Want A Real Life? Then Let Go Of The Fairytale
In previous blogs I wrote about the first two principles of the MORE Philosophy which are movement and opportunity. Hand in hand with these previous principles is the concept of reality. To achieve the outcome of an exceptional life you need to live in the real world! Living in a fantasy will only yield a fantasy, and frankly that is pretty unfulfilling.
A fairytale may be pretty and perfect and have a “happy” ending, but it is not real. It is insubstantial and nothing else truly exists there but your imagination. It is healthy to have fantasies, to use your imagination to create visions for the future, but those exceptional moments that offer opportunity and require movement, only exist in the real world.
Fantasy, imagination, and visionary thinking are essential, but in order for vision to have an impact, there needs to be an action that then emerges in the real world. This information is the R of the MORE philosophy. We need to recognize fantasy and wishes for what they are, and pay attention to the real world that is right in front of us. It is filled with people, noise, smells, and sounds, and although amazingly beautiful it is messy and ugly at times.
Life provides “reality checks,” and we need to pay attention to them. Often we do not want to see the reality check, because we have attached ourselves to a fantasy or a hope for the future that will not allow us to accept the reality of today.
To understand this principle of the MORE philosophy let’s take a look at Susie. She is thirty five and wanted nothing more than to be a Mom, to live in a loving home, and be the best wife and mother possible. She knows that her husband Randy treats her poorly, and never seems to appreciate all the things she does for him and their daughter. He was never faithful to her, even when they were dating, but he told her that he would change when he became a father.
Suzie feels stuck, but does not really want to change things. She tells herself that the right thing to do is to stay with Randy as she wants her daughter to grow up with both her parents, and not live in a broken home. Randy has always wanted a son, and Susie sometimes wonders whether, if they had another child, this would change things and bring their family closer. On some level, though, she knows this is not the answer. Their home is not a healthy, happy place for her daughter, but Susie talks herself into staying, because she keeps the hope alive that one day it might get better.
Susie has attached herself to an idealized version of what she thinks her life should be, and is ignoring the reality of what her life is. Without paying attention to the reality, she will continue to miss opportunities for movement and growth, and she will stay stuck and unhappy.
Just like Susie, we have all used one form of justification or another, but the whole time, if we listen and pay attention, our intuition is trying to give us a reality check. Oddly, it is our intuition that is trying to tell us the truth, the real story, and it is our mind that is telling us the make-believe story.
Reality checks are often painful and difficult, but if you do not heed them, they tend to come back harder, more strongly, and more painfully. In the end, the cost of denying reality becomes very high indeed. If you fight it, the reality check costs you more as time passes. If you listen and accept the reality check, it will lead you toward the exceptional life you seek. The gift is that it is never too late to listen to the reality check and turn things around, but the work will be harder the longer you wait.
Intrinsically, the longer Susie ignores what is going on in her life, the more difficult it will be to turn it around. If she continues on as she is, she will increasingly disconnect from her intuition and her purpose. We limit our ability to participate and contribute if we are stepping out of the real world.
Life is meant to have all the elements. There is no relationship of substance without some disappointments and difficulties. Without despair there is no joy. Without tears there is no laughter. There is a duality to the real world and therefore, the entire picture helps us appreciate and enjoy what is in front of us. If every day were Christmas, it might feel great for a few days, but then this “special” occasion would become old and “not so special.”
Life is meant to change and have room for both the special and the mundane. As Suzie has denied her reality she has sunken deeper into despair and disappointment, the only way out for her is to let go of the fairytale and start to deal with the reality of her situation – even when the reality check is a harsh one.
Reality is not to be avoided, or distorted in order to fit into our idealistic fantasy of what we wish we could have. We need our reality checks even when they disappoint us as they will also ground us and provide us the information that is needed when making decisions. What we have to contribute always means the most when we are being real. Our reality checks can lead us out of the dark and toward purpose. There is a great joy in being authentic in your real life and sharing with the world the treasures that can only be found by accepting who you really are and what you really have.