Loads of your problems come from the stories you make up about what’s going on
Thoughts are your way of interpreting what’s happening in the world. They’re a best guess – and not always terribly accurate.
To illustrate this, imagine a wasp lands on you. You hate wasps, you tense up, get anxious, swat it, heart rate goes up. Irritated. What’s the reality here?
A tiny insect brushed your arm. The barest of fleeting sensations. The drama was created by the story in your head: Wasp! Fuck. It’s going to sting me! They always sting me. WASP! It’s gonna hurt! Fucking hate wasps the absolute wankers.
The story in your head determines whether you’re going to react calmly or run naked through your house snapping a tea-towel in the air. The meaning you give things – how you interpret what’s happening – makes a huge difference.
Real doesn’t always mean true
The thoughts in your head are real, as in they exist. But your reasoning, opinions or habitual way of thinking might be flawed and create innacurate thoughts. For example:
There’s a weird vibe at work. You automatically assume:
- You’ve fucked something up because you’re crap at your job
- They heard what happened with Joanne at the Christmas party
- They’ve discovered you’re stalking them on social media
- That lie you told three years ago has made it into the local press
When any number of things could may have happened…
- Someone’s distracted with their own tricky personal dilemma
- There’s stuff going on you don’t yet know about – but it’s not about you
- Someone else may have buggered something up
- There is nothing weird going on at all
You are a meaning-creating creature. It’s in your human DNA. You tend to stick yourself in the middle of your own drama.
Making stories up helps you predict and prepare for what might happen. It’s a skill that keeps you safe from internet scams and being hit by cars. It’s the bit of you that thinks up excuses for all the the things you didn’t get right and expect to be punished for.
Being hyper-vigilant like this can lead to endless, exhausting worry. You don’t have to react to every random thought that pops up into your head. Meditation shows the sheer tonnage of nonsense you think within the space of five minutes.
Not all your thoughts are worth responding to!