I’ve been playing with photography lately, trying to get a better handle on variables such as lighting and color. Every time I make adjustments with my photo editor, I manipulate the reality I see to what I want to see. Instead of accepting the photo for what it is, I tweak it to satisfy my inner sense of what’s right and beautiful.
Up until recently, I had never realized that our ego plays the same role as the image filters I create. “We all have mental filters that distort or obscure reality and transform it into a self-serving, ego-approved story. Our stories are invented to make us look good or excuse our lack of action. They support our viewpoints so that we can get what we want,” states Cy Wakeman in her book No Ego. She goes on to add, “reality, in contrast, is your friend. It’s the pal who will give it to you straight.”
Isn’t this bit enlightening? If we were to embrace our reality for what it is, versus constantly trying to re-write the narrative, how much more effective would we be at getting what we want? Think about all the mental energy we would have if we simply stopped venting, complaining and feeling sorry for ourselves. Think about how much better prepared we would be to face life’s daily challenges and surprises if we simply accepted the reality as it is presented to us.
Remember the watering can analogy in my earlier post? When I began to map out my priorities and reallocate my time and energy, I realized I was “over watering” certain areas of my life and letting other ones dry out.
Example: I’ve been complaining for months that I don’t have time to work out. I used to be a very active person but since having my second child, I excuse my lack of action by justifying that I’m simply too busy and too tired with two kids. But you know what I do have time for? Instagram. And Pinterest. And Facebook. And LinkedIn. And Instagram again… and again… and again. Thanks to the new Screen Time feature on my phone, I am faced with reality: I am on my phone for way too long. According to my phone, today alone I have spent 2 hours and 25 minutes mindlessly scrolling through feeds. TWO HOURS.
Upon first seeing these figures, I told myself not to feel bad. I am a busy woman who is simply exhausted at the end of the day. My phone is my way of allowing my brain to relax and simply not think. Just like watching an endless amount of Netflix, I was relaxing.
But was I? Could it be that I’m simply lazy? Afraid of actually tiring myself physically, sweating and then having to find time to shower and dry my hair again. Was my ego making excuses to mask the guilt I feel for not meeting my goal of working out? Think about all the times your ego has gotten in the way of reality. How much could you achieve if you really made time for your priorities and secured a way to execute on them? How many opportunities did you miss because you were too busy blaming others and making excuses?
Check your screen time on your phone and type in the comments section below your total. Take the shame out of it and just write it as it is.
Welcome, you’ve just checked back into reality.