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Revamping Reality, Part 1: Why My Reality Needs a Makeover

October 17, 2009

Before I start, I’ll lay down a definition for everyone who needs to understand the concept of a “reality”.

A “reality” for a given person is how that person perceives and interprets the world and themselves. Their reality governs how they look at and judge just about everything. For example, a person who has a very strong reality where they think everyone’s out to get them (paranoid) will interpret everyone’s actions so that they fit in their paranoid reality. Thus, the paranoid person makes themselves believe that every event or action, whether it’s a handshake to a phone call to a job firing, is proof that the world is against them and there’s a conspiracy to destroy their life, even when it clearly isn’t the case.

Taking the reality of a paranoid person into account, we can infer that – this is huge, guys – reality is entirely subjective. I’m not talking about objective reality, I’m talking about our personal realities that we choose. Despite what we think, we can choose our realities, in real time. The paranoid person’s reality may sound totally far-fetched to the rest of us, but that doesn’t make it any less real to the paranoid person themselves. In the same way, we can adjust our realities so we may see the world better, or worse. This makes our realities like a lens in a sense, tinting our perceptions of events. That is a fair comparison, indeed, but realities are far more powerful than just minutely tinting our perceptions of things. No, our realities can do far more than a lens in that they can control what we can actually see and what we don’t. For example, in a reality where I am the most well-liked, charismatic person in the world that believes that everyone is in love with me, I won’t even notice the people who don’t like me. That kind of stuff won’t even show up in my reality because the idea that some people won’t like me is totally foreign to my reality. It is literally such an outlandish concept that I don’t notice it.

See what I mean? Realities are incredibly powerful.

The past week or so, my reality has been shattered in various ways. I thought it was strong, but, evidently, it was pretty weak, since the reaction of a person or two has been enough to do some serious damage to my realty by exposing my weak spots. I’m here to change that. In a nutshell, I want to create a reality in which I am always happy, expressive, energetic, positive, loving, and unreactive.

Before I can do that, though, I need to assess my current reality and evaluate where it’s weak. This is the purpose of my post.

1. My reality was too dependent on other people for its existence. In a lot of ways, my reality was dictated by what other people thought of me, even though I went around thinking, “Hey, this is the real me, lots of people are validating me, this self-improvement stuff really works! Life is awesome!” In many ways, I thought correctly. But what ended up happening is that I rested on my laurels in a way, and as people’s responses towards me changed for the worse (even though I thought I was being authentic; I’d like to think I was), my reality started to crumble. As they withdrew their validation, my reality simply followed suit. My reality needs to be able to stand on its own, without others’ validation. Why? Because my reality being validated by me is enough. I don’t need to people to validate it, since I know it exists.

2. My reality wasn’t positive enough. Now we’re getting into the meat of my reality – the actual content. While some of the time I succeeded in being positive and laid back about things, in a lot of other situations, I ceased to be optimistic. One of my favorite tricks to maintain positivity is reframing. Reframing is taking a situation that is negative or neutral, then spinning it into something that is outrageously optimistic and positive. As a quick example, say you fail a test in school or lose your keys or someone spits on you. All you do is take that negative situation and say, “I love when that happens!” emphatically (or equivalent statement). “Life’s awesome!” works well too.

What would happen to me is that I’d get sucked in to other peoples’ negative realities, and I’d just play into it. They would say something like, “X sucks, I hate this, life’s awful blah blah blah!” and I’d go along with it instead of reframing it, playing into their realities. What I have to do is take these negative situations and constantly reframe it – probably changing peoples’ realities along the way. I can’t waste time in doing that either; reframing must become instantaneous for me, so I can continuously hold up a strong, positive reality.

3. My reality was too jumbled together – it was like a web. My reality was ultimately a bunch of beliefs that were connected to other beliefs. If one thing went wrong – in this case, my validation was removed – the entire structure collapsed. With my new reality that I’m going to build, I’ll make sure my reality firmly rests on solid principles that hold up on their own, rather than depending on everything else in my reality to validate its existence. Since my beliefs were inextricably linked to peoples’ opinion or actions toward me, then my reality collapsed when their validation was removed. In the ideal case (which I will achieve), if that validation is removed, it won’t even show up to me, as my reality will not be connected to other peoples’ validation. This goes for everything else – I have to separate my principles from the events that occur in my life. Take away the events, and I (my reality) remains the same. Ergo, I can only let the principles that define my reality define my identity, not the events that reflect my reality. This is like number 1, where I let my reality exist purely because I say it does – the principles that make up my reality are enough for my reality to exist. Regardless of whether anything validates my reality, my reality should stand, as paradoxical as that seems.

4. My reality lacked definition. I’ll make no bones about it – this is my biggest problem, in my opinion. I never strictly defined what existed in my reality and what didn’t. I just let things happen, and when I had the presence of mind, I’d use some of my core beliefs to define my reality for that moment. But that thought, that guiding principle, would be forgotten in a matter of minutes. This goes hand in hand with the previous mistake I made: I just let my reality turn in a tangled web, while I wasn’t exactly ever sure what was in my reality. Sure, I could tell you what my reality should have been, but I just didn’t have the focus to define it in real time, all the time. This time, I’m going to sit down (parts 2-4) and really try and define my reality – what my core beliefs are in my reality (example: everyone loves me, or life is always awesome, or I love everyone). In any given moment, I will actively think those beliefs and, well, believe those beliefs, until they form my reality unconsciously. It requires a lot of work – after all, I am going to be hammering beliefs into my head for most of my days – but the payoff is enormous. I’ll be able to construct a strong reality that is unshakable, no matter what happens – and it’ll be full of positivity.

This is what is wrong with my reality, presently. In the next installment, I’ll talk about the debate that will craft my reality.

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