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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The gift of accepting your own reality


An absolute point to ponder when it comes to reality is perception. Our entire civilization is based on perception. The things we have learned to appreciate and those we have learned to look down on, the products and people we respect by virtue of their position, and those we reject because they behave or think differently; the brands we pay large sums of money for, and those we would rather leave untouched: most of it is based on perception. The value of precious gems and minerals is based on perception. Economic models, “real” versus “fake” art, fashion trends and value definitions: they are all based on perception.

Most things are seen in their current way because someone once defined how they should be looked at. The majority of people don’t think further whether they really feel that these things are worth what the status quo dictates. What makes a Van Gogh or Da Vinci so much more expensive than a perfect replica or a beautiful painting from an unknown artist? It’s perception. And it costs us a lot. People want to be seen with expensive purses, clothes, and shoes; they want to drive in expensive cars, and live in “upscale” neighborhoods, not necessarily because they are better, but because they are perceived to be. It takes courage to realize that, and even more courage to contemplate on it and draw your own conclusions.
Very few people dare to be bold enough to swim against the current, because that would mean that they are “different”, and “different” is a vulnerable spot to be in. Being different affects our sense of belonging, and if you remember, “sense of belonging” has a prominent place in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs! People want to be accepted by their surroundings, and being different means rising above that urge and facing your own values. Mama Cass sings about the difficulty of being different in the title song of an odd, old children’s movie named “Pufnstuf”(1970):

“Different is hard, different is lonely
Different means trouble for you only
Different is heartache, different is pain
But I’d rather be different than be the same…”

If you don’t have the courage to think for yourself about what really matters to you, what you can or want to afford, what drives your passion, and what you are happy with, you will be like 98% of humanity: victimized by mindsets that were dictated by others, oftentimes for their own selfish reasons, which are to become wealthy and famous at the expense of the ignorant ones. Of course, not all name brands, high end products, or prominent lifestyles are deceptive. Some really go out of their way to deliver better quality and represent a different experience. Still, they are often grossly overrated.

Creating your own reality does not mean that you can change all the things that happen to you. You may not be able to change those, but you can always change your perception, hence, your attitude. Sitting back and allowing yourself to be overrun by the status quo, or paralyzed by bad news or setbacks is not going to get you far.