Are we really in ‘The Matrix’?
Being rational beings, it is our nature to make interpretations out of many thingssurrounding us, from the events that are happening, to the situations we’re into, and the emotions we feel. Sometimes, such interpretations are correct. Many times though, they’re wrong.
The way we interpret things around us may help us see the truth behind every event or situation we experience. Or, it could also distort the reality and make us believe negative things that have never existed at all!
There are many ways by which we distort reality. Here are some of them:
Some people see things in extreme. This means a small, unnoticeable error in the project they are working on means it’s a complete trash; if someone doesn’t love them, it means that person already hates them; if they didn’t get it right the first time, they can never ever get it right no matter how they try. In short, they are the ‘all or nothing’ people. They often miss the reality that often, some things aren’t always one way or the other way around. They ignore that fact that there’s always ‘shades of grey’.
There are people who are fond of generalising things. Unknowingly, they are actually distorting the reality because they tend to look only at one angle of their life and make a conclusion out of it. For instance, if they fail in a business, their tendency is to stop and never try again – thinking that ‘once a failure, always a failure’.
No one can ever predict what’s going to happen in the future as we can’t tell exactly what’s going to happen tomorrow or in the next few hours. Still, there are people who act as if they are fortune-tellers – predicting the future with strong conviction as if they were realities of the past. You’ll often hear them saying ‘I won’t ever make it’, ‘I will never find true love’, ‘I will be depressed for the rest of my life’, ‘I’ll never become rich’, etc.
Sometimes, our emotions can be deceiving because they often rule out our rational judgement. But basing on emotions alone is not enough to establish reality. For instance, a person who feels he is a failure doesn’t mean he is indeed a failure in reality. It is normal to experience emotional ups and downs. Assessing your emotions and their real cause is the key towards determining whether it speaks of reality or not.
Just because your friend ignored you the other day doesn’t mean she is mad at you or she doesn’t care about you anymore. Maybe, she just didn’t see that you were there, or she was thinking of something else that she didn’t notice your presence. Just because your spouse didn’t greet you a ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t love you anymore. It’s possible that they’re into a surprise dinner date, or so caught up with problems at work. Being judgemental towards other people’s behaviour can certainly ruin one’s personal and social relationships.
Taking the Blame
Some people tend to distort reality by being too paranoid, thinking that every negative accusation, remark or criticism is directed towards them. This way of thinking can greatly affect your wellbeing and stress you out because you tend to feel guilty and responsible for things you haven’t done!
Conventional views can ruin your judgement and distort the way you perceive reality. For instance, if you see a couple who don’t seem to mind each other – one is browsing on his mobile phone and the other is very absorbed in her reading, it’s easy to conclude that they not the ‘sweet type’ or they don’t care about each other. But that scene which only took few moments is not enough to interpret their relationship correctly. Above all, keeping in mind that your interpretation of things around you may be faulty or incomplete will prevent you from making hurtful and distressing judgments.
Positive Thinking to Restore Reality
All the ways mentioned above usually spring from negative thinking. They all can bring you pain, discomfort, and distress. When your mind is full of negative thoughts, you will never feel at peace.
To correct the habits that tend to distort your view of reality, you should learn how to think and respond positively. Opening your mind to possibilities without going away from the facts is healthy. But if you always make interpretations from a negative point of view, you are simply exposing yourself to things that will make you anxious, and later on, depressed.
If you need some help to change your own thoughts, contact me, I’ll be happy to help you.