People like to say that seeing is believing, but affective realism demonstrates that believing is seeing. Too often our world paradigm is dictated by our beliefs, which creates what we see.

Affective realism is the state of making decisions on gut feelings. Every person, even the self-described realists who think they only make rational choices, are subject to affective realism.

How can two people listen to the same sermon and one will come away with renewed vigor and gratitude while the other wallows in misery and anger at the institution or at God?

Life’s experiences have created a reservoir of beliefs that surface when stimulated. You don’t recognize or identify emotions, you construct them on the spot and when you make up stories that aren’t true, that is called a prediction error. Through prediction, you build the world around you by combining bits and pieces of your past and then estimate how likely each bit applies to your current situation.

Resistance feeds prediction error and escalates pain, which increases the probability of addiction and damaged relationships.

 

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