I used to get “truth” and facts mixed up. Truth is truth, right? Just because someone doesn’t believe in God doesn’t mean He doesn’t exist. Truth is truth whether we believe it or not.
But is it?
What’s the difference between truth and fact? A rock is a rock. That is a fact. Everybody would agree. But you get to choose your truth about rocks. You might choose to think rocks are dangerous. Or you might choose to think rocks are beautiful. Both could be “true.” Depending on the situation, believing one over the other may result in an entirely different experience.
You get to decide what you want to think/believe about facts. You get to choose your truth.
If everyone in the world wouldn’t agree… it’s not a fact.
What you believe about rocks may not impact your life all that much. But take a look at these examples:
• I’ve never been able to lose weight and keep it off
• I’m not outgoing
• I’m not good at sports
• That’s just who I am
This is where my clients start to run into trouble. They tell me they can’t just not believe something or they can’t just start believing something else. It’s true. Period.
But here’s the thing… you can believe anything you want. ANYTHING. There are no rules. You don’t need approval or permission from anyone else. You can just choose to believe whatever you want.
You can choose to believe you’re beautiful.
You can decide to believe you’re smart, funny, successful, compassionate, capable, and amazing.
NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE ELSE SAYS.
I can’t believe I didn’t know this my entire life. I thought I could only believe things that were “true.” And by that, I meant things that I had a lot of evidence for. How was I supposed to believe something I didn’t have any evidence for?
It’s actually pretty simple. You just decide.
Let’s use “I’m not good at sports” as an example. If this is something I’ve believed my entire life, how do I start believing something else?
A belief is just a thought you keep on thinking.
You’ve been practicing that thought over and over again. To believe something else, you’ll have to practice something else until you believe it’s true.
For me, I can’t just flip it to “I’m good at sports.” My brain rejects it immediately with a big “No, you’re not.” Usually I have to wiggle the old thought loose, before a new one can take hold.
Here are a few things you can try:
- Use Bridge Thoughts: “It’s possible I can be good at sports” or “I’m not good at sports is just a thought I keep thinking” or “My body has the ability to be good at sports.”
- Question the current thought from every angle: How is my current thought not true? In what ways am I good at sports? Can I think of any examples in my entire life that would indicate otherwise? What does “good at sports” even mean? Are there some sports that I am good at?
- Take action as if you believed the new thought: If I believed I was good at sports, what would I do? Take those actions. This will create evidence for you brain so you can more easily believe the new thought. Live as if you already believe the new thought. If I believe I’m good at sports, I’m not going to sit on the sidelines, I’m going to jump into the game. I’m going to play. The more I do that, the better I will get. My brain now has some evidence to work with.
- Imagine yourself believing the new thought. Spend time visualizing yourself as someone who believes the new thought. How are you different? How is your life different? What does it look like?
- Repeat as often as possible. Put it on sticky notes. Practice Practice Practice. The more you focus on the new thought, the more your brain will scan for evidence to believe it’s true.
Your brain isn’t going to want to change. Change is uncomfortable. As you try to change thoughts and beliefs you’re going to experience some cognitive dissonance. This might cause negative emotions such as stress or anxiety. Don’t worry. That means you’re doing it right.
Often, we don’t have to believe the opposite to stop believing the old thought. You don’t have to stop believing rocks are dangerous in order to believe rocks are beautiful. Sometimes a change of focus is enough to change the results in our lives.
Maybe I’ve tried all the steps above and I still can’t get to a place where I can believe I’m good at sports. I could just stop believing I’m bad at sports by focusing on a new thought like “I like playing sports because I get to spend time with my friends.” That could be something I can already believe is true. If I change my focus, and practice this thought using the steps above, I might be able to get much more traction.
Always test the new thought and see how you feel before trying to change to the new thought. Make sure it’s a feeling that will drive the actions you want to take so you will end up with the results you want.
Create a new thought. Commit to believing it, feeling it, and acting on it, and you will create the results it promises.
Truth is a DECISION.