I’d Rather Live in Fantasyland…
OK, it’s time for a …. REALITY CHECK!! Don’t you just hate it when that happens? Here we are minding our own business and dividing our time between Denialville and Fantasyland – and I come along and start to get pushy about this reality stuff. I know. I am really inconsiderate.
So why am I bringing this up and completely disrupting your life’s flow? Because I’m basically a stinker who likes to stir things up just to see if I can get a couple of crawdads to crawl to the top of the lobster tank. They’re easier to fish out and dispose of that way.
Here’s the first little critter you might want to check for. It’s probably labeled “Not My Fault” – or something like that. This one shows up to the strains of “The Whiner’s Lullaby”, “The Complainers Serenade” or the “I’m a Victim – You’re a Victim So We Have a Right to Feel Really, Really Bad” choral arrangement…plus other tunes too numerous to mention.
Many of us put a lot of effort into avoiding taking on any personal responsibility for our lives and refusing to be accountable for our present situation. We lay the blame squarely on our parents, teachers, bosses, family members, bad guys and anyone else we can think of that might fit the bill. Why? Because this looks like the easy way out. By laying the blame on someone else, we escape the pain of reality – and the discomfort and work of having to do something ourselves to improve the situation. It’s our personal little cop-out that could keep us in our rut until the day we die.
About the only way I know of to get rid of this little guy is to modify our thinking patterns (do some mental reprogramming) so we can face reality and accept the fact that each one of us is ultimately accountable for where we are in our lives. Extreme circumstances aside, we all have the ability – perhaps with some outside help – to make some positive changes in our lives. The first step here is to honestly recognize that we personally are responsible for where we are in life. There may have been strong outside influences but we ultimately made the decision to do what we’re doing. Remember, no one can control our lives unless we give them permission to do so. We always have options. Important note: If you are being controlled under threats of physical or emotional harm – GET HELP NOW! One of the universal rules of life is that nothing is likely to change until we personally do something – until we take action to improve those things we want to improve.
That brings me to the second critter which we’ll label “Denial”. This can take many forms. “Things aren’t really all that bad.” “I’m not really codependent.” “I don’t care what Gene says, I’m really not responsible for my present situation.” “I’m not addicted to anything.” “I’m not always sleeping or on the computer because I’m trying to hide from my life.” “I won’t do anything because I know sooner or later that things will get better.” “Not my fault.” Plus a few hundred thousand similar excuses (rationalizations to keep us from facing reality).
We are sooo proficient at rationalizing our way into inaction. Just comes with a lot of practice I guess. Maybe we would be slightly better off if we started practicing admitting our mistakes or errors in judgment. Geez folks, we all screw up. We all make emotional, spur-of-the-moment decisions. We all make projections using half-truths or skewed facts. Our decisions frequently do not provide the results we expected. So what! Unless we’re dead, we can always learn from our experiences and our mistakes – and we can try to do it better or differently next time.
Just for the heck of it, here are a few simple examples of screw-ups (rationalizations) and what we could do about them. “I was late to work because I had to stop to get gas.” Fueling up the night before or getting up earlier could prevent that. “I was late to a meeting because I couldn’t find the car keys.” Get into the habit of always hanging them on a hook or putting them in a certain spot. “My electricity was turned off because I forgot to pay the bill.” Set up a budget and stick to it – and always keep your bills together so you can find them easily. “My car engine overheated and “froze” up.” Check the coolant and oil level periodically. “I got fired because my boss had it out for me.” Calling him a butthead probably didn’t help either. “My “old lady” kicked me out of the house on my rear.” Think it might have had something to do with the two chicks you’ve been shacking up with? “My pile of bills just keeps getting bigger and bigger.” Back to the budget – and either spend less or make more money. You get the idea.
And yes, sometimes stuff happens that puts our world in a tail-spin. Illness, deaths in the family, depressed economy, business failures, natural disasters, etc. can all negatively impact or lives. These things are pretty much beyond our control. The best we can do when significant events occur is to stay flexible, develop a plan of action and keep on truckin’. It is when the major events happen that the basics become even more important. It won’t help one little bit to waste our time whining, complaining or grouching about our misfortune. Now it is doubly important to honestly evaluate our situation, accept reality and do the things we need to do to move on down the road.
Reality can sometimes be pretty sucky. It is all up to us to individually recognize (face) our personal reality, accept responsibility for the portion of it that belongs to us and do the things we need to do to try to make it better.
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