January eighth would have been the 81st birthday for the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley. His death in 1977 was not accepted by many people swearing they had seen him in disguise in many different locations. The headlines of one of the weekly scandal sheets declared that a statue of Elvis had been found on Mars. His mansion, Graceland, became a place of pilgrimage on a par with Lourdes where many people claimed to have been cured of their ailments. Where is the reality in all of this?
When something or someone has had a major impact on your life, it is difficult for many to let go – to accept the reality of the loss. The reaction to the death of Elvis will sound amusing to many people, but for those who felt that way, it was their reality.
We all have our own perspective on reality based primarily on our experiences and our emotional responses to them. Just think of all the religious and political viewpoints that people cling to. Can they all be right? What if they were?
Take a moment to think of the things you believe in and are convinced in your heart of hearts are true. Now I will pose another question – if everyone is thinking the same thing, is anyone actually thinking?
I am old enough to remember when Elvis became famous. Beginning in 1954, I eagerly awaited his next records and was thrilled when he appeared on television. He really touched my generation.
The Beatles came along in the sixties touching the lives of the hippy generation. I was a soldier for most of the sixties and hated the long-haired, pot-smoking, free-loving excuses for youth that emerged. Nor could I understand why so many Americans shunned the opportunity to fight in a perfectly good war in Viet Nam and ran away to hide in my country. That was my reality.
The challenges involved in facing the facts are two-fold. Both are important as they embrace honesty, responsibility, and respect, and they alleviate problems of low self-esteem and confidence – all key components of living happily.
First of all, is the reality of seeing yourself for who you truly are. No, not the one who has put on a few pounds, is sagging in places that used to be firm, or is getting more grey hair. I am talking about the REAL YOU who is held back by negative self-talk, an inability to communicate your needs, and fears of failure.
Have you made those factors your reality? If you believe them, then they are so.
Even before you were born, energies existed which shaped how you saw the world. Were you loved, supported and given positive guidance during your formative years or was it something much different? Victim thinking can begin very early.
During my years working as a counsellor, I always tried to get a picture of the attitudes that set the ball in motion in a person’s life. They are what sets up the filters through which one will create their reality.
I am well versed in the challenges I had to overcome to become the man I am today. I have had to break many shackles and slay a few dragons along the way. Before I could do that, however, I had to be aware they were there. Previously I could not see them. I just felt that I had been dealt a lousy hand and would have to continue being a loser. I did not realize that the power was within me to change my life in dramatic ways and accomplish things I never felt possible.
You can do this as well.
Secondly, realize that everyone else also struggles with reality and wear different masks to pretend otherwise. Instead of being afraid of them, accept and respect them for who they are. Their beliefs and ways of doing things may seem distorted to you, but for them, it is the best they’ve got.
“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask.”– Jim Morrison