Dr. Larry Cohen (856) 352-5428
Follow Your True Path
Do you see your reality as it truly is? Or do you see reality as it is not, believing what you see and understand to be true when it may not be. How we see and understand the world, those around us, and ourselves, can be skewed, and may not be reality as it is. Your reality is just that – not true reality, but reality as uniquely seen and understood through our own eyes. We all see the world through our own pair of ‘rose colored glasses’. How we see and believe reality to be is often skewed because the things that we believe – that we know to be true – may never have been based on facts. We tend to mind read – believing that we know for certain how things are – when the facts don’t support our beliefs. We fill in the blanks. We make assumptions about how people feel and think about us, and our assumptions become confused with fact.
Sometimes, we believe things about ourselves and our relationships without truly possessing enough evidence to support the belief. Each day I work with ‘mind readers’, people who assume they know why specific life events occurred, or how another person thinks about or feels about them, or what someone’s motives are, when the facts don’t support their conclusions. Take a moment to consider what it’s like to live a life based on false reality. How do you know which life direction to follow if you don’t see reality as it truly is?
Many times, ‘mind reading’ leads to negative thoughts and negative emotions. What you believe to be true may not be. Is there enough evidence to support your belief or is your belief unsupported and based on ‘mind reading’ and assumption; you fill in the blanks where evidence is lacking, and live your life based on a false reality. Mind reading is simple to understand – ask yourself, do you really know how another person thinks and feels?
Last week one of my clients was fired from his job. His boss did not give him a reason why and he didn’t ask. He began ‘mind reading’, blaming himself, convinced that he must have done something wrong. Soon, negative beliefs (self-hatred, shame, failure) lead to deep feelings of depression and hopelessness. He started to believe that he was a failure, unable to hold a job, and unable to care for himself. I asked him, “Where is the evidence that you are basing these beliefs on? There is none.” In this case, ‘mind reading’ lead to real harm and despair, leading him to believe and feel the way he did.
Let’s go back to the beginning of this example. “Last week one of my clients was fired from his job. His boss did not give him a reason why and he didn’t ask.” Let’s take a different path. Instead of ‘mind reading’, think carefully about what has occurred, and instead of ‘mind reading’, consider some plausible, alternative realities. “I don’t know why I was fired. Maybe I wasn’t doing a good job. But, I just don’t have the evidence I need to believe this to be true. There are many explanations as to why I was fired. Maybe I was fired because 1) my employer could no longer afford to keep me on and is planning to hire someone with less experience at a reduced salary; 2) there was nothing wrong with my work – in fact, it was better than most. I always volunteered to take on extra responsibilities as well. Perhaps I was fired because my supervisor was threatened by my ambition and talent, and wanted to get rid of me; 3) a co-worker - for whatever reason – who did not get along with me or like me, might have told the boss (who she is friendly with) that I was not right for the job, that I was a trouble-maker, and that I should be fired.
‘Mind reading’ convinced my client that he was fired because of personal inadequacy, that getting fired was his fault. But any of the alternatives above may have been the real reason. Don’t assume that when something goes wrong it must be your own fault.
Challenge yourself to see reality as it is, and not what you assume it to be. Think through and analyze situations in which ‘mind reading’ has lead you to believe things which may not be true. Look at the evidence and see reality for what it is, not what you think it is. Evidence rarely lies, while ‘mind reading’ often does. Seeing the world, others, and yourself with clarity and truth will allow you to make positive life changes. You must know who you are, your true self, to grow and create positive change. ‘Mind reading’ leads you astray. It makes you believe things that aren’t true. It can lead you into darkness, and in the dark, most of us end up lost.