Living In the Real World

Whenever someone famous commits suicide people are affected in different ways. There is usually the surprise and shock associated with the sudden death. There are the questions of why and how could they? Most of them have achieved success and wealth and have adoring fans. Why would a person who seems to have it all want to end their life? They live in the real world just like you and I.

When these people appeared in the public eye they seemed so happy and positive and full of energy. It seemed their lives were so easy and they were able to have whatever they desired. What we saw was just a snapshot of their life. What we saw was only what they wanted us to see. What we saw was actually fantasy and not reality. These celebrities lived in the real world as we all do. They all had a history of life experiences, tragedies, losses, as well as the happy times and successes. Some had medical issues. Others had mental health and substance abuse problems. It is not easy living your life in the public eye. It affects how others see them as well as making it more difficult to have stable relationships. They lived in the real world and what the rest of us see is merely an illusion.

Just like the rest of us, life sometimes gets to be too much to deal with. Feelings of desperation and helplessness and hopelessness take over. It seems there is no way out other than to put an ending to it all. They lived in the real world.

If you look at what you think their lives have been and compare them to your own remember that you live in the real world too.

Today Is the Most Important Day of Your Life

We tend to look at certain events in our lives as important days. Those days that we consider to be life-changing such as graduations or weddings or the birth of a child are important days to us. Some think the day they met a significant person as being one of the most important days of their life. It is for me. For most of us there are numerous days that are significant and/or life changing. All of those things have already happened or have yet to happen at some future time in our lives. Most of the events that await us in the future are totally unknown to us today. How our lives will manifest remains a mystery.

Stories are written one word at a time. The words combine to create sentences that become part of a paragraph. One paragraph follows another and this ultimately results in a story. The author may have ideas about the content of the story but fills in the details as it is written. Life is similar in many respects. Lives are lived in minutes, hours, days, months, and years. We may have things we wish to manifest into reality. But we don’t know what our lives will look like until the story is written or our life unfolds in front of us and we experience it. Rarely do people’s lives look just as they had pictured them in the past.

This brings me to the point of this post and why today is the most important day of your life. Your past in done and is no longer a reality. It is the past. Past days have created the life you are experiencing today. We have an idea what we would like our life to look like in the future. But the future hasn’t arrived yet. All we have is the moment we are living in. All we can control is what we do now in the moment we are experiencing.

The decisions and the actions you take today lay the foundation for what your life will look like in coming days, weeks, months, and years. It is important to focus your attention on what you have in front of you and not dwell on either the past or the future. Have a plan or a goal. Those are valuable. What is most important is to put your time and energy into the steps you need to take to attain those goals. This is why today is so important. Today really is all you have. Tomorrow will once again be the most important day of your life.

Choices

Most of us grow up exposed to the habits and beliefs of our families of origin. We learn from them the way to do things and the way to think about and see things. Most of our beliefs come directly from them. It is common to adopt those beliefs or rebel and do the opposite of what we were taught. Neither is the best approach to life. Most of us grow up limited in our exposure to the variety of options available to us. My experience with clients and people entering a recovery process is the common view of seeing things in black and white.

Black and white and all or nothing thinking can cause people problems and inhibit their ability to solve problems and succeed in life. Many of us go through life unaware of how limited we are by our inability to recognize all the choices we have and choices we never consider as options. We have the beliefs we learn as children and carry with us into adulthood. Many of those beliefs do not apply to our adult lives. We have many choices for how we interpret the world around us. Keep this in mind. Many things mean many different things to many different people.

Most people tend to do what they are in the habit of doing and what is most comfortable for them. If we have not be raised in an environment of exploration and being open to new ideas it is difficult to go out of our comfort zone. We have to learn to think outside the box and explore all possible option in order to make better decisions and have a more fulfilling life. It is important to avoid black and white thinking and be able to see all the shades of grey.

What Are You Willing To Do In Order To Feel Better?

It occurred to me that people go to great expense and extraordinary lengths in order to improve the way they look. There are all kinds of plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures that are both painful and expensive. It has been my experience that people are far less willing to experience the process of addressing lifelong issues and the expense of seeking the help of those best equipped to help them.

Improving your ability to deal with life, improve your relationships with yourself and others, and increasing your chances for a successful and rewarding life has much more value than a nose job or a boob job. How much is better self esteem or increased confidence worth to you? Changing the inside greatly improves your quality of life far more than anything you can change to your external appearance. Think about it.

Success

It has been my experience when the thought of failure has not entered my mind, I have experienced the most success. I guess this could mean that thinking of possible failure results in thoughts that subconsciously place barriers to our success. This is another reason to focus on the steps you are taking toward a specific goal and not about the ultimate outcome. In other words, it is good to have goals but best not to focus on the goal.

You are capable of far more than you can imagine.

Change

One question I am asked on a pretty regular basis is whether it is possible to change things about ourselves. The answer is “Yes” we are capable of changing how we act, think, and feel. Much of what we do and think are the ways we learned to and these have become habits. The next question is normally is: How do I do that?

The first step is to identify what it is you want to change.  What behavior or way of acting causes you problems?  What way of thinking do you wish to change?  You need to start by increasing your awareness in order to start changing. You will also need to find out what you will replace those thoughts or behaviors.

The next step I call catch and correct.  Every time you catch yourself thinking or doing what you want to change, you correct your behavior or thinking to what you would rather it be.  This takes vigilance and persistence.  It takes time to break habits and establish new ones.  It will take time.

Some counselors make it seem so easy.  These are simple steps.  But changing isn’t so simple and easy.  Give yourself time and be gentle with yourself.  You can do it!!!!!

Retreat Is Not Defeat

There are times when a goal we have been pursuing or a relationship we have been involved in does not seem to be productive or causes us a tremendous amount of emotional pain. We stubbornly hang in there even after realizing there is no hope for a positive outcome and the emotional pain is harming us emotionally and sometimes physically. We refuse to give in and believe if we no longer pursue the goal or withdraw from the relationship we have somehow failed.

I don’t know how often I have heard a client say that the end of his/her marriage would cause them to feel like they failed. I know that many people believe that not reaching a goal or life not going as they planned meant they had somehow failed. They feel defeated. How many armies have retreated from a battlefield in order to regroup and create a better way to victory? They had time to rest, resupply, and find a better way to move forward. Retreating became a path to victory.

It is said that doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. I just see it as a waste of time. I believe that sometimes a better way to deal with obstacles or troubling circumstances requires changing directions and forming new goals and a new plan that is more likely to result in an outcome that is more to our liking. Think of a running back in football changing directions in order to avoid being tackled, turning a loss into positive yards, and possibly making a touchdown. Learn from the experiences that did not turn out as you expected. Retreating isn’t being defeated. It gives us the opportunity to have success.