This post by Seth Godin got me pondering the difference between what we think is true, and what is true.
I have always disliked the statement that “perception is reality”, but I am forced to agree that what we each perceive as the truth is reality for us. If I think my bride does not love me, I react to that, even if she does love me. If I think she is cheating on, me, neglecting me, or does not respect me, then those things will be my reality – even if those things are false. Similarly, if she thinks I don’t spend enough time with her, my arguments won’t have any impact. If she believes that I am thinking about leaving her or about having an affair, then those things are real to her, and she will react based on her fear of those things – even if her fears have no basis in fact.
How do you avoid this problem? Learn to challange what you think is fact. Don’t just toss everything out, or spend so much time rethinking that you start to doubt everything you know, but do regularly try to confirm or deny things you think to be true.
BTW, I do not subscribe to the idea that the truth will always win out – we all know from life that this is not the case. Lies, distortions and half truths can and do become widely accepted as “truth”. There are those who want to make what they know is not true to seem to be truth, and others who are proclaiming as truth lies that they honestly think are truth. We must find the balance between never questioning what we think is true, and becoming open to every deception that goes by.