This is perhaps a little more “woo-woo” than some of the other things I’ve written here at A Boundless World, but also one of the most important. Having gone deep down the rabbit hole of “subjective reality” I’ve found this specific concept particularly helpful.
Before you head for the exit thinking I’ve gone off the deep end, consider the phrase: “everything happens for a reason.” We’ve all heard it before. Similar in substance, trusting reality goes a little bit deeper.
When you hear “everything happens for a reason” for example, you might feel it’s a little hollow. I know I do. Especially when something especially terrible happens.
A parent passes away. A close friend is violated in the worst way. War, famine, terrorism and more.
It’s not really helpful to hear “everything happens for a reason.” It doesn’t make you feel good. No one has recovered instantly from grief by hearing the phrase.
That isn’t to say the intent is bad, but it does leave you wanting more.
Why? It leaves you somewhat powerless. When you hear everything happens for a reason, you’re forced to accept the hand you have been dealt. In some cases this is necessary, but many times, tweaks in your relationship with life is significantly more productive.
When you frame your world view with the lens of ‘trusting reality’ you are empowered to change your relationship. If you get laid off, or a loved one gets sick, it gives you the ability to frame the specific situation to empower you.
Let’s say you’ve recently been laid off.
There’s no way around it, being let goes is painful. Maybe you’re stressed about your bills. Maybe you loved your job. Maybe you’re worried about your future career prospects because of COVID-19.
It’s normal to feel anxious, stressed, and perhaps even depressed. That’s a reasonable response to losing your job and source of income. Of course, you certainly should embrace these ‘negative’ feelings, but only to a point.
Once the initial shock has resided, what do you do next? Do you continue feeling sorry for yourself? Half ass 100 job applications hoping something sticks? Do you turn to a variety of negative habits for the illusion of comfort? Do you stay in your room and wallow for months on end?
This is where your relationship with reality comes into play. By default, let’s say you trust your relationship with life. Being laid off certainly isn’t ideal, but is there a silver lining? Is there a lesson standing before you, that you’re too afraid to see?
Maybe you’ve actually wanted to look for a new job for several years but were afraid. Maybe you’ve been wanting to move to a different country, but your job has tied you down. Maybe you’ve wanted to start your own business. Now you have that chance.
Or maybe there’s something else entirely at play. Perhaps you’ve been stagnant for far too long and need a change of pace. Maybe you need to spend less time investing in your career and more time deepening your relationships.
There might not always be a ‘silver lining’ from the get. That’s not the point. Putting trust into your reality will help you unlock some insights you may have otherwise missed.
When you trust reality, you’re not turning a blind eye or repressing your emotions. Having trust won’t make you immune to the many emotions we experience as humans.
Consider relationships with a significant other. Is it always perfect? Of course not, sometimes you fight. Sometimes you disagree. Sometimes you say things you don’t mean.
But if your relationship is built on trust, it virtually always resolves itself in the end. Relationships without trust are the ones that don’t make it.
If your partner says something that hurts you feelings, you may at first be upset. But often when you cool off, you may find that part of what they said was true. Or that you overreacted. Or they were right.. you were being a huge dick.
If you had to second guess everything you or your partner said, you wouldn’t have the time or energy to improve your relationship. You would be too busy worried about being hurt and refuse to be vulnerable.
The same can be said about your relationship with life. If you’re always second guessing your reality, you’re going to be so caught up on the past and your pain, you won’t be able to heal or move forward.
Yes terrible things happen. Yes, you and I will inevitably go through rough patches. But by placing trust in reality, you’re going to be far better equipped to handle all that comes your way.
Just as many religions are based on the idea of “having faith,” it’s not always easy to trust reality. If your grandparent gets terminal cancer for example, there’s certainly no ‘silver lining’ in that.
Perhaps your relationship with reality could benefit from more gratitude, or perhaps you needed a nudge to appreciate the many wonderful relationships you’ve been neglecting. That isn’t to say your grandparent got cancer just so you can become more grateful. No reasonable person would make that argument. But the framing puts the ball in your court.
As you begin to frame your reality with this lens, you’ll often find yourself being more appreciative of both the good and the bad. You’ll feel empowered to change when it’s warranted, because you can always work on improving trust.
When you do...
You’ll begin to ask yourself how you can take action to improve your situation.
You’ll begin to see some of the most beautiful and raw lessons of life you may otherwise have missed.
If you aren't happy with where you are in life, consider the fact that you might not be so trusting. How can you reframe your current experience to that in which you did trust your reality?
As I’ve personally put effort into this, I’ve found myself to be much more at peace.
Yes, things still annoy me. Yes I still get upset.
But when you trust that you’re where you need to be, there’s no limit to the wonderful experiences you can have.