“…(Think) about something or someone that makes us really frustrated, maybe even angry. The more we think about them the more that emotion strengthens. The more the emotion strengthens the more we obsessively think about that situation or person. Even though the person is not with us, or the situation is not actually happening in that moment, our thoughts and imagination are powerful enough that we emotionally respond as if they were. Our physiological responses kick in as well - our pulse quickens, our blood pressure rises, and our muscles tighten.” - From the course Mindfulness Fundamentals, given by mindfulschools.org
Thoughts are NOT Reality
One of the really great things about mindfulness is that it encourages people to distinguish between the thoughts that they have and the reality of the moment. Read the paragraph above again. How many times have you done this?!
Here’s the rub. Thoughts are not reality…until you confuse them as such and follow with actions that then create the very thing you didn’t want to have happen!
Learning to separate thoughts from reality has a lot of practical uses. As just one example, you might fear that your previously unfaithful partner might be cheating on you again and confront him about it. This might well put him on the defensive and start a downward spiral of negative interactions that sets you both back in the healing you are going through. Your negative interactions might even send him back to the other woman. Yes, that fear that he might be cheating feels really, really awful. YET, fearing that your partner is cheating is NOT the same thing as actually having your partner cheat!
Being able to say to yourself ‘just because I fear this thing does not make it real’ can be a huge help. In this situation, rather than confront your partner, you could go to him and say “May I share something with you? I’m feeling fearful and really could use some reassurance…” then explain what you are going through.
What a different outcome you would have!
This is only one example of how learning to distinguish thoughts from reality can really, really help you. I will (with a smile) suggest you think about it for a while and then ask yourself when you are feeling a strong or negative thought “is this a thought, or really true?” That can help you follow those thoughts into a more positive reality.
For those in marriages impacted by ADHD
You can find great resources for couples impacted by ADHD at adhdmarriage.com, including: a free online treatment overview; free downloadable chapters of my books; a community forum with other couples facing similar issues; a large number of blog posts on various topics; referrals; and my very popular couples courses: ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar - Next live session starts April 4, 2016 - this eight-session phone seminar has helped many couples turn around their relationship.