At a documentary screening featuring a film about disabled women in wheelchairs competing in beauty pageants, I met a few of the “stars” in person at the post screening party. Even though they were physically bound by their wheelchairs, these women, who had no use of their legs, were not mentally and emotionally bound by their disability: they were some of the most vibrant, self confident, competitive and energetic women I had ever met. They saw themselves as beautiful, smart, goal and career oriented, as well as having families, boyfriends and husbands. They were the least self-conscious group of people I had ever encountered, and everyone admired their confidence and voracious appetite for life.
Our perception of ourselves becomes our reality. The way we view ourselves has a direct correlation to how we behave and how others see and treat us. Like the mirror reflects our physical selves, our minds reflect the quality of our lives. So if we think and believe that we can not do something, no matter how capable we are of doing it, we will be paralyzed. However, if we BELIEVE we can do something, even though we may not yet have the skills or the know-how, we will achieve it because we will learn and figure it out.
The ancient and essential teaches of the Buddha, to change your mind is to change your life, is still so universally true in our modern times. As the great contemporary life and spiritual coach, Tony Robbins, teaches, we more often than not create limiting stories in our minds. Instead of letting them go, we perpetuate negative stories in our minds, which become bigger stories and dangerously evolve into our own reality, shooting ourselves in our own foot of life. For example, a common story is: “I have bad relationships with men because my father never showed me love.” Because you have perpetuated this story in your mind and now believe it must be true, you will behave in a way that is resistant to men. So even if you meet a truly wonderful man who wanted to adorn you with love and attention, you’re not receptive to it due to your loveless father story, which made you believe you are not deserving of a man’s love and attention, thus sabotaging your own chance at a blissful relationship. However, if you just switch the story to: “Because my father didn’t give me attention, I’ve learned to become an independent woman who is not dependent on a man to be happy,” which means that your life is fulfilling regardless of whether you have a man in your life, you are freeing yourself from the bondage of the negative story you are perpetuating in your mind. In this scenario, when you do meet the right man, you will also be open and receptive to him. This new story becomes one that empowers you and gives you control over your life.
The key action is to change your perception and, therefore, your reality by switching the story to one that is positive and empowers you, which Robbins coins as “effective blaming.” With effective blaming, you are now “blaming” others for all the wonderful characteristics in yourself that made your life fulfilling, so your story, for example, can now become: “Because my parents never gave or handed me anything, I’ve learned to work hard to earn money and value it.” Instead of resenting your parents of depriving you of anything, you have now switched the story to one that empowers you and allows you to choose your own destiny.
For every negative story, there is a positive one–the yin and the yang–so be aware of which one you’re choosing. We can always consciously choose the positive perspective that empowers us. Our lives are self fulfilling prophecies through the prisms of how we view ourselves, make up our stories, and behave accordingly. Indeed, our perception is our reality. So choose your story wisely, and your self fulfilling prophecy will be a story with a very happy ending….
By Moon Cho, Creator of Ying & Yang Living