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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Suspicion vs. Belief

 

 

There’s a popular meme of character “Fry” from Futurama that depicts the look of suspiciousness—cautions distrust. Overlaying text as desired, one can communicate the experience of a person’s inner monologue.

 

When thinking of what “suspicion” means—a thought that something is (im)possible, (un)likely, or (un)true—I juxtapose the term with the meaning of the word “belief”—an acceptance that a statement is (un)true or that something (doesn’t) exist(s). Do you know the difference?

 

Perhaps I’m splitting hairs here, though I propose that the difference between these terms relates to “thought” versus “acceptance.” A thought is merely an idea or opinion produced by the process of thinking. It can occur suddenly in the mind or require significant contemplation.

 

As an example, I my think, “I like toothpaste brand X more than brand Y.” Also, I could think deeply about my inevitability of death.

 

Whereas the toothpaste example doesn’t generate much of an emotional response, thinking about the topic of death oven leads to core beliefs which cause unpleasant emotional, body sensation, and behavioral responses for many people.

 

Therefore a belief stems from thought, though thought doesn’t necessarily require belief. This relates to the component of “acceptance,” because one who isn’t comfortable with an eventual death may irrationally believe that one shouldn’t, mustn’t, or oughtn’t to die.

 

People accept unhelpful beliefs such as these and then use them to self-disturb regarding an inescapable death. Perhaps you or someone you know has experienced this unpleasant outcome.

 

Unlike the technique of unconditional life-acceptance, which acknowledges truth—that we all will die at some point—acceptance of an unproductive assumption isn’t the same as being suspicious. In fact, I’m suspicious of unrealistic beliefs people have about death.

 

Who says that one shouldn’t die? Where is it written that each of us is guaranteed to live until a specific age? Why must we avoid challenging irrational beliefs about death? Isn’t death as much of a guarantee as the fact that you currently exist? Who ought to deceive themselves with foolish notions to the contrary?

 

Here, I’ve demonstrated my suspicion of irrational beliefs about death. This is because I accept that you, I, everyone we’ve ever known, and everyone we will ever know most certainly will die, which is the essence of a belief—a healthy and realistic one if I may say so.

 

Given the difference between suspiciousness versus belief, I find it helpful to ask myself which is at play when encountering differing types of information. Am I merely thinking about data or do I maintain a belief that may lead to an unpleasant consequence (e.g., fear)?

 

Perhaps you, too, may benefit from use of this perspective shift tool. Next time you realize that you’re emotionally activated, experiencing discomfort within your body, or you’re acting in a way you don’t quite understand, it may be helpful to suspiciously ask yourself if the belief you’re using is serving your interests and goals.

 

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life—helping you to sharpen your critical thinking skills, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

 

As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues ranging from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

 

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

 

 

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW

  

References:

 

Giphy. (n.d.). Emotion reaction GIF. Retrieved from https://giphy.com/gifs/confused-futurama-suspicious-ANbD1CCdA3iI8

Hollings, D. (2022, March 15). Disclaimer. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/disclaimer

Hollings, D. (2023, September 8). Fair use. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/fair-use

Hollings, D. (2023, October 12). Get better. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/get-better

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Hollings Therapy, LLC [Official website]. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/

Hollings, D. (2024, January 2). Interests and goals. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/interests-and-goals

Hollings, D. (2023, May 18). Irrational beliefs. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/irrational-beliefs

Hollings, D. (2023, September 19). Life coaching. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/life-coaching

Hollings, D. (2023, April 24). On truth. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/on-truth

Hollings, D. (2022, November 1). Self-disturbance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/self-disturbance

Hollings, D. (2022, October 7). Should, must, and ought. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/should-must-and-ought

Hollings, D. (2023, March 11). Unconditional life-acceptance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/unconditional-life-acceptance

Hollings, D. (2023, September 22). You’re gonna die someday. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/you-re-gonna-die-someday

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Futurama. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Futurama

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