Day 3: Separate Fact from Fiction
We tell ourselves a lot of stories. Stories about what other people are thinking. Stories about their intentions towards us when they did certain things. Stories about their feelings.
We think that the things we think about a situation, a circumstance or a person are the facts of the situation. But most of the time, they are simply the stories we are telling ourselves about the facts. Not the facts themselves.
You see, you simply do not actually know the thoughts, feelings and intentions of another person. Even if they tell you, you have no idea if what they are saying is true. Only you actually know your own thoughts.
And beyond another person’s thoughts, even things that happen are quite open to interpretation. If you have ever tried to get multiple people to tell you about something like a car crash, you quickly realize that each person perceives a chain of events differently.
Many things that we think are facts, others would view differently. One person may think that one of the cars was going fast. Another may think that they were driving at a safe speed. Another that they were going to slow.
Facts, or circumstances as we will begin to call them, are neutral truths that EVERYONE would agree on. If you gathered a courtroom of people from around the world, every single one of them would agree on the fact. For example, instead of saying that the car was going too fast, too slow or just right, let’s say the car was clocked by radar going 30 mph. Take all the drama out and look at the actual knowable facts in a neutral sense.
Why is this important? Because one of the first steps to transforming your thoughts is to be able to realize they are just that. YOUR THOUGHTS. They are not irrefutable facts. You get to choose if you want to keep thinking them. They are not “Just the way things are.”
Here is why that is great news. You think them. You get to change them. You get to tell yourself whatever story about the facts that actually serves you.
Is your brain freaking out right now? What is it telling you?
Can you think about a hypothetical situation where this makes sense? What example would you give to prove this is true?
Spend 5-10 minutes downloading your thoughts in general or about a specific circumstance in your life.
Now go back and separate out the facts from the thoughts. This is simply to begin to be aware of your thoughts and to help you see and understand them more clearly. Create one section for each.
Write down all the facts in one column. Make them as neutral and without loaded or judgemental words as you can. Actual words that were said. Actual actions. Actual facts that everyone would agree on. Add any facts surrounding the circumstances that come up.
In the next column, re-write everything else, all the thoughts that you were telling yourself about those facts.
Again, no judgement here. Just curiosity.