Posted by: Dennie | September 20, 2013

Feelings Aren’t Facts

Feelings aren’t facts. The topic at my Al-Anon meeting tonight.  Al-Anon,  AA,  ACOA… I need all the help I can get.

And get it I did tonight.

One of the first things my AA sponsor told me when I first came into the program was “Feelings aren’t facts.” She used to piss me off because fact or not, when I was feeling it, it sure felt real.

Today I love the expression.

And I hate it.

I love it because I’ve learned that although I feel something, it doesn’t necessarily make it true. So it isn’t a fact. And I’ve also learned that the feeling-any feeling – can and usually does change.

I hate it for the very same reason I hated it from the beginning. I’m feeling something, damn it, and it’s TRUE. It feels true. Especially if it hurts, or makes me angry, or sad. And you’re telling me it’s not true?

Bullshit.

But what I’ve come to know is, feelings aren’t real. They are based  in my perception.

William Shakespeare said, “Nothing is either good or bad. It’s thinking that makes it so.”

…'”It’s easy to believe our most negative thoughts reflect the truth. They plead the worst case scenario in a most convincing way until it almost seems frivolous to consider a positive outcome. Yet the loudest voice is not necessarily the truest. No matter how insistent a feeling might be, it is just a feeling, not a prophesy….sometimes it helps to remember that a positive outcome is just as likely as a negative one.”  Taken from Courage To Change,  Al-Anon literature.

I can guess at how a situation will transpire. I can think I know what’s going on in another person’s mind. I can imagine how an event will be.

But I don’t know any of those things. I can’t see the future or read the  mind of a person, no matter how well I know them.

I need to wait and see how a situation unfolds. Most of the time, it’s never even close to how I thought it would be. And most of the time, it’s better than I thought it would be.

I can speculate on another’s thoughts. But until I ask them, I don’t know. I’ve gotten myself into real trouble thinking I know what someone is thinking.

And I can invent all kinds of scenarios in my head.

I can drive myself crazy.

I am learning to stay in the moment. If I can’t do something about a person, place or thing at the time I’m worrying about it, I try to let it go until the time comes when I can address it.

It’s not easy and I’m not always successful.

But it’s so much better for me when I can let myself let go.

It releases me of worry, angst, anger, fear and negative thoughts.

It lets me get on with my life at the moment. It lets me relax. It lets me sleep.

I never worry about something being too good. Or going too well. I never worry that I will get along with another person.

Nope. Just “the bad stuff.

And even after years listening to others with more experience than me, after years of meetings, after years of self work, I still go to my bad place. It’s just the way I’m wired.

And so , it was good a reminder tonight to let go of  the Bogey Man stuff. The perceptions. The misunderstandings, the bad feelings.

Because they Just. Aren’t. Facts.

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