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We Do Not See Things as They Are. We See Things as WE Are.

Every morning I watch the news while I enjoy my coffee. Most times I’m listening to keep up with things that are going on in the world. This morning I heard something different. I heard a lot of talk about pain. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t the news that triggered this thought. Rather it was the commercials. The majority of the advertisements were either personal injury lawyers or some type of pharmaceutical product. As I listened to their messages, I could tell they were going for the same target market – vulnerable people in pain. Please know that I think there is a need for attorneys and pharmaceutical products. However, I am troubled at the message the commercials are sending to a group of people that obviously need help. The message sounds like this, “If you are hurting, I have the quick answer.” “I’ll make you feel better with either money or medicine.” Perhaps this is true, but what if it’s not? If it’s not, then what is the answer for helping vulnerable people in need? I’ve thought about this quite a bit. I’ve tried to pinpoint the mentality of those giving the message and of those receiving it. I don’t know these people personally and can’t tell you definitively what their mindset is. The truth is it doesn’t matter. It only matters that someone is in pain and/or unhappy and looking for an answer. What is the answer? The answer is different for everyone and regardless of who you are, the solution begins internally.

Every person endures some type of pain in their lifetime. We all process and handle the pain in different ways. There is truly no right or wrong way to feel or react to tough circumstances. Each person is unique and feels things in their own manner. Individuals cope with pain in different ways too. We’ve all noticed the person that seems to be strong. We also notice the people that seem to lash out or struggle more with overcoming. What is the reason that people respond in varied ways? What makes one person more resilient than the next? There are many reasons for this and a full discussion is beyond the scope of this blog. I would like to touch upon one idea that is worth thinking about. That is that an individual’s ability to cope with pain is directly related to their level of self-awareness and willingness to improve.

Self-awareness and the willingness to improve are key to success in all aspects of one’s life. Taking true stock of one’s self is a beneficial exercise. A simple way to do this is to pay close attention to how we respond to people going through a hardship. Are you compassionate or judgmental? Do you respond in love and understanding or do you critique how they are handling the situation? Do you assume the best or the worst? One of my favorite quotes is “We don’t see things as they are. We see things as WE are.” This simple quote lets us know that we judge others based upon things happening in OUR minds, hearts, and lives. Once we internalize this concept, we can achieve better self-awareness. If we are seeking to improve ourselves, we can make a change in how we respond to others. The practice of increasing self-awareness and adjusting behavior for the best outcome is one way individuals become more successful and resilient in all situations. It takes practice, but certainly is achievable.

Most of my blogs are about self-realizations and growth that I have experienced. This morning I responded to a series of commercials in a much different manner than I have in the past. I tried to remember how I used to respond. The honest answer is I would make fun of the commercials with no true thought as to what they were saying or to whom they were appealing, then I’d turn the channel. I responded this way because I was looking for a way to build my self-esteem. I was putting others down and thinking less of them so that I could feel better about myself. Ouch. This morning I realized I felt true compassion for both the advertiser and their target market. Why was this morning different? The last six months have been fantastic for me in terms of personal development. I was ready to grow and not at the expense of others. I have freely shared my pain, progress, and successes with you in hopes that you can relate and find your own path to happiness. Today, I’d like to leave you with a challenge – pay attention to how you respond to people. Are you the vulnerable person I mentioned earlier? Are you the one judging others? Are you the one responding with true compassion? You’re answer to this question will give you some great insight on yourself and how you might handle challenges. I hope you find this useful. Have a fantastic week!

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