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 called “mistaking feelings for truth.” This is when we imagine that just because we are feeling something very strongly it must be true — irrespective of the evidence.

This has been a major factor in our changing 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 these feelings so strongly, they must be true. So I feel even more angry / sad / disappointed / enraged. Which means my feelings must be even more true!!!”

This can lead us into over-confidence and under-preparation: “Because I am feeling so good (or bad), that means I am bound to succeed (or fail), which means I don’t need to prepare or pay attention to reality.”

We human beings are emotional creatures: emotions are what make our lives worth living. Without them there would be no joy, no love, no sports, no art, no movies, comedy, music, friends, lovers, partners.

Emotions are what make us more than just machines… so the problem here is not the feelings in themselves but the way that we interpret them and the actions we then take.

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. Then we can make clearer sense of the situation, find more options to move forward, and remember that, no matter what happens, we can always choose how we respond.

Do you know anyone 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 to make clear sense of the situation and find 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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