Reflections of our Inner World
We ought to acknowledge that we make from life that which is a reflection of our inner world. What we believe is true and what we conceive of reality in large part serves as a filter to confirm our beliefs and conceptions. There is an objective reality out there that is utterly out of our control, yet our responses to external events is in our control, and our responses are fundamentally shaped by the truth we believe in and the reality we conceive.
Life also has a way of simultaneously prompting a converse reflection on our inner world, to question ourselves about what we truly seek and the reasons why we seek it. Events that occur, whether by design or happenstance, serve as opportunities for important lessons, and often, when we don’t acquire the learning the first time around, life has a way of bringing us to the same point again and again but in a more dramatic manner. The message becomes more intense, more obvious or more impactful with every passage through the repeating episode.
1. Reactions to Circumstances
Carl Jung stated, “I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” Indeed, but the issue is not only about how much control we have over circumstances, because sometimes we have very little. It’s also about how much control we have over our reactions to circumstances. And here’s the catch: Our reactions to circumstances create more circumstances. The events that occur in and of themselves are neither good nor bad, they just are. We make them good or bad by how we interpret them and respond.
2. The Truth About Ourselves
There is never an experience in life that does not reveal some truth about ourselves, if we are open to learning and not afraid of what we might discover. But it’s important to be wise about what we know to be true and why we know it. It’s also important to question ourselves in ways that allow for new possibilities to emerge. Our challenge is to discern the match between our beliefs about reality and what actually exists in the objective world, or, conversely, to change the objective world as best we can in order to match our beliefs about what reality should be like. To believe in something that is not real is as counterproductive as to not believe in something that is real.
3. Making Choices
Our overall well-being is a matter of taking ownership and responsibility for the way in which we live our life, for who we are and what we do. Life is about making choices, and sometimes they are not the fairest ones. Wayne Dyer professed, “You are doomed to make choices. This is life’s greatest paradox.” For some people taking ownership and responsibility is not the easiest thing to do, either because they are afraid or are in denial, or they are accustomed to making excuses for things that go wrong. Taking ownership and responsibility, or not doing so, is a choice that in one way or another impacts all other choices.
4. Love and Relationships
The exact same principles apply to love. We make from love that which is a reflection of our inner world, and love has a way of simultaneously prompting a converse reflection on our inner world. Relationships are vehicles that help us express ourselves, but in many ways they also help us define ourselves. The people we attract into our lives, and the individuals with whom we enter into a romantic relationship, are a reflection of the value we give to our sense of self.
The most significant life lessons that essentially challenge what we believe to be true about ourselves and that change our character in the most meaningful ways are to be found in the experiences of a romantic relationship. St. Augustine proclaimed, “Love is the beauty of the soul.” In that beauty we begin to understand that true love is an amorphous thing that takes whatever shape is required to fill the time and space between two people. One thus never ceases to grow into wisdom if life is experienced for the lessons it offers on the mysteries of love.
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