As a small child, you sometimes live in a world where monsters might eat you up and magical things can happen (up until about 8 years old or so you actually believe magic is real; some people never outgrow this).  When you stop being a child, Santa Claus no longer exists and the bogeyman goes away. 

As a child, you are actually powerless, in a sense, as things just "happen to you", you have no sense of being at cause.  You actually begin to learn some power, though it does not seem like it, as you learn to use techniques of manipulating the big people to give you what you want - your life is about getting others to do for you instead of you doing for yourself

Somewhere in between you get rid of the super-ridiculous musings of a child and go into fairly ridiculous derivations that "look" (appear to be) more rational. 

For instance, some people believe their thoughts are real (i.e. the monster is real because I think it is).   

Until you really know that a thought is just a thought, you will be the victim of the fictional world.  Read A Thought Is Just A Thought, An Emotions Is Just An

I will get rejected by this person because I am not good enough and if I'm not good enough that means that I'm not going to live a good life (or subtly "I won't survive").  "I am not good enough" is a fictional world, as no such thing exists in the real world - it only exists in the mind.  It is irreality.  It is an imagined world inside of your brain. 

"I am powerless" is irreality.  It may be real to say "I have developed a habit of thinking that I am powerless.  But since power is the ability to cause something to happen, I in fact do have power, so saying I'm powerless is nonsense." 


Reality:  Fact, provable, objectively, verifiable, genuine, not imaginary

Imaginary:  merely seeming, pretended, fictitious, nominal (in name only or ostensible

If something is real it actually exists, objectively, it is observable, provable.  It is based on a physicality.  Your arm exists.  A law of how things work exists in the sense that it reflects reality (how things actually work), a deduced fact based on observable occurrences.

If it is imaginary, it is simply constructed in the brain, just a "mental construct", not really in existence. 

Thoughts are just thoughts.

Emotions are just sensations from electrochemical messages in the body sent because the primitive brain matched it with patterns that are not necessarily correct and often inexact.


But some people say "I couldn't help myself.  I felt compelled (by my emotions) to do it.  I just had to eat the whole cheesecake." 

Yes, there was an uncomfortable feeling (which should, in problem solving, be described more accurately in more detail) and yes I wanted to relieve that uncomfortable feeling, but no I was not at the command of the emotion (need, compulsion, whatever you want to call it). 

And, no, it was not life or death - I could actually have chosen to recognize that the emotion is just a chemical reaction causing a feeling in my body and it is nothing I have to obey - it is not an entity that seems to operated commandingly in my body and mind.  I have choice over that.  I can choose to "be with" the feeling, to tolerate it until it passes (almost always before 15 minutes and sometimes in just a few seconds). 

[In order to solve a behavioral problem, we must first understand how behavior works and how to work it.  Start here and follow the links:  Behavior Management, linking in particular to the The Human Behavior Process Diagram.]

When we give "agenticity" to our feelings, as if there are little people (such as my inner child or my inner saboteur, which don't actually exist) making me do things or as if I am a little person with some big inner entity in charge, like a parent, we are living in a fantasy world that is not so fantastic - as it turns out to be a nightmare. 

Agenticity is when we give human traits to essentially mechanical or nonexistent entities.  It is like the cavemen creating gods that had power over them.  Learning not to believe that there is agenticity in other than us and real people is part of growing up.  And learning about The Believing Brain and how we fool ourselves is a vital step in getting back in touch with reality - and, believe you me, you have a lot more power in life when you are applying it to what is real - and not wasting energy on the ghosts and monsters.


Being unable to distinguish what is real and what is not is an indication of insanity.

However, there are degrees of it.  Where do you want to be on the scale? 

The Spectrum Of Sanity 

Reality test

The Scientific Method - Some people dispute this since they believe in mystical sources - read the piece below to address this.

What we make up

The Believing Brain  

The reality series

Start here and follow the links: 

What Is Reallity?