Byron Katie says, “When you argue with reality, you lose, but only 100% of the time.”
This is how I think of arguing with reality.
You have a circumstance. There is nothing you can do to change it. Normally when I see this, it’s a circumstance in the past. It would sound something like, “That shouldn’t have happened.” It could be something in the present, which might be something like, “This should not be happening.”
Either way, it is something you can’t change, something out of your control.
Arguing with reality is thinking it should be different. No amount of thinking it should be different will change the circumstance. When you argue with reality you might spin endlessly believing that it’s not fair. This corresponds with a core belief that everything that happens in the world should be fair (or humane, or just, or kind, or joyful, good, etc.).
How do we know that it shouldn’t be? Because it isn’t. If the world was supposed to be perfect, it would be.
We focus on the things that aren’t the way we think shouldn’t be that way – the things that are wrong, awful, horrendous, tragic, etc.. Guess what? What we focus on grows.
When we believe that it shouldn’t have happened, we’re focusing on that it did happen, we have some belief about it happening, which makes us more likely to find more evidence of it happening. This perpetuates the cycle of suffering.
Contrast that with focusing on whatever is true, honorable, respectful, right, pure, wholesome, lovely, peaceful, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy, loving, lovely, kind, gracious, merciful and good. When we focus on these things, these things grow. We find evidence of what we believe about a world that is mostly these things.
I just don’t see an upside to believing that things that should be different when we clearly can’t make them different. It’s possible we could change something in the future, but that’s not likely to happen when we’re spinning in frustration, discouragement and fear. Rarely does productive change come from negative emotion.
By believing things should be different, I’m arguing with reality. And I lose 100% of the time. I’m the one that suffers. My suffering does not change reality. All of my spinning and judgment and disappointment, which leads to more suffering, doesn’t change reality. Because I’m not in control of reality.
The only thing I’m in control of is what I do, how I act, how I show up right now.
I have two choices.
I can accept reality and believe something that moves me forward OR I can refuse to accept reality and instead continue to argue with reality. I will waste what I do have and meanwhile, reality’s not changing. So who loses?
The trap I see people fall into with this concept of arguing with reality what they are calling “reality”.
Before you decide if you’re arguing with reality you need to define reality. Be conscious of what you think is reality. Is it reality or how you’re interpreting reality? Sometimes, it feels so real that sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.
But so many times what feels like reality is really your thoughts about the situation.
“The fact is … “
“That’s just the way it is. “
“The fact of the matter is … “
“The reality of the situation is … “
These are usually dead giveaways that it’s not actually a fact. It’s a thought.
Arguing with reality comes from scarcity. But not accepting the way things are and agonizing over what you shouldn’t have lost only means you aren’t focused on what you do have, you miss out what’s right in front of you and you don’t position yourself to receive and create MORE.
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