08/04/2011 02:47 pm ET Updated Oct 04, 2011

What Do You Know to Be True?

I got home last night and there was a UPS Express letter package waiting for me. I wasn't expecting anything. There was no return address, only a little sticker that said Business and Billing, in addition to the labels with my address. I put off opening it because I was hungry and needed to eat first. So I ate while it sat there at the table next to me, staring at me. I put off opening it to take a shower. I walked by it, giving it a glance out the corner of my eye. I felt it watching me, just as it watched me while I was eating.

Once in the shower, my mind started having a field day. Apparently, this official letter that I had unexpectedly received was some sort of bill... some money that I didn't even know I owed that was so far over due that it was now going to be in the thousands of dollars PLUS be on my "permanent record" (whatever permanent record means in the movie my mind was directing). Oh wait, oh God, no, it's a statement of money that I owe the IRS from years ago that somehow I missed when I did my taxes... thousands of dollars PLUS legal action against me from the state of California. I was panicking. Whatever was in this envelope was going to cost me a lot of money and cause me a lot of stress. Whatever was in this envelope was going to be a major problem for me to have to figure out.

It came time. I had put it off long enough. I couldn't keep avoiding the truth. I took a deep breath. I walked over to it, ripped it open. Inside the UPS envelope was another envelope with my name and address on it. This time, a return address, but still no name. Oh no. The movie in my mind was likening it to the shower scene in Psycho... I was opening the envelope waiting for the knife to come slashing down. Rip... here it goes...

My replacement ATM card. Um. Yeah. That's what it was.

First, I felt relieved. Then, I felt like an idiot for all the unnecessary stress I put myself through. Then I thought how crazy it is that I immediately go to the negative when I don't know something to be true... that the first movie I make up is a horror movie! How sad! I've said many times before that the way we do anything is the way we do everything... so... whoa, where else in my life do I jump to ludicrous negative assumptions about things that I have no idea to be true?

We spin out of control from one little thing... maybe someone not calling us or emailing us back right away, maybe not hearing what we want to hear from a boss or work colleague, or anything somebody else does in their lives that we think somehow has everything to do with us... we make up stories about the future, about people's motives.... you get the picture. I bet if you think about it right now, there was at least one time in your day today when that happened. When you made up some scenario that you had NO proof was true.

Truly, it's unnecessary, and a pretty stressful way to live. I am going to make an effort to take situations at face value, remembering that I don't know anything to be true -- good nor bad. I encourage you to try to do the same thing. When something comes up and you hear the movie director in your head yell "action!" and start creating a masterpiece, stop and take a breath. Ask yourself, do I know this to be true? Because usually, we really don't. The thoughts in our mind, the conclusions we jump to, usually are not true. Again, stop and ask yourself, "do I really know this to be true? Am I 100% positive without a doubt that this is true?" I bet that you don't.