126 Days ’til 40: Distorting Reality

18 Oct



Let us take things as we find them: let us not attempt to distort them into what they are not… We cannot make facts. All our wishing cannot change them. We must use them. ~ John Henry Newman

Humankind cannot bear very much reality. ~ T.S. Eliot

I am a person that has been accused from time to time of being slightly linear (no, really, no sarcasm here!) The irony is that I am the first one to admit that we do not live in a black and white world, but a world full of many shades and colors.  I love to see the world and analyze it.  I love to explore and embrace it.

I have found, however, that the lens I view the world through is not always the same lens that others view the world through.  Being able to reconcile these differences is often necessary for us to live together……  something that is a challenge for playground foes and for countries……..

I have found that two participants in an event will often walk away from the event with very different narratives.  Sometimes this is within the realm of normalcy, and other times the differences are accounted for due to psychological deficits in one or both parties.

When the distortions are more than “normal” I find myself asking why – what is the reason that people need to distort reality.  Perhaps there are many reasons???  I think sometimes people “re-write” their version of reality in order to alleviate guilt and to help make themselves feel better.  Sometimes people re-write reality to avoid emotional pain or rejection.  Sometimes people rewrite history in order to deny bad choices they have made.

Before I was in a position of leadership, I ran many groups for students in the schools I worked in.  One of the skills/ character traits I used to work with students, parents and teachers on was feeling comfortable with reality.  I also learned quickly that as I modeled the ability to own my issues, admit I was not perfect, and ask forgiveness when I make mistakes, it empowered others in my midst to do the same.  It was so wonderful to see those behaviors start to spread.

While I know people think they are protecting themselves as they distort reality, they actually cause more harm to themselves and those around them.  By choosing to face reality as it comes, we are standing strong.  We are strong in our humanness, in our vulnerability, in our sensitivity, and in our desire to connect on deeper levels with those around us.  We break down walls as we allow ourselves to live in reality and truth.

Today, 126 days ’til 40, I am thankful to work with many individuals who have committed themselves to living an authentic life.



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26 responses to “126 Days ’til 40: Distorting Reality

  1. 1smiles

    October 18, 2012 at 00:19

    Trying to live an authentic life, but afraid that sometimes I fail miserably.

    • 400daystil40

      October 18, 2012 at 22:24

      Yes, I think many of us feel the same way…

  2. A Table in the Sun

    October 18, 2012 at 01:30

    Yes, being vulnerable is so important. If people see you as some icon who doesn’t understand their world, they will continue to employ their own reality. I am very reality based in my work and home worlds, but I find that a sense of humor goes a long way which is why I love to spin the idiosyncrasies I find in the world into fun blog stories.

  3. buckwheatsrisk

    October 18, 2012 at 02:06

    is the picture distorted or something? 😉

  4. sakuraandme

    October 18, 2012 at 02:51

    My mum is 1 of 11 children! ask them about a particular incident growing up… and they all have a different perception on things. *very weird* same incident yet you get about 8 different variations of whatever the truth actually was!! …but to each of them..that was the truth!!!
    I suppose we all perceive things differently! xxx

    • 400daystil40

      October 18, 2012 at 22:22

      Wow, that is a large family – I am sure there were many variations of everything that happened!

  5. Spider42

    October 18, 2012 at 11:14

    I’ve missed reading your posts amid all my business. Nice to come back to this one right off the bat.
    I really like the quotes you’ve used, though in my experience I would be somewhat disinclined to agree with Mr. Newman, simply because I’m of the school of thought that finds reality to be highly subjective.
    I do agree with what you say about accepting certain things and owning your life and your mistakes, but what things mean, what results from what, what teaches what and any number of the multitude of things life brings around is often subjective and open to both chance and interpretation.
    As a science minded person, I agree that there is cause and effect and there are certain truths that are pretty much universal and irrefutable – certain consequences and the like, the same – but beyond that, once we get down to why we do certain things and go to personal choices, then it becomes all too important to (as Im sure you must have also realised) take into account where the individual is coming from, what they see when looking at the same thing as you and manys-the-time when a perception is what it is and will always be so because that is what that person is…

    In the end though, most things fit the mold of reality and perceiving the world a certain way, but there are some things and some people that will always be the exception that proves the rule.

    Cheers! 😉

    • 400daystil40

      October 18, 2012 at 22:26

      I have missed reading your great comments! In fact, I was thinking about you the other day and wondering how you were doing. How are you? How is life treating you? Are you away from the blogging world because you are doing well???

      I agree with you completely…. 🙂

      • Spider42

        October 22, 2012 at 08:15

        Thanks, I’m doing alright, as you can see from my last post (and updated in the new one I’m going to put up), I’ve been travelling a lot for my day job recently and running like the proverbial headless chicken between that and my fledgling writing career.
        But I’m never too far from the blogging world and find my way back here sooner or later! 😉

        • 400daystil40

          October 22, 2012 at 18:29

          Yes, it looks like you have been very busy! I am lucky and am going to get to travel a bit for work next month. I hope the travels have been enjoyable for you – even if you are a bit of a headless chicken!

          • Spider42

            October 23, 2012 at 15:24

            Haven’t you heard? Headless chickens have even more fun than blondes! 🙂
            Enjoy your travels – hope you’re going somewhere fun/nice/chilled.

          • 400daystil40

            October 23, 2012 at 22:49

            🙂 🙂

  6. Spider42

    October 18, 2012 at 11:15

    Really creepy choice of picture by the way!

  7. Another Thousand Words

    October 19, 2012 at 00:06

    Wow, 400, you really gave kitty a workout on this image…which is actually quite wonderful!!! I’ll keep the secret!

    Re: distorted reality…it seems some do not, or will not, truly ‘listen’ or ‘see’. These are people with extremely clouded vision, who seem to inhabit their own quite pitiful fantasy worlds…similar to Alice’s, where ‘up is down’ and ‘black is white’. They will shy away from reality, taking all their time to construct their own paltry walls, while missing out on the beauty of Life beyond…and find, eventually, what they are left with was falsity.

    When I am out on one of my walks, I never fail to find some piece of the real world to photograph, hoping and praying that the viewers of my blog take a moment to see, to look closely at the marvels around us…even if it is simply a dying/dead flower.

    • 400daystil40

      October 19, 2012 at 22:27

      hehehe – the joys of cool photo taking programs. Yes, what you say is soo true! I love what you are saying about walks and photography. I am wondering if after 40 I will do a month or so of a picture a day blogs…

      • Another Thousand Words

        October 19, 2012 at 23:36

        Not a bad idea, 400…you certainly have the eye for taking fine images, and the camera/software to do some beauteous posts!

        • 400daystil40

          October 20, 2012 at 23:23

          Thank yo so much! I LOVE taking photos. I have no clue what I am doing, really – which is why I am then very happy when I Get a good shot!

          • Another Thousand Words

            October 21, 2012 at 05:24

            Keep going at it! The old Latin saying is “Experientia docet.”…”Experience teaches!”

  8. viveka

    October 19, 2012 at 14:18

    Personal I think most people are aware of their relativity – but somehow can’t accept it – I don’t understand that. Of course it hard to live a life that isn’t real must be an absolute nightmare .. to pretend so soon they leave their home, because I don’t think anyone can manage to pretend at home too. Scary really – that there is a need to pretend an existence. Your cat looks really spooky .. in a Halloween mood .. maybe.

    • 400daystil40

      October 19, 2012 at 22:28

      Very good points – you are correct… like this quasi-denial – not wanting or able to really face reality.

      • simon7banks

        October 21, 2012 at 21:03

        I’s not necessarily a distortion. Facts need interpretation. The fact is that Sue did not return Bill’s text message or that civil war (OK, or war between the states) broke out in the USA in 1861. Why? That’s a matter of interpretation. Some theories can be effectively disproved, but others can’t.

        I was recalling today an episode in one of my favourite TV serials (“New Tricks”, if you want to know, and it’s in the UK but almost certainly not available in the US). A detective helping an unfamiliar team comments that the female boss is “all right”. He asks about a colleague and is told “Brian’s all right…”. He asks about the boss’s boss and is told “He’s all right…”. What is said after “all right” helps us interpret the remarks, but a huge amount was conveyed by tone so that I interpreted that in the first instance, the newcomer was commenting on the female boss’s appearance rather than professional skill; in the second case, the reply conveyed warmth; and in the third case, a degree of wary respect. But none of that is uncontrovertible fact. However, if you stick with the facts alone you’ve learnt very little.


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