Have you ever become suspicious of your version of things? Do you ever wonder if your thoughts are themselves leading you in the wrong direction in your life? This can be hard to answer as, if really pressed on the point, we all think that “what we think” is right.
While talking with others we may preface a statement with “I may be wrong but…” and then we go on to give our opinion or assessment of whatever that particular situation is. I think a more honest version of that is “I may be wrong but I don’t think so,” because nobody really thinks that what they think is wrong!
What can we do then, when we believe we are right but things aren’t quite turning out the way we expected? You may find that being right has become more important to you than having things work in your world. What if you were “right” but there was no-one out there to notice you were right? What then, would the payoff be for being right?
Just suppose, for a minute, that many things in your life that you believed were not really so. For example, perhaps the friend who didn’t say hello to you when you saw him or her at the mall didn’t really see you, after all! The snub may not have been a snub! Maybe you started to formulate an idea about why they didn’t like you, or maybe you began to think of others who didn’t like you and concluded that you just weren’t likeable. From there, I’m guessing you might feel bad. Imagine, then, that you couldn’t shake that thought that no-one really liked you.
If that were the case, do you think you might start acting differently? Maybe you’d be less likely to engage with others because you were trying to avoid another person snubbing you. Really, what you are trying to avoid is feeling bad about yourself again. Best not to make contact with others at all, you may suppose. You may walk with your eyes downcast, averting the gaze of others or even start turning down invitations. What could easily happen next is that others think you are unfriendly and, indeed, the very thing you feared is now coming true—more people are rejecting you than ever. This serves as confirmation of what your first feared—no-one likes you.
Can you see that you’ve then started a self-perpetuating drama with a particular story line in which you are the victim? And all of it may have been based on a misperception or mis-understanding of a given situation. What if not just this one but many ideas about yourself or the world started in this way. I find myself reminded of the Buddist’s idea of having a “beginner’s mind” or of the Bible’s advice that we see the world through the eyes of a child. If we could recreate how we see things such that we see more of what’s “there” than what we think is there, our lives could actually be different.