I recently saw a video of a woman who was completely out of control of her body and vocal cords. She was grunting and flopping around on the ground, trying unsuccessfully to stand up. It was heartbreaking to watch the EMTs try to help her, and finally restrain her and put her on the ambulance. According to her neighbors she had done PCP and a hit of crack, then (possibly) had a stroke.
When I see people who are seemingly so lost, I often (as I’m sure many of you do) wonder what drives them to this point. Are they lonely? Depressed? In search of a thrill? Irresponsible? I will admit, I’ve done a few drugs in my time. But none of them ever made me desperate for more… I guess I would call myself an experimenter. I enjoy trying new things. But… I like to be conscious and aware and make my choices from a rational standpoint.
Of course, all of those words – conscious, aware, rational – are completely subjective, as is every experience of “reality” we have.
Many people would point to this woman and label her. “Crazy.” “Lost.” “Addict.” “Sad.” “Hurt.” After watching the video, what adjectives come to mind for you?
We often label others and apply stereotypes. Our mind wants to be able to sort and categorize data, and labeling and stereotypes help us to do that. But what if we’re wrong? How many times in your life have you been labeled or stereotyped by others, and how did that make you feel? Did you agree with the labels? Did they help you?
We are happy to receive “good” labels about ourselves. If someone says we’re smart, reliable, sweet, healthy, good-looking, etc. we often smile and thank them. But if they say “bad” things about us, or things that we don’t agree with, doesn’t that set up a resonance within us that feels uncomfortable? Does it make us question ourselves?
One of my favorite comedians talks about “life is just a ride.” And ultimately, when I see someone doing this (or really anything that I wouldn’t choose to do) with their life, I have to come back to the that and realize that “hey, it’s THEIR ride, not mine.”
One of the keys to creating the reality experience we wish for ourselves is acceptance. In order to develop acceptance we must develop honesty. And we must be MOST honest with ourselves, about ourselves.
This is a HUGE step! And one of the quickest ways to get honest with ourselves is to start examining the labels we apply to ourselves, to others, and to our experience itself.
Are you saying “I had a bad day today?” What was “bad” about it? Okay, now take a few moments and really dig deep, and answer the question; what was “good” about your day? Do you feel better when you ask yourself that question?
So often we label our experience with a simple “good” or “bad”, and don’t take a deeper look at what the specific details are, nor what the opposing details are. So, next time you catch yourself labeling something, whether it is yourself, another, or your experience, dig a little deeper and figure out just why you think that. Is that really your individual thought, or have you been trained to think that specific way, by your parents, school, friends? Does thinking that way really serve you and help you to create the experience you wish to have? Or is it just another “bad” habit? Either way, it’s your ride.
What do you want to do with YOUR RIDE? Leave your comments below…
Question Your Reality Episode 4
Aired Thursday, October 17, 2013
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