We all live in our own little worlds to some extent. Believing what we choose to believe, doing what we choose to do. That's how it's supposed to be.
The twist is that the ones who can make life the most miserable for us is ourselves.
We are afraid of what other people might think of us, because we already think it about ourselves. We are afraid of the future because we think we know what might happen. We hate others because we think we understand it all. We hate ourselves because we think we are not good enough,
These are also thoughts we choose to believe.
We love thinking about what we cannot know, like the future or how horrible we are as people, because it is just more stimulating and interesting to think about the mysterious. But many times, we end up forming our reality based on our thoughts and not facts.
Everyone has thought of themselves as stupid, ugly or simply horrible at some point in their lives. Everyone has also experienced being afraid of something that never ended up happening. These are times when we believe our thoughts unconditionally, even when they have no basis in reality. We are just afraid. And we succumb to it.
It is important to build a relationship with reality. More often than not, it is an unreality that makes us suffer.
A truly horrible person, who does despicable things, does not think of themselves as a horrible person. In their mind, they are doing the right thing. It's the same with people who have gone insane--they don't think they are insane; they think they are completely normal. They have lost contact with reality.
Thinking there is something wrong with us is actually the sign of awareness. It means that whatever we are dealing with is workable. In that work, we can incorporate building our relationship with reality.
I know people who think very lowly of themselves, even though they are the most amazing people I know with kind hearts, sharp minds and unmatched talents. I also tend to think things about myself that have nothing to do with reality.
At those times, I practice stepping back from my thoughts and concentrate my attention on what is real. What my actions actually say about me. Not what my thoughts tell me.
When anxiety strikes, I do the same. I concentrate my attention on the present moment, not what I imagine will happen. It's practicing seeing what is real and what is not.
It's basically a skill to turn one's attention from thoughts to the world. From inside to outside. From unreality to reality.
It's easy to get lost in our minds. We could all use a map with emergency exits that mark how to get out of there. But until that's invented, we can always practice building a solid relationship with reality.
A guided meditation on the topic can be listened to here.
“It is always the false that makes you suffer, the false desires and fears, the false values and ideas, the false relationships between people. Abandon the false and you are free of pain; truth makes happy, truth liberates.” - Nisargadatta Maharaj