what is reality?
it depends
on how you see it!

What is reality? The dictionary defines reality as the quality or state of being actual or true. While there are certain facts that are generally accepted by most people as being true, so much about life and the universe is open to interpretation.

When we are younger, many of us tend to see the world in clearly defined terms of black and white, right and wrong. As we travel further down the path of life experience, we often begin to see things in a vast array of shades of grey. In seeking an answer for what is reality, we discover that often, reality is fluid.

What is reality? sometimes it's just popular belief

For much of history, most people believed that the world was flat. Of course, we now know that the world is round, but if we had lived before the 1500s, our reality would most likely have been a flat earth.

It stands to reason then, that there may very well be things which we believe now to be true, that sometime in the future will be proven to be incorrect.

how does this affect us?

So then, what is reality in our daily lives? When we realize that in effect, reality is simply what we believe to be true, and that even widely held beliefs can change over time, we can also take responsibility for creating our own reality by consciously choosing our beliefs.

reality or opinion?

Reality is also highly subjective, meaning that what we believe to be true becomes true in our minds. What is true for us, though, may be vastly different from how someone else perceives this same ‘reality.’

Just as ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder,’ reality is also shaped by our own vision. According to Greek philosopher, Democritus, “Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion.” This leaves a lot of scope for our answers to ‘what is reality?’

choose your outlook

Our answer to ‘What is reality?’ is greatly affected by the general outlook we have.

We can choose to see the beauty and miracles in every situation, and as a result experience a beautiful and miraculous reality.

Alternatively, if we constantly focus on what’s wrong in our lives and the world though, our reality is going to be pretty miserable.

As Einstein said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

direct your focus

Selectively observing reality allows us to direct our focus and our actions in a way that can produce the most effective results, and to avoid feeding energy to things we do not want to experience.

As we become aware of thought patterns that are dragging us down rather than lifting us up and make a conscious and consistent decision to direct our thoughts, we can see evidence of how our thoughts create our reality.

moving into action

To begin creating a new reality, we really need to be sure that the goals we are heading for are the ones we know in our hearts are right for us.

We need to become really clear about how we truly want to shape our reality, and then we need a plan for how to get there.

Without a clear knowledge of where we want to go, and a plan of how to start moving in that direction we are very likely to be struggling up a ladder that is resting on a wall we don’t even want to climb.

Too often, we take steps to accomplish someone else’s vision of what is right for us, and then sometime down the track we wonder why the progress we are making is not making us happy.

one step at a time

Once we know where we are heading and we have the ‘ladder’ of a workable plan firmly in place, we just need to take the first step. That’s all- just one step. Lift that foot and plant it on the first rung of your ladder.

Don’t look up and worry about how far away the top seems. Distance is all perspective anyway. Things are often much closer than they seem. Take that one step. And then do it again. Just one step is all you ever need to take.

notice your progress

Somewhere along the line, you will realize that those single steps have made an enormous difference in your external reality and your perception of what is reality. Just by taking small actions, repeatedly, it is amazing how quickly your life can change. Pause to congratulate yourself often.

Every day that you take one step towards the reality you want to experience is a cause for celebration. I like the affirmation “I tell myself often what a great job I’m doing.” This reminds me to appreciate everything that I am doing, and not to focus on what I’m not doing, or what I ‘should’ be doing.

final thoughts

In exploring, creating, and understanding reality, a touch of humor never goes astray. When questioned about what is reality, Albert Einstein replied that "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."

Every day we have choices, and those choices shape our lives. We have the power to create an external reality that is as amazing as anything we can imagine, so discover the power of mindset.

So in essence, what is reality? Reality is what we make it. As author B. Quilliam said, “There is a fine line between dreams and reality, it's up to you to draw it.”

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