Two people are in the middle of the exact same, seemingly boring and rote situation. Their phones have started buzzing because they got a message from someone. Both of them get up to look at their devices to see what the text says. They both look briefly, put the phone down, and resume what they were working on. Sounds harmless, right? When you learn what was going on inside of one of those people’s heads, you may think differently.
Person 1 (let’s call her Mary) heard her phone ring and automatically tensed up inside. “I wonder if it’s my ex”, she thought. “I probably shouldn’t even bother looking”. Then she begins to wonder, though, whether it really isn’t her ex. And if it isn’t her ex, she worries that it is a friend in need of her help. She knows she shouldn’t even bother looking right now because she is in the middle of work and no matter who it is she will get distracted and feel unable to focus the rest of the day. She ultimately decides to look anyway. It is her friend who had a bad first date last night and wants support. She decides it is better to put the phone down and try to resume her work because if she gets caught up in this conversation she won’t meet her deadline for her boss. Five minutes later she is back on her phone instead of diligently finishing her work.
Does this sound familiar to you? On the outside it may appear that everything is fine, but internally you may be struggling. Your thoughts and the way you look at the world may be getting in the way of you functioning in the way you want to. Mary’s view of the world might be that her only value to people is in what she can offer them. In the example above, if she doesn’t offer support in the moment they ask for it, she worries that they won’t want to be friends anymore. Mary’s view of the world might be that the world is ultimately a bad place and bad things always happen. In the example above, if she doesn’t check her phone she will miss news that something bad has happened and will very much regret not looking. Mary’s view could also be something completely different.
What our perception of life is can greatly impact our day to day functioning. It can be important to figure out what our view is, especially because often times we assume something is the case based on our world view when in fact we have no evidence that it is true. Mary has no evidence that something bad has happened. Mary also has no evidence that her friend will ultimately leave her if she doesn’t answer right away. If Mary can learn to understand what her worldview is and then notice how it is manifesting day to day, she can then learn to challenge her perceptions when appropriate. She can also learn to manage any negative side effects.
Need help figuring out what your view of the world is? Need help learning to challenge your perceptions? Or just generally unhappy with the course of your life and unsure why? Email firstname.lastname@example.org .
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