me answers to questions I didn’t know to ask. He orchestrated everything with His time, His favor, and His love for both of us.
This post is prompted by
Tara-Nicholle Nelson’s 30 Day Writing Challenge for Conscious Leaders.