The Difference Between Circumstances (Facts) and Our Thoughts

We often mix up our circumstances with our thoughts and then develop beliefs that are not based on fact. Circumstances are facts we can all agree on such as what people say to us, events from our past, a birth, death, diagnosis like high blood pressure, cancer, and our current weight are just a few examples. Circumstances are completely neutral. It is our thoughts that cause the drama, what we make things mean.

Thoughts are sentences in our brain. We have over 60,000 thoughts per day. Many thoughts are programmed in our primitive brain because they are recurring thoughts. Our brain likes to be on auto-pilot so it often goes to programmed thoughts first vs. coming up with something new. So if you are wondering why the same things keep coming up for you, it is because you have not taught your brain anything new to think about the situation or circumstance.

For example when my weight (which is a neutral circumstance) stayed the same when I was on a diet for weeks without dropping, I reverted to thinking: Why bother, I’m never going to lose weight and keep it off, I might as well eat these cookies. These thoughts perpetuated my weight loss struggle. I kept making the number on the scale mean I was never going to be successful at losing weight which caused me to feel defeated and led to overeating and not losing weight or gaining weight.

This was a perpetual cycle for me until I learned that the scale is just neutral and I could pick a different thought. I could ask my brain what I wanted to think about the scale and weight loss such as the scale is just a measure of my bones, organs, muscles and fat and is not a reflection of me as a person. Another thought could be I am capable of figuring out how to lose weight and keep it off forever. These thoughts caused me to feel motivated which helped me pick a healthy eating plan that I could follow easily, plan my meals 24 hours in advance and took the drama out of the scale and losing weight.

Circumstances are just neutral facts until we have a thought about them. Start asking your brain questions. Be curious.

Why?

What are the facts?

What are the thoughts?

What am I making this mean?

Is this true or is this a faulty belief?

What else could I think about this circumstance?

With over 60,000 thoughts going through our brain daily, let’s put our higher brain to work and ask some questions that will help us get us get closer to our goals or even figure out what those goals are instead of being on auto-pilot.

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2 thoughts on “The Difference Between Circumstances (Facts) and Our Thoughts

  1. This post really hit home for me. I’ve trained my brain to excuse my weight gain because of two facts, my age and menopause. If I apply the fact/thought principle you’ve described here, the fact is that being a woman over 50 and entering menopause makes it more important than ever that I put the proper thought and effort into how I fuel my body. The loop that has run through my mind over the last two to three years has been, “it’s okay that you’re 10 pounds heavier than last year, it’s normal for women your age”. Unfortunately, those 10 pounds add up to now 30+ pounds which is NOT normal.

    1. Well said, these are false beliefs we keep telling ourselves. We are worth the extra thought and effort!

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