In Hamlet’s second act one of the most highly verbally intelligent people of all time wrote: “For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
The capability to think, plan, remember, translate knowledge and stories and having vivid imaginations is what separates us as a species. We have the capacity to imagine what is not yet real, to conjure up spaces, worlds and situations that might have nothing to do with reality around us. This is a gift that allows you to have vision and a curse because the nature of our brain and bodies is that they treat the imaginary scenario by biochemically reacting as if it were real. It is a tacit unwritten rule to consider our thoughts to be equal to reality. That guy not listening to you might in fact not be a rude jerk but he might have a lot on his mind, the bank teller may not be distracted because you’re not interesting or she’s bad at her job, she might gave just gotten bad news… it takes a lot of self-awareness and introspection to not just hear but intuitively understand that just because you have a thought it doesn’t necessarily mean it is true. We think about 70 000 thoughts each day. Chances that all of them are true are astronomically improbable. You would need to be pretty damn arrogant to believe all of them, but you are excused (to a point) by the fact that 90% of time you’re living in a perpetual state of habit, just running on a subconscious operating program set in place by reacting to the outside events and the majority of thought will be the same as yesterday.
Same thought leads to the same choice which produces the same behavior and same experiences that reconfirm the thought you started with as the truth, producing the same exact emotion. Be aware of this. Wake up to your own internal processes and shortcomings, recognize your own states – this is called metacognition. It is a hard pill to swallow. It is a hard thing to see in oneself but it gets easier with practice. You first need to get to know yourself in order to be able to change what you see, you need to see the real to be able to manipulate it. It is hard and uncomfortable to jolt yourself from the trajectory that was plotted in you by accident but we never learn as much about ourselves and others as when we’re uncomfortable. In an unknown territory the whole personality is ignited by trying to figure it out. We need to be able to unlearn and relearn, to be willing to prone our synapses, behaviors, emotions and responses, to deprogram and reprogram consciously.
A thought is just a thought, it may or may not be real. Thinking it a hundred or a thousand times and strengthening the neural pathway around it doesn’t make it any more or less true, it just makes you believe more or less. Belief is a word we use to pretend we know something we don’t or can’t know. “I believe” is a closed statement that doesn’t let you learn further because you’ve come to a “conclusion”. “I don’t know” is opened. It is clean from judgement and presumptions about people, things, events and the world. Not everything you think is true, most of it isn’t.