This is the third, final part of a series of texts “How are thoughts, mind, emotions, and body connected”?
Do we live in a reality we have invented ourselves?
Unconsciously repeating nonconstructive beliefs, we reaffirm untrue stories (we owe this to our brains, which will ask for confirmation because they do not want to present us as “liars” in their own eyes). Consequently, these stories result in reactions and decisions that become like self-fulfilling prophecies. How then can we expect change to be easy if we live for years in a reality for which there is a possibility that we invented it ourselves?
The challenge, further, is that we (our minds) truly believe in these stories, and we will not easily decide to re-examine them. The cause is partly in that emotional imprint (a certain experience – the experience of that experience reshapes the conclusion that our belief is true). However, even when our analytical brain begins to develop, rarely does anyone teach us to deal with our own beliefs and emotions and to re-examine them from time to time.
So we can conclude that we spend a good part of our time practically living in the past. The beliefs we carry now are based on experiences (more precisely, perceptions of experiences) that happened in the past (with the possibility that these beliefs are untrue, or at least distorted). At the same time, those experiences exist exclusively in our memory, and we also know how much memory is able to deceive us. Apart from distorted or imaginary details, we will remember certain events on the basis of an emotional reaction rather than on the basis of what really happened – and the more intense the emotional reaction, the stronger the beliefs (conclusions) that arise from it.
When and how can we really begin to change false beliefs?
We cannot influence the experiences that “warmed up” our untrue beliefs, and the future is, as a rule, uncertain. Only when we can decide to change nonconstructive beliefs is the present moment. This requires a continuous state of awareness, regular management and requires us to consciously analyze our thoughts. But that doesn’t mean we can’t break everything down into easier digestible steps:
- When we detect a thought or belief that we would like to change (or feel it no longer benefits us) – for example, “I’m not good enough” – we will pay attention to it right now!
- We will ask ourselves whether this “I’m not good enough” stems from a feeling of guilt, that is, from an unpleasant state, a state of suffering (or whether it causes us such a mood).
- If we know that this unpleasant situation can distort our real perception, we also take into account the possibility that the belief is untrue.
- We will ask ourselves a better question: if that thought or belief keeps us in a state of suffering (or causes it), is there a possibility that true belief is the opposite of the current one?
(Should it be noted that all the above cannot be viewed in black and white even outside the context of an individual’s real circumstances (character, mental/emotional structure, and specific life situation), and exclude conditions that require more complex psychological treatment?).
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