What is reality

What is reality

Imagine that you get out of bed  on a winters morning, it is still dark, you look outside at the rain and see the trees swaying wildly in the wind, people are passing on the street with their coats pulled tight round them---- what is your reaction—do you shiver, wish you could climb back into bed, do you feel down?

 Now imagine that it is the following day, the rain has stopped, the wind has dropped, perhaps it is unseasonably bright and although it is the same time notice how different your reaction is—you don’t shiver, maybe you smile and go off to get ready for the day.

What is different?

In your house there is central heating but yesterday, based on what you observed you felt cold and depressed then today with the heating on the same setting you felt quite different not just physically but emotionally too.

The point of this is Reality--- is reality the same for everyone, do we all share identical experience, do we all feel the same, are we all in the same mood at the same time?

No of course not so why do we all feel different.

Think of a football match in the last minutes of a crucial game---half the crowd are ecstatic because they have a clear lead, the other half are desolate because their team has no chance of making up so late in the game. So what is the reality—are one half wrong to be sad or are one half wrong to be happy?

The true reality is that every person creates their own reality on a minute to minute basis based on their own beliefs, experiences, prejudices, expectations etc.

Think of a group of people witnessing an incident, think about the many different witness statements there will be--- not because people are lying or mistaken but because everyone will report based on the information that they have gathered / dismissed. The things that people notice will vary depending on their life experience: some notice people, some notice environment, some notice sound / colour/smell, those dominant senses skew the way individuals experience a situation but for each and every one of them what they describe is Reality 

 Reality, whose reality?

Reality is what you make it--- don’t get me wrong I am not saying that reality is your invention or imagination and in some way inferior or not valid, what I am saying is that reality is unique to each one of us. The fact that we share many things means that many of us experience the world in similar ( but not identical) ways which is why we are able to interact with each other.

To illustrate this imagine that your are sitting at the dinner table with a group of friends, you all have your position and have a good view of the whole table. In the centre is a floral display  and either side of it  are attractive candle holders, the dishes of food are placed on the table top. I may look and say…” the potatoes are in front of the candle to the right of the flowers” and that would be an accurate statement, my reality, but for someone on the other side of the table the statement  “the potatoes are behind the candle to the left of the flowers is equally accurate that is their realty.  The statements are true because they are based on the information that the brain accesses and processes at the time and the learned spatial awareness that has come from past experience. The fact that we are sophisticated, sentient beings means that we are able to appreciate another persons reality and process that information to further inform our own reality. At times this “borrowed” reality may conflict, detract or divert from our own perceptions leading us to make decisions that may not be in our own best interests. The effects of which can affect us for many years until they are resolved in some way. 

That simple analogy  needs to be scaled up a lot if we are to understand some peoples psychological perspectives. What they see, hear, feel, believe informs the conclusions they draw from events around them and the actions that they take. If you understand why they are doing seemingly bizarre things you then see that from their position their behaviour is natural and appropriate.

 From this we then have to look at things in our life that are not working for us, for actions that we take that we do not understand and things that we do automatically but which seem to work against us all the time.

 If we accept that our reality is personal, formed by our beliefs, prejudices, and desires and that what we do, experience and thereby suffer from is of our own making it naturally follows that by changing that which makes up our reality enables us to change our outcomes.

 How “your Reality” can impact your daily life.

 Here’s one example , there are many more: If you have an eating disorder your reality is different from the majority, you have beliefs about yourself and others that lead you into complicated forms of behaviour that, from an outsiders viewpoint, are very destructive but for which you may have logical explanations. There may also be things that you do that for a period, say after a traumatic event, were useful and helpful but which now have outlived their benefit and are actively hurting you. Those are the things that can be unlearned, they are habits that can be released and thrown off. The therapy therefore needs to start from your viewpoint and redirect the damaging thought patterns into more constructive ones. We need to help you to recognise what your goals and objectives are;  which of your strategies are helping you and which are not. We then need to develop new beliefs that lead to different feelings so that you can take different actions that will help and enrich you. For this to work we need to develop your self confidence because you will lead the recovery, then need to find the cause of Your unhappiness and resolve it, from there this behaviour will begin to change, you will the be able to develop new ways of coping. 

                                         Your condition is just the symptom 

If you would like to talk about issues that are not being resolved by your own effort talk to me, get some ideas on how to move forward, how to think in different ways, how to change the outcomes.



© Martin Williams 2013/15/16