When we talk about reality, we refer to what we can objectively perceive through our senses. Let’s talk about what really exists and not about our subjective interpretation of the facts. The difference between the two can determine how we feel and it is very important to take that into account.
This means that when we are faced with a certain situation, what really happens and how we perceive or experience it are not the same thing. This is a characteristic that we must not forget if we want to maintain a certain balance in the face of the different realities we have to face.
The relationship between thoughts and emotions
There is a decisive relationship between thoughts and emotions, since based on how we think or what we are thinking, we will feel differently. This means that the way we interpret and process what is happening around us has a great impact on the physiological changes and bodily reactions that occur within us. We define these reactions with the term “emotions” and these, in turn, can be interpreted or evaluated as pleasant, unpleasant or neutral.
Often we do not know how to distinguish an emotion from a thought well and, even if there is a strong relationship between them, they are different elements that we must know how to distinguish if we want to learn to have a better and greater control over our state of mind. The difference goes far beyond their definition, as it affects how we recognize and manage them.
In psychology, there are many cognitive nuances or very common thinking errors, but we never realize that we also have to deal with the negative consequences they have. A mistake in thinking can be thought of as a cross-sectional interpretation of what is really going on. Let’s see an example: I see my construction of reality, more or less distant from what is really happening, according to my beliefs and not according to what my senses perceive.
The snow is not red
When in therapy, many people say: “I know and understand what he is saying to me, yet I perceive it in a different way and, for me, that is reality”. This is a very common thought mistake: confusing feelings with reality. This topic, however surrealist or childish it may seem, can become the basis of long strands of disconnected thoughts and dysfunctional behaviors.
What is certain is that reality is what it is, nothing more and nothing less. Despite this, a little effort is enough to create the subjective reality that suits us best (both for good and for bad), even if, in the end, it can cost us very dearly. Very often, when someone says “if I believe it is so, then it is”, you can take the example of red snow or any other example that has to do with colors, because you cannot have opinions on colors, they are quite an objective theme!
It can be countered by saying that what they are claiming is like saying: “I realized that the snow is red and not white, because this is how I perceive it, I perceive it red and since I perceive it like this, for me it is red”. It is obvious that everyone would think we were crazy if we said such a thing. So as much as we can “feel” or perceive that snow is red, the fact is that in nature it is not, because it is white.
This can be clearly seen in cases of anorexia nervosa: patients think they have a body weight greater than their real weight, even if, compared to the rest of the population, their height and build tell us that this is not the case. Despite this, they remain convinced of their ideas and continue to act in accordance with them.
Enjoy the reality
Being alive means going through good times and other less positive ones. You should always be aware of what is happening in your life and “force yourself” to look at the world by cleaning and cleaning the lenses of your glasses. Otherwise, we get used to looking out of a misted glass and stop perceiving the difference between what is and what we think it is.
For this reason, it is important to identify those errors of thought that, from time to time, appear in our mind. Today we talked about confusing emotions and reality, but there are many other errors: personifying a situation, playing at being a fortune teller, generalizing a concrete fact too much, etc.
Once identified, a conscious effort must be made to stop applying a filter to reality, which makes us see it distorted. A filter through which we begin to scan much of the information that comes to us, which acts silently and which, after numerous uses, we adopt as part of us.
An example could be the following: “It is true that, as a result of the experiences and beliefs that I have accumulated, I now feel that I will fall into depression if he / she rejects me or if he leaves me. Despite this, I understand that if I harbor this feeling, it doesn’t mean that reality has to be this way. In fact, what he / she does will greatly affect what happens to me afterwards ”.
Little by little and with practice , we will notice that we become more realistic people and adapt to the world as water adapts to the shape of the container that contains it. The result will be a quieter, more complete and happier life, where we can truly trust reality, instead of a life full of pathological emotions that, in the end, only block us.