Relationships with Reality

In the previous article “Unseen Relationships”, I talked about how we have a relationship with everything we interact with, and the power of looking at those relationships. Now, I want to talk about the most important relationship you have. That relationship is your relationship with reality.

We all have a different way we interact with reality, and as a result we also all have a different relationship with it. Some of us try to bully and force reality to be a certain way, some run from it, some hide from it, others fall victim to it. No matter, how you interact with reality, this relationship is probably the most important relationship you can have, because how you interact with reality determines your entire world and how you play with it.

How we and reality interact is very comparable to two kids playing pretend. One kid (either you or reality) will begin imagining something and the other will add on to it, and the two of you essentially create a story or adventure together. The part that becomes interesting with this interaction is that the kid you play with (reality) reacts differently depending on how you treat him/her, much like a real kid would. There is likely an infinite number of ways to interact with reality, but I want to give you four examples that I commonly see in people.

Imagine you are playing pretend with a kid, and the kid imagines something you don’t like or want in the story, you begin telling him/her he/she can’t do that, and deciding what is and is not ok for him to imagine. Chances are the kid will cooperate some, but like any kid, if you push too much, he/she will begin to fight you. Soon in your pretend game, you find yourself in a power struggle, where both you and the kid keep trying to be the dominant person to decide what happens. Clearly, there is nothing necessarily wrong with this kind of relationship, but there will be inherent conflict when you interact with reality, and chances are you will frequently find yourself stressed or exhausted from battling reality all the time.

Another scenario is that you find that this kid is loud and unpleasant and you hide from this kid. The kid doesn’t really care that you are scared of him/her and just simply wants to play; so, when you hide the kid constantly tries to find you and grab your attention, and the more you hide, the louder and more unpleasant the kid tries to be to get your attention. Again, there is nothing wrong with this relationship, but you will find yourself experiencing a lot of ups and downs. When you hide successfully from reality, you do actually get a reprieve and find yourself able to enjoy life for a moment, but it’s often only a matter of time before your reality catches up, and things become really unpleasant for a time.

A third scenario that often happens with people is they feel like they can’t play pretend. In this relationship, you play with the kid, but the kid does all the imagining. You spend so much time letting the kid imagine that you forget you even have an imagination yourself. You feel victim to whatever kid chooses to happen to you in his imagination. Many people wind up believing reality decides everything and that they have no deciding factor in their life. They don’t feel competent enough to influence their own life and so they let reality decide everything. Just like the other two relationships there isn’t anything wrong with interacting with reality like this. You waste very little effort and energy when you let reality do all the work, but the cost is you don’t get to decide where you wind up in life.

The last scenario is my personal choice of a relationship with reality. The kid and you try to work constructively together when imagining. Whenever the kid imagines something interesting you imagine it with them and try to add to it yourself. Even when the kid you play with imagines something you don’t like, you choose to work with it and make it fun for you anyway. Slowly the two of you develop a really exciting adventure that neither of you could create on your own. While, this interaction with reality is my preference, it oddly is not any better or worse than the prior mentioned scenarios. In this interaction you have to spend a lot of time learning to work constructively with reality and sharpen your ability build, create, and develop what is given to you by reality. As a result, this form of interaction uses a lot of energy and time, but is very fulfilling when done so.

There are many ways to interact with reality, and I encourage you to notice how you and others actually play with what reality presents you. Often when you can understand how you interact with reality, you can understand why things are the way they are in your life.

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