When was the last time you took a serious objective look at your life situation?
Are you really satisfied with the way things are going?
Well, if you are an optimist or find yourself in a good mood, you may be tempted to say that things are all right in your life right now. And even if they are not all right now, they will get better soon.
What are you relying your assumption upon? Are there noticeable facts that point to the idea of improvement? Have you done anything lately in order to make the situation better?
Things are not always what they seem to be
If your life is “all right”, it means that it’s neither good nor bad. It’s average. This can go both ways and mean that it’s both good and bad. There are things you like and things you dislike. The question is: what do you do with the things you dislike? Are you trying to be an optimist and take your focus away from them and move it onto the things you do like?
That is what positive thinking teaches us to do. Focus on the positive and eliminate the negative. The truth is that if you try to eliminate the negative while removing the focus from it, you act just like an ostrich which buries its head into the sand. You no longer see the problems, but that doesn’t mean they cease to exist.
But wait a minute, don’t they teach us that “energy flows where the attention goes”? That means that if we consciously choose to look at the bright side of things, the negative ones will start disappearing.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve tried this approach and failed miserably each and every time. Things keep existing even if they are not in your conscious attention. Just denying them won’t make them disappear, it will just make you perpetuate your illusion. And even if you manage to push things as far as convincing yourself that everything is all right now, reality can hit you when you least expect it to.
Take for example an illness. You may have some symptoms which manifest themselves through pain. Now, if you were to take a pain killer, then you would start feeling better and better and you would forget about the disease. You could even think it’s cured. But what happens when the effect of the pain killer wears off? Well you will have a very unpleasant surprise, because the pain will most likely kick back in, perhaps even worse than before. So much for ignoring things. Thus, the only way to get rid of the unpleasant symptoms, is to cure the illness.
If things are bad right now, they will continue to be bad.
A negative situation will only go away if you consciously work on it. Just waiting, wishing, praying or hoping it away won’t do. If you ignore it, the universe will find all sorts of ways to bring it back into your life and conscious attention. It won’t let you live until you solve the unpleasant issues.
Instead, you must consciously acknowledge the fact that they exist and then do something about them. Change something in order to improve the situation. Either change the situation, if it’s within your power, or your attitude towards it. It alone won’t change. YOU are the one who must take on the responsibility of improving it.
Some things can be improved, others can’t. If you can make a situation better and that is within your control, than do so. If you cannot and it bothers you, than change your attitude towards it. Change the way you respond to it. Do something different the next time it appears. It’s clear that what you’ve been doing so far has not been very helpful, so next time make a conscious decision to take a different approach and see what happens. If you change the process, you also change the result and it may get you closer to what you desire.
Don’t say “it’s gonna get better”
What proof do you have that things will be better? Is there any statistical evidence to point to this fact? Can you give example of situations before and after with a considerable improvement? Or are you just trying to be nice?
If there is no concrete (meaning tangible and measurable) proof of improvement over the course of a relevant period of time, then saying “It’s gonna get better” will only perpetuate your illusion and unhappiness. Things are clearly NOT going to get better, despite what other people or yourself may be thinking. Reality proves you wrong.
Instead of hoping that things will be better or encouraging others that if they are patient enough, their situation will improve, focus on what can be done differently. Ask yourself and others how committed you or they are to changing something. And then ask what the next steps towards improvement are. But don’t just rely on a promise of getting better, even if someone does list you some things they will change about themselves, because that also means perpetuating the illusion. Even if you desire that change, do not believe it will happen until you see some concrete proof of it.
Change means action, not decision. A decision can be revoked at any time and cannot be measured. A decision is only firm and true when it produces some tangible effects in the outer world.
Only believe in change if you experience it
The whole point is to help you to stop being naïve about all sorts of situations and especially other people. Of course, falling into the other extreme of distrust and perpetual skepticism or criticism will do you the same disservice, because it also promotes an illusion-based mentality at the opposite end of the spectrum.
Just take a look at the way things are right now in your life and do it objectively, as though you were analyzing the life of a neighbor you have a neutral relationship with. Does the fact that they promise to change some areas of their life they find dissatisfying make you believe them? Or do you want to see some tangible evidence of their promise?
Well, the same goes for you. If you want to improve, then get off the couch and do something. Just reading this article is not enough. Make a list of all things you will start doing and DO THEM. If you limit yourself to just absorbing information but doing nothing with it, you end up just perpetuating the illusion you find yourself in.
So, find the areas in your life that do not correspond to your needs and wishes, analyze your situation as objectively as possible (use a 3rd person perspective if you are unable to do it otherwise), list those things you will change or improve and TAKE ACTION. Then take responsibility for what you choose to do: take action or perpetuate your illusion. You’ll be amazed with what you’ll discover if you gather the courage to do this exercise.
If you find it difficult to take an objective look at your life situation, then ask for help from a neutral person. It can be an acquaintance or a friend you trust that is able to remain unbiased. Sometimes the people around you will tell you how reality looks like, even before you demand this from them, but you may be to blinded by your emotions and you’llkeep perpetuating your illusion. That is when you should seek professional aid from a coach, a counselor or a therapist, depending on the complexity of the issue.