Jan. 2021: I Fear the Unknown Future
Starting September 2020, I will be writing a monthly series around different topic. The goal is to walk you through a weekly process to help alleviate concerns surrounding the topic of the month. January’s theme is fear of the unknown future, and today you will learn how to discern between beliefs and reality.
Part II was an explanation of your life curriculum. Now, we will take it to the next level: How do you manage given situations and circumstances (i.e. reality), especially when life seems overwhelming?
The first step to differentiate between beliefs and reality. Recognize your beliefs, recognize your reality, and separate the two. Seems like a basic exercise, but it’s not! Beliefs are subjective, opinionated, and biased. You get to choose whatever it is you want to believe. It is your right. And it is your choice.
Unlike beliefs, reality (or situations/circumstances) is objective. It is not opinionated, and it is unbiased. Reality is what constitutes your life curriculum, beliefs do not!
Here are a few examples of beliefs and corresponding reality:
Ex 1. Belief: “COVID-19 is terrible for humanity”
Ex 1. Reality: COVID-19 is a flu strain
Ex. 2 Belief: “The world is getting worse”
Ex. 2 Reality: We are humans living in the world
Ex 3. Belief: “It’s going to be tough to find a job in this market”
Ex 3. Reality: There are open jobs to be found in this market
If you can separate beliefs and reality, congratulations! You are ready for the next step, which involves assessing your beliefs.
Using each of the examples above, ask yourself, “How is this belief helping or hurting me?” In other words, what is the upside to believing “COVID-19 is terrible for humanity?” What is the forward movement in your life as a result of believing, “the world is getting worse.” And is it in your best interest to believe, “It’s going to be tough to find a job in this market?”
Only you can answer these questions for yourself. And answering the question, “is this belief helping or hurting me?” is an excellent self-awareness practice.
Step one is to separate beliefs and reality. Step two is to assess your beliefs: how are they helping or hurting your progress?
Helpful Hint #3: Act as referee over your own beliefs; decide which ones are helpful, decide which ones are hurtful.