Embracing Your Reality

Embracing Your Reality

“To know reality is to accept it, and eventually to love it.”
- George Wald, Nobel Prize-winning scientist

More often than not, life does not play out in the manner we desire.  For example, we are in a relationship with someone we think will turn out to be “the one,” and then it ends prematurely under negative circumstances.  Or we start a new business with hopes that it will result in us being rich and famous, but it ends up with us being only moderately successful or perhaps even failing, and we receive little or no acclaim. 

While both of the above examples refer to things going worse than planned, things also sometimes turn out better than planned.  We might start a new job with few expectations and discover a fulfilling lifelong career. Or, to take an example from our daily lives, we might stop by a restaurant for a bowl of ramen and it ends up being the best one we ever ate. 

The point I am trying to make is that whatever the result, things don’t usually happen exactly as we expect.  There is usually some lack of correlation between expectations and results, no matter how much of a soothsayer you believe yourself to be.

The reason I bring this up is that despite this indisputable fact of life, most of us expend endless amounts of time and energy fighting our reality.  We live in a society that is defined by rampant dissatisfaction with the present state.  All of us are trying to get something, go somewhere, or do something.  Psychologists, sociologists, and other experts point to social media as a significant source of this current dissatisfaction. Users on these platforms are experiencing a disconnect between the life they are living and the life they think they should be living.  When they realize that there is no way to obtain their desired existence without sustained hard work and sacrifice, they become unhappy.  That unhappiness then manifests itself in multiple forms, including, in extreme cases, suicide, a phenomenon on the rise. 

Think about it.  If you are constantly being fed a message that you are interpreting as, I am not good enough, I don’t have enough, and I probably never will be good enough or have enough, you could easily arrive at some very negative conclusions.

The key to undoing this rampant dissatisfaction is to embrace your reality.  Instead of living a life that is speculative and future-focused (I will be happy when…), reorient your perspective to be focused on the present (I am happy now because…)  Do this, and you are living in the moment, as the expression goes, or as I put it, embracing your reality. 

This is easier said than done, though, because it requires a strong sense of self—something a lot of us have not worked to build.  For instance, when you aren’t satisfied with who you are, you often compare yourself to others.  While the human brain is programmed to measure differences between people and things, we don’t need to process those differences as deficiencies.  Instead, we could be proud of what makes our life, looks, and reality different from others.

So how can you do more to embrace your reality and greatly increase your everyday satisfaction?  Here are a few simple, practical recommendations:

  1. Tell the people you care about that you love them.
  2. Exercise until you feel like you can’t anymore.  Preferably with a lot of sweat.
  3. Paint, write, do whatever creative practice you feel best suits you.  Or do something you have never done before: try hard, and prepare to be bad at it.
  4. Sit in the sun, lie down in the grass.
  5. Visit with friends and tell stories of great times you have shared together.
  6. Watch a funny movie.  Laugh.
  7. Stare at your kids while they play with their toys.
  8. Kiss your wife or husband for no reason other than to feel their lips.
  9. Meditate or just spend five minutes visualizing a place you really enjoy.
  10. Smile.
  11. Write a list of the people and things you are thankful for.

Life is made up of moments in time and the emotions you associate with those moments.  While the future may be better or worse than today, it does not hold the answer to your dissatisfaction.  The universal answer to a better life is to improve your perspective on today by more closely aligning your endless desires with your current reality.  

In the immortal words of Ram Dass, “Be here now.”

Start your journey today