Danger! Obscure thoughts in sight
How do we explain the things that happen to us in everyday life? Well, that depends on a multiplicity of factors, the recipe has a few ingredients.
First of all we have our genetic endowment, which functions as a floor and a roof for all our possibilities. Genes are an inheritance that can not be modified, but there is something about which we do have power: our thoughts and, by extension, the way we think about what happens to us.
Genes: the fixed part of us
Genes, of course, condition us, are at the base of all our virtues, but also our defects . For practical purposes, they work as a set of guidelines or instructions that predispose us to develop one way or another.
But of course, there does not end the thing. Genes are permanently influenced and molded by the environment. Within it, we have the culture in which we are immersed, the type and quality of parenting we have received, as well as the personality characteristics and the relational style of our own parents.
The school we attend, our classmates and childhood friends, each of the different experiences, both good and bad, that we had to live as we grew up, interact with our genes and contribute their bit to help us let's become who we finally are.
How we feel, how we behave and relate to the world, depends on the cocktail end of all these different elements that are mixed together.
Those that can not be changed
Of course, there is not much we can do about these factors . The biological parents that touched us in luck are unmodifiable, this means that we can not change them for others, nor can we do anything to improve them, if that is our desire.
The same applies to the genes that touched us in the lottery of life and to each fact that we live during our childhood and adolescence; the time machine that allows us to travel to the past to make the changes that are convenient for us has not been invented and it seems that it will not be invented either.
But there are other variables on which we have greater interference, for example, our thinking, in the here and now, in the present moment, and I assure you who is reading these lines at this moment, that thoughts play a crucial role in the way we see and interpret the world .
Confuse thoughts with reality
Most of the time we make the mistake of believing that our thoughts are reality itself, and it is easy to fall into such a mistake for a couple of reasons.
First, the thoughts constitute an invisible process . They can not be seen, they can not be touched and many times we are not even aware that we are thinking. But we do it; in fact, we think all the time, and although we do not realize it, everything that goes through our brain has a direct influence on how we feel, and consequently, how we act.
We must also bear in mind that our thoughts occur precisely within our brain, they are ours, they are our own, they are trapped inside our head, therefore, we can not compare them with the thoughts of others. Being isolated, it is easy to end up becoming for us our absolute truth .
The invisible thought process
Everything we think rises in our reality without us noticing; we end up homologizing what happens inside our mind with what happens outside .
But one thing is what we think happens, and quite another is what really happens. And the irony of this whole thing is that what we think happens is the only thing that really matters when we have to make a decision. From this idea, let's imagine a couple of situations.
The case of the plane
We are flying in a commercial airplane at 10,000 meters high when, suddenly, the ship enters a zone of turbulence. As we do not have much experience traveling, the first thing we think is: "My God, the plane is going to fall and we will all die. Oh no ... I'm going to die, I'm going to die ...! "
Under that thought (and I insist, it's just a thought, that does not necessarily have to adjust to reality) it is highly probable that fear takes hold of us . We will experience tachycardia, tremor throughout the body, possibly an uncontrollable anguish and the feeling that we are going to faint from one moment to the next. In summary, the experience will be extremely unpleasant.
On the other hand, if in the same context we think: "Well, we enter turbulence. I hope it happens soon and that's how they serve dinner "; I think it is not necessary to explain that both our emotions and the consequent physiological response will be very different.
The following graphic is intended to show the sequence of steps you may experience in both cases:
|Objective fact: Turbulence zone||Interpretation Thought: "The plane is going to fall"||Emotion Sensation: Fear Panic||Behavior Answer: Nervous crisis|
|Objective fact: Turbulence zone||Interpretation Thought: "This is normal"||Emotion Sensation: Indifference Resignation||Behavior Answer: Read a magazine|
The case of the appointment
Another case: A woman is left to meet in a cafeteria with a man she has just met on a social network. The boy in question seems handsome, and the times they exchanged messages he was cordial and intelligent, just as he likes her. A good match, without a doubt.
However, 20 minutes after she occupies a table, at the agreed time, there is no news or traces of him. Then he thinks: "I should have imagined him, he did not like me, and clearly he did not dare when I invited him to see us."
Another option could be: "What a guy, after all it turned out to be disrespectful. But who do you think is to make me wait like this ...? "
In the first case, the woman will feel, without doubt, depressed, hopeless, or both. He may even cry for several days, and his thoughts will continue for a long time in the same direction: "I'm horrible, I'm not worth anything as a person, nobody will ever love me." In the second case, you will feel upset, angry, and probably have outbursts when talking to other people.
But the certain thing is, that the woman of the appointment, before the delay of its potential prince blue, also could think: "It is a fact: it is going to arrive behind schedule. Maybe it would have been better to quote him in a cafeteria closer to his house, to get here he has to cross half of the city. " This is what lawyers call "presumption of innocence." In other words, it is desirable that we always try to direct our thoughts under the premise that nobody is guilty , until proven otherwise.
The case of the wallet
An old man forgets his wallet on the counter of a pharmacy where he went to buy a medication for hypertension. The next day he lost his glasses and to make matters worse, his wife tells him in passing, that lately he sees him very distracted. The man then remembers that his mother was suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
"I have Alzheimer's. I inherited it ... ", he thinks. "These are the first symptoms, that's how she started," she recalls.
That night he can not sleep. He does not stop thinking over and over again about the fateful and inexorable destiny that he believes awaits him. Obsessed with the idea, he begins to interpret every little forgetfulness he has in his daily life as a symptom of the disease. Concerned, absorbed in his own dark speculations, he fails to pay attention to what other people are telling him, which in turn leads some to tell him that they see him lost in thought, disconnected from the world. And that's when the protagonist of this hypothetical case goes into crisis and desperately calls his doctor to ask for an urgent interview.
Of course, if the old man had thought: "Lately I am very stressed and that makes me not pay due attention to the things I do, I'd better find a way to relax a bit", surely another would be the epilogue.
A final example
Another illustrative example: the new office partner who joined the company last week, walks by his side in one of the corridors of the premises during any given morning and fails to greet him. You have two options:
- You may think he is rude.
- You may think that maybe you did not see it, or that you were absorbed in your own worries.
The transforming power of thought
There is a common denominator between all situations: you are thinking . And what you are thinking may or may not coincide with reality.
If we think that our partner is rude, then we probably feel ignored and annoyed, and henceforth, badly predisposed towards him, which in turn will make this partner begin to be unfriendly. I insist one more time: a characteristic error of human beings is to confuse their own thoughts with reality .
What we are thinking is just that, a thought. But reality is something that happens beyond our brain. And this is of vital importance, because what we think can determine how we feel and what we will do as a result.