The Present Moment vs. Stories & Assumptions

Making up stories and assumptions about people and about situations often times get us into trouble. When  our minds go to devising stories — as colorful and intriguing as they are — they’re often times wrong. This presents a major problem when dealing with other people, because through these assumptions and stories we engage with the world.

What ends up happening is we create the reality that we didn’t really want in the first place. Like the books when I was growing up, it’s a grown-up version of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” series. You know, the books where you can pick from a different variety of endings. Unlike the books though, sometimes it’s hard to retrace our steps and select a different ending. This is especially true when we keep picking the same ending over and over and over again.

Learning to live in the present moment counteracts the tendency to live within our heads, where those stories and assumptions often come to life. When were in relationship, it’s easy to grasp onto those stories about our partner, and we work to convince ourselves that it’s true. Although our partner probably triggers our own process, we cling onto history and use historical reference points as a way to ensure that our partner will act that way again in the future. This is limiting, and ends up creating a future that’s no different from the past. Those stories and assumptions are created in our minds and reside in the past or the future, whereas ideally, we should be living in the present moment (where our minds cannot).

What helps is checking out those stories and assumptions that you have about someone else with that person. Investigating through communication is always better for grounding in reality then is living through the filters that we create for our life. Understanding the fears, worries, and pain that lie within us emotionally is important, because it’s those feelings that drive and create those are rational stories and assumptions that we then place on to the people that we love. It’s the emotions that drive us to create those realities that we think are true, and yet are not.

About Jason

As "The Man That Men Will Talk To," Jason Fierstein, MA, LPC is a private practice counselor and psychotherapist for men and couples in the greater Phoenix, Arizona, area. He works with struggling men to find happiness in their lives, and with their wives.
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