Your reality is shaped by your beliefs, thoughts, and previous experiences. Your reality is a function of your consciousness. Current experiences, of course, further shape or prove or disprove your thoughts and beliefs that redefine your reality.
I remember an incident many years ago as vividly as if it happened yesterday. A friend was quite offended when I said “We create our own reality.” I specifically used the collective “we” so she understood that I meant everyone, not just her. She defended an opposite belief; she preferred to believe that the world does things to her. I rarely argue about beliefs, so I let the difference pass.
I am grateful that I had such an experience early in my career. Since this incident, I have been more cautious about how I present this idea. It depends on your current state of consciousness as to how you are likely to view this phenomenon of creating your own reality. For example,
*If you are a person who feels like a victim, you might perceive this statement as an accusation.
*If you are a person who is overly controlling (or one who wants to take control), you might consider the statement is an invitation to manipulate the Universe.
*If you are a person who desires to accept responsibility for your life, you are likely to find this idea of creating your own reality deeply transformational. If a particular situation is a mess, the idea that you can create a new situation is empowering. So, what at first seems like “bad news” is “good news.”
Recently, I worked with a client who considered he was in a mess. Jim did not question the fact that he had created this mess, because he had already embraced the idea of creating his own reality. His questions was, “Why would I do this to myself?” I immediately responded with “I don’t think that’s a very helpful question now. Let’s look at ‘how’ rather than ‘why’ so that you can use the same strategies to help you out of the mess that got you into the mess.” Our discussion was much richer as a result of looking at “how” rather than “why.” Quickly we identified the specific thoughts and concepts that led him into the mess, and honed in on those to began his journey out of the mess.
“Why would I do this to myself” was not a wise question for Jim at that time for a very specific reason. I recognized a belief in him that I also recognize in so many people these days who embrace or try to embrace the idea of “creating your own reality.” Often packaged with this principle, unfortunately, is the belief that you do certain things to yourself so that you can learn something that you missed learning earlier.
Without a doubt, you can learn something from every situation, whether the situation is empowering or disempowering. However, I think more often it is a desire to recover as much value as possible from a mess that allows you to find meaning in a messy situation. Unfortunately, the prevailing conclusion is that the mess is required to create the learning. I know you can learn from any situation, so I encourage you to be aware of what you are learning whether you stand in a state of joy or a state of messiness.
“What thoughts put me here?” is a more valuable question than “Why would I do this to myself?” It is the thoughts (beliefs, perceptions, opinions, ideas, etc.) that create your reality. You use thoughts to create your reality, whether you are aware of the thoughts or not and whether you are aware of the process or not. So, if a certain set of thoughts got you into a mess that you do not like, then another set of thoughts can get you out of the mess. If you get hung up pondering why you are in the mess, you are likely to be in the mess longer, rarely receiving a significant return on investment of time and energy.
If you use your thoughts and beliefs as tools instead of perceiving them as facts, you bring into your conscious awareness something that is already and always working for you. Some may say thoughts work against you rather than for you, but I consider that depends on whether you are in a mess or have stepped out of one.
Thoughts and beliefs work on all levels of your consciousness. Some beliefs you are aware of enough to articulate, others you become aware of as you think or talk, if you listen to yourself. Others are inherited or cultural; many beliefs are taught as facts in school and elsewhere. It is helpful to remember for every thought that exists, its opposite or absence also exists. It can be very empowering to recognize that you choose your thoughts from among the myriad of possibilities.
The more strongly held the belief, on any level of consciousness including cultural consensus, the more likely you are to create reality that substantiates the belief. A helpful definition of a belief is a repeated thought.
Let’s go to a party… Let’s suppose you go to a party with two others: one person has a pattern of seeing what is wrong and/or missing; the other has a pattern of seeing what is right and/or wonderful. Afterward, the three of you talk about the party. As you compare notes, you begin to wonder if you all were at the same party. Yes, you were at the same party physically. No, you were not at the same party in consciousness. Each of the three of you created your own party. This is magnificently empowering.