Contemporary human beings have a tendency to distort information when translating an experience. We amplify, personalize, or make assumptions about the things we encounter. We then emotionally respond to our translation of the experience rather than the actual experience which often creates unnecessary unhappiness, anxiety, and stress.
Amplifying is making something larger-than-life. Unfortunately, our anxiety gets amplified as well. Plus, it often creates a ripple effect on those around us which further amplifies the situation.
Personalizing is taking information that has nothing to do with
us and making it about us. This tends to cause hurt feelings, fear, and anger about something that was never intended for us.
Perhaps the most blatant distortion is our tendency to make assumptions. We give our mind total license to write it's own script and turn an experience into drama to get fired up about. By the time our assumptive screen writer gets done with it, it no longer resembles what really happened. Sometimes we even lose track of what happened and what we assumed.
The obvious solution when we find ourselves upset or distorting experiences is to return to just the facts of the experience. It is asking, "What do I know for sure?" This allows us to accurately accept and feel the reality of the situation and get closure.
So next time you are freaking out, break it down to just the facts. Life is plenty dramatic, emotional and overwhelming all by itself- no need to add to it.
About the Author
I, Michael Hoffman, am a licensed psychotherapist, teacher, and author with 25 years experience in counseling and teaching experiential workshops. I have maintained this blog since 2009, and my second book Natural Way of Being will published in 2019.
I offer in-person and video-conferencing counseling, intensive workshops, and online courses to allow participants to directly experience their natural way of being and the life they would have for themselves.