It seems I’ve reached “that age” where I question choices I’ve made and look critically at where I am in many areas of my life.
Wait, that sounds a lot like my previous ages, too. Anyway!
To fight against these negative tendencies, I read articles about cultivating a positive attitude, and one tip recently stood out to me as particularly helpful: separate fact from opinion. They gave an example of not separating the two: “Of course I didn’t get the job. I acted so dumb in the interview!” That fact is that I didn’t get the job. The other is opinion, nothing more than me making assumptions.
Hearing it explained that way, I realized that confusing fact with opinion is something that often stresses me out, particularly when I consider one of my minor health issues; I start to focus on a recurring ache, and in my mind the situation quickly escalates until I’m near tears having fast-forwarded to a bitter end. When this thought pattern tries to replay (yet again) in my head, I need to go back to the facts. “Fact: I had that checked out with the doctor two months ago. Fact: he saw nothing out of the ordinary. Fact: right now, it’s not that bad. Fact: I can keep watch and seek assistance if it shows signs of worsening.”
Lesson to be Learned: Separate fact from opinion. And from feelings. And from worst case scenarios.
“Aha,” my negative side retorts, “but what about when the thought that brings me down *is* a fact?”
The application in such cases is to fight the urge to let the fact be more than it is, as if it’s some kind of evidence – or a life sentence. For example:
Negative Side (sad-faced): “I don’t own a home.”
Positive Side: Yeah. So? Does it mean that I’ll never have one? No. Does that in any way make me better or worse as a person? No.
Lesson to be Learned: Don’t mistake one fact for an entire story.