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I had an interesting discussion awhile ago, live and in person with a Master Self Discovery trainer. She believes we absolutely create our reality. Later I chatted virtually with a group of survivors debating this idea. Several of them share the opposite opinion. It’s an interesting topic to consider.
I find myself falling on both sides of the fence. On the one side, I vehemently disagree that we always create our reality. For those of us who were children at the time of our traumas, it’s hard to accept, fathom, imagine — you choose the word — that we could even conceive of creating such a horrific reality for ourselves. No, I can’t find room for that idea. In the case of trauma (no matter what your age) I feel we end up as pawns in the creation of someone else’s reality.
Then, as children we haven’t learned enough about the world to know how to input the terror we feel into an appropriate framework of perception. As adults, we might learn the maxims of “bad things happen to good people” but as children we create our reality at face value. We take it for what it’s worth and interpret it that way, as personally and practically as we experience it. And so, maybe we do create a poor post-trauma reality but it’s because we don’t know any better. Not exactly the ‘choice’ involved in the suggestion creating your own reality infers.
So, again: No, I don’t believe we always create our reality because I think that’s unfair. No child intentionally brings suffering on him or herself. To say — in a way that suggests we have absolute control — that a child creates his reality assumes too much his own power in the moment. A power I don’t believe an immature child can absolutely possess.
On the other side, though, I DO believe that as adults after trauma we do create our reality. After trauma. Even in adults I have a hard time accepting that on the most innocent level anyone purposely creates pain. Well, no, that’s not exactly it either. I know in my darkest PTSD years I did purposely create even more pain because, as distorted as it was, it gave me a sense of control that made me feel safer and, ironically, more alive.
In the end, I split the realty question this way: Pre- and post-trauma. Pre-trauma I don’t believe we’re going along having a wonderful life and we purposely create a situation that just about kills us. Post-trauma, however, I do believe we have the choice about how we perceive past events, the present and the future. Insomuch as we can CHOOSE our perceptions (from a mature, adult perspective) then I think we do possess the ability to create our own reality.
Which does not mean we pretend the past does not exist, or the present does not have challenges. Rather, it means we view it in its proper perspective. As in: it is an event in the whole spectrum of my past but in the entire timeline of my life it is but one aspect of who I am. Or, what I have to do now in only a moment in the timeline of my life and then I will move forward.
This is where I believe our power to create our own reality sits: in how we view what happens to us, and what we do with that view, not necessarily in creating the tragedies that befall us but in designing how we proceed with our lives in the aftermath.
That’s how I see it. What’s your take?
(Photo acknowledgement on Flickr.)
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