Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wellness Wednesday: Accepting Reality....

It was interesting to read the comments on what we would all do if we didn't have any limitations.

Of course, limitations are a part of life, too. The culture most of us were raised in proports that we should all have anything we want, whenever we want it. There are no limitations. There are only opportunities. "Challenges are just opportunities with the wrapping still on."


Horse puckey!

I think part of growing up is accepting that we all have limitations of one type or another. I have health limitations, financial limitations, age limitations and social limitations.

One of the best ways to be well in my opinion is to create a life worth living within those limitations, rather than denying them. To accept them gives us a realistic operational framework as a baseline.

I think it's much healthier to do that instead of hanging on to magical thinking, the belief that if we just want it hard enough or believe it strongly enough that we can have everything we ever dreamed of.

Dreams and fantasies are largely a child's pursuit, a way of developing creativity and establishing possibilities. As long as they are realistic, it can help a kid come up with self-knowledge and the ability to discover his or her own passions and natural inclinations. In adults, unrealistic fantasies are very unattractive.

Read the personals ads in any newspaper to show the disconnect between reality and fantasy.

What do you think?



Border Explorer said...

Yes I agree with your stance. I'm not a fan of The Secret, for instance, for that reason.

Leann said...

I disagree with you somewhat on this issue. I believe that if you want something badly enough you can make it happen. You can make it happen within limitations, but anything is possible.

I am a firm believer in The Secret.

To dash someone's dreams and desires seems cruel to me and who am I to say they can or cannot make it just because I can not envision it?

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I think wanting something badly can motivate you towards overcoming your limitations so that you can get that thing, but it still may not work. I also think that life is about wanting what you've got, rather than getting what you want.

The simpler I make my life, the happier I am and the less I want/need.

womaninawindow said...

I think you're right. As I just read your limitations post two minutes ago I was struck by how difficult it was for me to think of life without limitations. Loss breeds gains. Limitations breeds gratitude when limitations are surmounted. I'm good with it all, mostly. And when I'm not, I learn to be over time.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I agree with you so much. My husband and I were just saying the other day how much we hate the "You can be anything you want to be" claptrap.

Carol said...

I agree with you.

I think that there is real freedom in accepting what is. I'm not saying that we don't act to deal with what is in front of us, but it's about letting go of attachment to results.

(Does that make sense???)

It's easy to fall into the "we should all have anything we want, whenever we want it" mentality in this country. But it's cruel to say something like that to someone living with dirt floors in the poorest countries in Africa.

And it's interesting that, according to many studies, the happiest people tend to live in the poorer countries.

seventh sister said...

The problem with 'the Secret'is that most of the people in it are salesmen. They tell you they got where they are by thinking and believing but they don't tell you how to do it. They make it sound so easy that people feel like failures if they aren't rich in 6 months.

Olivia said...


This is a topic that I hope will continue to be explored here in the comments.

I see both sides of this. I think many good things can come of magical thinking. I cannot argue with Carol's example of the cruelty of sharing a message of limitlessness with someone living in poverty in Africa. I don't know the answer. I think it lies in the question of the nature of reality---what makes something real?

Sometimes I think that we must do both---live as though we were limitless and then also accept our limitations as we move through life. Are they really limitations or just variations in circumstances?

For example, I was thinking about your last post (and will be for a LONG time). I used to think my extreme introversion was a limitation. Now I see it as a great gift. I wish that I'd seen it this way sooner!

I can't quite put my finger on what I'm trying to say, but perhaps someone else can :)

Keep 'em coming :)

Love, O

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I live in the real world but I still believe in magic. People are full of surprises; sometimes they surprise even themselves with their creativity, their ability to grow with a situation and to make lemonade out of life's lemons.

There is no gain in emphasizing someone's limitations because when hope has been driven out of a person, he is diminished and nobody will ever know what he could have made of his life and talents.

Anonymous said...

I think you have to be very, very careful with that line of thinking.

People do have limitations, but they can't be used an excuse not to try, not to grow. The easiest thing to do would be to sit on the couch and say, "I can't do this," but that's not really living, is it?

"Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they're yours." ~Richard Bach

Amy Y said...

I think fantasy can be a good thing... as long as one realizes it's fantasy and not reality. If you can separate the two, then you are able to be creative and imaginative and embrace a less conventional side of yourself that I think can be very healthy.

RKK said...

I think the problem with accepting limitations is who gets to decide what your limitations are. I believe that we do need to look for the opportunity in every will always be there, even though it won't necessarily be the type of opportunity we have limited ourselves to looking for.

we_be_toys said...

I think that without dreams, we lose our inspiration to grow, but there is a difference between having dreams that motivate you to achieve and just hiding from the world in dreams and fantasies.

Carla said...

I think it's important to challenge ourselves in whatever we do. I try to create reasonable steps for what I want to achieve. It makes things seem so much more doable than one big giant step which would probably leave me disillusioned. But I do also feel that it's important to be realistic. Lot's of food for thought.

Suki said...

I'm halfway between agreeing and disagreeing with you, Chani. I feel that limitations do exist, but they can also be overcome. We have our specific characters that our very very hard to change - and that we probably wouldn't want to. But just because we can't be anything we want to be doesn't exactly mean we can't do anything we want to do.
To me, understanding and accepting our limitations is the first step to overcoming them. It doesn't happen in days or months, but a lot can change in years or decades.
Wanting it hard enough is definitely one step towards making it happen, but it has to be backed up by knowledge, clear thinking, hard work, intelligence and a dash of good luck. Just wishing won't make it happen, true.

painted maypole said...

i think limitations are a great chance to be creative - to not necessarily break past them, but to find a way to work within them, to find a new way, something different

Ian Lidster said...

The older I've gotten and the more adversity I've faced the more I have moved in your direction. I quite honestly now believe in very little magical thinking and virtually no mysticism. That said, by accepting my realities and limitations, I experience more sheer joy than I ever did in the past. Thank you for this.

Anonymous said...

We have all been raised on the idea that we can achieve anything we really work at. It's not true for most of us, and it's time we let go of the notion, regain our sanity and mental health and do the best with what we have been handed in life. The world no longer offers everyone unlimited possibilities. We are more a prisoner of our class and location.

thailand private eye said...

I completely agree with this. We are who we want to be, it’s as simple as that. We are the ones who impose limitations on ourselves, sometimes consciously or sometimes unconsciously. But whatever the limit, we can always find a way to get over it, or destroy it completely as long as we really want to do it.