What might happen if you dared to look at you reality? What if it gave you the courage to really live your life?
Sometimes you don’t want to look at your reality. With or without awareness, you may be trying to avoid or escape certain aspects of your life. While you pretend not to see what is going on, reality is still happening to you, and refusing to see it is depriving you of the opportunity to actively create your life.
Does this sound like you? We all avoid facing our reality from time to time, as a temporary and necessary coping strategy. But, when it becomes a way of living, it’s a different story…
How do you know you are avoiding your reality?
Have you caught yourself constantly pretending that “everything’s ok” when deep inside you know the truth? Are you tired of trying so hard to put on a happy face and be positive?
While being happy and positive is highly desirable, it can also be a defense. Being happy and positive works when your life reflects your internal reality, butt pretending to be happy and trying too hard to be positive can be a defense against facing what’s really going on in your life.
If you find yourself being frustrated, moody, irritable, angry, resentful, tired, disconnected, and inefficient despite your efforts to be happy and positive, it may be a sign you are using “being happy and positive” as a way to protect yourself. This unhealthy defense is keeping you apparently happy, not genuinely happy.
No matter how hard you try to avoid the way you really feel, eventually you’ll trip over your reality or find that you are totally stuck. Facing and working with your reality, no matter how challenging it is, actually allows you to be positive from a genuine emotional space. That healthy positiveness that creates solutions, possibilities, and opportunities for your challenges.
Sometimes, people force themselves to stay in a positive mode until they fall apart and end up damaging their relationships, or career, or becoming physically ill. Although falling apart is tough, it is also an opportunity to start the transition from happy as a defense to a more real happiness. In times of falling apart, people make big transformations by owning and working with their reality.
You don’t have to wait to fall apart to start facing and working with your reality.
As your life reflects more of who you are, you won’t have to work so hard to be happy. Real joy comes from inside out. It’s also something that you can consciously create. Real joy, from inside out or consciously created, is very different than pretending…
Being actively engaged in creating your life and pushing through the challenges while savoring life’s precious moments, it is an art. The Art of Facing Reality.
I specifically work with creatives and performers, so this idea of facing reality as an art form is a metaphor that artists embrace, but it really is a creative practice that anyone can do.
As you start creating more beauty in your life and strive to replace what isn’t working, remember it’s not about having the perfect life. It’s about creating a life that represents you – with all your human challenges, nuances, mistakes, and imperfections. And, it’s about the world becoming a better place because of how you’re changing and how you impact everything and everyone around you.
How do you get to a place of such genuine joy?
First, take a look at into your reality. Give yourself some time to be with what you see, without trying to analyze it, understand it, or change it. Just be with what you see, for as long as you can, seeing as deep as you can.
When you are ready to take another peek, do so. Again, just be with what you see. Any fears, any disappointments, any sadness… just let feelings be.
This gradual taking-in of your reality will help you build your ability to tolerate any difficult feelings that may be triggered during this process. It may take a few peeks before you can actually really look at your reality.
When you can look at your reality without feeling overwhelmed, you can start actively creating your life. Begin by asking yourself questions like this:
– Is it anything you cannot change, no matter what you do?
Accept what you can’t change as a kind of active decision. In this way, you can choose how to be with what you cannot change instead of letting it control you.
– Is there something that you could change but instead choose to let it be? It’s OK, as long as you actively make that choice and you know why and how it impacts your life.
– Finally, what is it that you really want to put your energy into actively changing? Even the smallest changes can start shifting your life into a new direction.
By daring to look at your life and asking, and answering these questions honestly, you can start the transition from avoiding your reality to truly creating your reality. You are engaged with your reality, actively participating in your life.
While you start making changes and pushing through challenges, remember to just be and savor life’s pleasures. Stop and smell the roses, feel the wind, listen to the music you love, watch your favorite movies, read a book that inspires you. Dance if you love to move your body.
If find yourself overwhelmed or paralyzed by fears or anxiety, STOP. It may be that some of the things that you are avoiding are too painful or too deep in your unconscious. This is when you need professional help. This is when you might call me for support. To further explore addressing this anxiety and fear, read my Anxiety Treatment page.
I am Mihaela Ivan Holtz, Doctor in Clinical Psychology working with creatives and performers. I help creatives and performers with their life struggles, depression, anxiety, performance anxiety, creativity, relationships and love, PTSD, and addictions. And, to become their own best version.
160 South Lasky Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90212