the emotional benefits of not believing what you read

The written word is not necessarily any truer than the spoken word, and the act of writing something down doesn’t make a thought true.

The reason I mention this is because I see that a lot of people have -for lack of a better word – gullibility when it comes to written words.  They’re more likely to believe the words if they’re written down as opposed to spoken.  I have theories as to why this is the case… because a lot of books are filled with facts, it’s easy to believe that all books are filled with facts unless the words are obviously false or made-up or labeled as fiction.  It’s also easier to believe opinion words when they are mixed in with words that are true.  Which means a random opinion could be thrown in among a bunch of facts, and people are more likely to believe it because it is surrounded by facts, and their brains aren’t switching gears to notice the presence of an opinion.

I was very gullible about written words until two years ago at the age of 29, so definitely don’t feel bad if you are in this camp.  I’ll explain further – it’s kind of a funny story.

I uncovered that I was more gullible with written than spoken words while taking the Lefkoe Freedom Course.  In the course, I was to write down the thoughts I had that were causing my emotional upsets, and the conclusions I was jumping to.

I remember I had a moment when I was writing down my beliefs – the false beliefs I didn’t want, and panicking because I was writing them down.  I realized the reason for my panic.  It was because I was subconsciously thinking If I write these horrible beliefs down, that means they will become true.   This subconscious thought had been causing me anxiety throughout the course, because I was supposed to write down my beliefs frequently.

And that’s how I had a breakthrough.  I believed that written words – unless very obviously false – were the truth – and that writing down a subjective thought would make it come true!  I started laughing when I realized that this was my belief.  It was such a huge breakthrough for me, and a tremendous relief.

I knew that if I wrote down the words “The moon is made of cheese,” that it wouldn’t come true.  It was only the case when I was dealing with more subjective thoughts that couldn’t easily be disproven.  So if I were to write down the words (or read someone else’s words) that said an opinion – I was very likely to begin agreeing with that opinion and find evidence for why the opinion was valid.

I realized, in retrospect, how much this particular nuance of thinking had affected my mind and my ability to think freely, and therefore damaged my emotional state.  I also realized that if I had this nuance, there are probably a bunch of other people that still have it too.

Gullibility in the written word explains a lot of things.  It certainly explains fundamentalism based on written texts.

How is my life different now that I’m way less gullible with written words?   I feel more at peace.  I notice opinions now – whereas before I would accept them as truth.  My mind is much freer.  Opinions tend to stick out like a sore thumb to me.  I’ll be reading something and be thinking… truth… truth… truth… opinion… truth… truth… false… truth… I can tell the writer is upset emotionally here, and therefore believing something untrue…. truth… truth…

Remember: just because it’s written down, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily true.  And just because it’s spoken, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily true either.  Check your sources.

love,
Kate

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