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Imagine, if you will, that your brain didn’t create personal truths. You had no opinions about life, and you agreed across the board with every single thing, and so did everyone else. B-O-R-I-N-G!
You have your truths
If we didn’t create our own “truths”, we’d be completely devoid of personality! I suppose if that was what we were used to, that would be fine, but we are dynamic, creative creatures, and the unique perspectives we bring to this world paint a beautiful and varied canvas.
But we can also get lost in our perspectives, and consider them hard truths. When this happens, we’re no longer open to accepting the truths of others, and that beautiful canvas can start to look much less harmonious.
Getting stuck in our own truths can also create a very fixed and negative narrative about our lives. (For more on this, check out Carol S. Dweck’s fantastic book “Mindset – The New Psychology of Success”.)
The facts about facts
There’s no getting around one simple fact: most of our truths are not facts. What our brain creates as thought, that we consider to be “true”, is an interpretation of something factual.
For instance, it is a fact that there are animals on this planet that we call dogs. But what is your truth about dogs? Perhaps it’s that they are man’s best friend, or that they are stinky annoyances, or that they are food, or that they are killing machines out to get you.
At some point in your life your truths, or beliefs, were shaped about dogs. Fido had nothing to do with it, the fact is that dogs just are. Even a dog biting you is just a fact, but that can trigger a truth to be formed in your brain that dogs are scary and will hurt you.
Shaping your truths
When it comes to brain health and dementia, most of us have negative truths about it. But let’s separate out the facts:
- brains can become unhealthy
- brains can develop neurological diseases
- neurological disease can lead to death
Now, let’s look at some truths people can think about dementia and brain health:
- Dementia is hard
- I’m probably going to get a neurological disease
- I’m screwed
- There’s nothing I can do about this
- I’m losing my loved one
Once a brain creates a truth, or belief, it’s hard to separate it out from fact, but learning this skill can create an entirely new perspective and a profound mindset shift.
To separate out the facts, look at it this way: would pretty much every person on the planet agree with what I am stating as truth?
If you’re not sure, or a statement like “well they should” pops up in your head, it’s not a fact. It’s a truth your brain has created. And truth be told, we don’t think in facts, we think in truths, so the majority of your thoughts will fall in the “truths” category.
What if you challenged the “truth” that dementia is hard? What if you asked your brain to start seeking out evidence that dementia isn’t hard, or isn’t always hard? What if you decided your new truth is that your loved one is exiting this life through this process, and there’s nothing wrong with that?
If this feels irresponsible to you, or like dementia is being condoned, I’d argue to the contrary. I’d suggest that choosing a different truth that creates some calm and peace will allow you to approach the situation not in fear, but in an intentional way that will be far more productive for you, and accepting of your loved one.
Making this shift requires separating out the facts, and then really examining the truths, or thoughts, you have about those facts. In my next article, we’ll take a deeper dive into thoughts.
Work with me
Do you want to do the work of separating out your truths from actual fact, and discover if your truths are creating the life you really want?