How About a Dose of Reality? A myriad of possibilities waiting to be explored


Still Life from an Oil Painting
Image by Jill Clardy via Flickr

I was watching one of those mindless but oh so addictive reality shows where they show pictures of botched up celebrity plastic surgeries and I just couldn’t get over how these beautiful people, who have so much going for them, and seemingly limitless amounts of money  are never satisfied with what they have. Over and over again they go back and perform the surgeries that change their appearance and yet they are never satisfied with the outcome they get. The same reality show I was watching showed  how some careers have been destroyed by a single change in appearance.

I once wrote about how being grateful can actually enhance your mood and in the long run give you a better quality of life. In my article, ‘A helping of Gratitude’ I also stated that people who are grateful tend to be more in tune with their feelings and the needs of others.

Well, being grateful is not enough. You have to go beyond being grateful. Accept the situation as it is before exploring ways to improve it. In some cases an improvement on the situation is impossible. In such cases a different approach is needed. You may be missing out on the possibilities that might be staring at you.

Paul Cezzane, an artist who lived in the 1800’s tried over and over to create permanence by drawing and redrawing still life portraits of fruits. He was known to paint for long agonizing periods so that the fruit would go bad and even then he never felt satisfied with the actual product he had.  What’s amazing is that the same still life’s (Still Life with Apples) that Cezzane never felt he could truly capture ended up being  some of the best and most priced  pieces of still life that other greats like Picasso tried to emulate.

Anything that happens has the potential of having real value to your life. Spending time being grateful will get you halfway there. Take a real look at a given situation and see it for all the possibilities it presents. Instead of doing and redoing the same thing with the same dismal results, why not try accepting the situation and trying to see how it could work for your present situation.

On a side note, I have to mention who Andrew Porter is. He wrote a book called, ‘The Authenticity Hoax, How We Get Lost in Finding Ourselves’. I was nodding, and mumbling while reading this book, much to the chagrin and irritation of my husband. He talks about how we spend so much time trying to be authentic and in the mean time buy into the consumerism that could facilitate your authenticity. My take on it, is that the more you search for answers sometimes, the more you will get lost. Sometimes a situation just is. If things are not going well, then just aren’t. If you don’t like your nosy neighbor, well you just don’t. Being grateful will only get you so far. It will improve your mood, but it won’t solve anything.

This urge to redo what we don’t like in front of us that leads to dissatisfaction and no matter how grateful you are about things you already have; accepting what is in front of you may help get you out of the frustration and anxiety that follows an undesirable outcome. Instead you may actually be missing out on the myriad of possibilities staring right at you waiting to be explored rather than changed.

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2 thoughts on “How About a Dose of Reality? A myriad of possibilities waiting to be explored

  1. The poignancy and relevance of this article has left me smiling – in gratitude and also chagrin at the times recently that I’ve completely discounted what is – the reality of the situation; my ego bulldozing ahead in a bid to change it and in the process, sabotaging myself and creating suffering.

    It occured to me the other day that some of us are afraid of facing how we feel about a situation. I may have a neighbor that I think is irritating/obnoxious/has incessantly-barking dog. The irritation we then feel makes us feel threatened. It threatens the idea we have of ourselves – as open, tolerant, civilized, peaceful types. So we quickly try to hide/discount our feelings and improve on them at the same time (“authenticate”). We can all attest to what a failure that can sometimes be.

    What if we can just acknowledge to ourselves “I hate that bloody neighbor and I would kill that dog if I could get away with it” and it’s okay that I have these feelings? Then we can go about the business of being ourselves and finding strategies not to let neighbor get us down; infact we can accept him/her and even find a certain humor in the person …. okay maybe not go that far.

    Your blog is a beacon of intelligence and good sense, keep up the great job 🙂

    1. Hello Helena,

      You are right when you say that quote, ” some of us are afraid of facing how we feel about a situation.”
      What may at first glance be a small irritant may expand into a voluminous enigma that might overflow and encompass anything that is associated with it such as the case of the dog being irritating and by extension the neighbor.
      We work very hard (sometimes too hard) to have positive feelings that we sometimes discount what we are truly feeling.
      Your example of the irritating/obnoxious neighbor reminds me of one such neighbor I have. I think everyone has at least one of those. My neighbor’s dogs seemed to always bark louder every time I’d put my son down for a nap which would wake him up right away. As my resentment towards the dogs grew, so did my antagonistic feelings towards my neighbor.
      I finally had to acknowledge my feelings towards the disruption to my life that the dogs brought, approached my neighbor and confessed the trouble we were experiencing and they moved the dogs to a different part of their house. For some reason once I had validated those feelings, the dogs relevance to my life was relegated to the background leaving me to focus on the more positive parts of my life.

      Thank you for posting Helena.

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