Mistaking feelings for truth

Distorted picture of a building, with undistorted flag

Another form of distorted thinking (or “mis-blink“) people can easily fall into during times of change is when we mistake our feelings for truth. This happens when we imagine that just because we feel something very strongly it must be true — irrespective of the evidence.

This has been a major factor in our politics lately.

Mistaking feelings for facts is a circular train of thought that amplifies the effects of the other seven mis-blinks. It says, “Because I am feeling this so strongly it must be true. And so I feel even more strongly. Which means it must be even more true!!!”

Mistaking feelings for truth can lead us into under-preparation or over-confidence: “Because I am feeling so bad (or good) that means I am bound to fail (or succeed), which means there’s nothing I can do or need to do.”

We human beings are emotional creatures: emotions are what make us more than just machines. Without them there would be no joy, no love, no sports, no art, no movies, no comedy, music, friends, lovers, partners.

Emotions are what make our lives worth living. So the problem here is not the feelings in themselves but the way that we interpret them.

When we realise that our feelings are not truth then we can learn to transform our emotions and turn them into useful servants instead of unhelpful tyrants. We can remember to make clear sense of the situation, find more options for moving forward, and remember that, no matter what happens, we can choose how we respond.

Do you know someone who ignores the facts and believes their feelings are the truth? What kinds of results does that create? Would it be useful to have a structured approach for making clear sense of the situation and finding more options to move forward?

Adapted from Inner Leadership: tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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Photo By Carlos ZGZ via StockPholio.net

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