Reality Is Just A Figment Of Your Imagination

by Philip Holder Ph.D.
copyright Philip Holder 2017

(Dr Holder will be including this topic at his IMDHA Conference workshop: Reality is Anything You Decide It Is!)


People often say, just before attempting to prove a point, “The reality is”. In response I usually reply (or at least think), “Whose Reality are we talking about here”. For those who remember the movie “The Matrix”, it was based on a fascinating premise about, what constitutes reality and what is simply perception.

As a society, we superficially share many beliefs about what reality is and is not. We have learned to do this because doing so provides us with a sense of community and a mutual support system. I think though, if we could read each other’s minds, we might find out that although we as a society have learned to agree on certain so called “realities”, we may not actually be agreeing on the same things at all.

When two individuals look at something red, they both call it Red. When they do, they are usually assuming that the other person is seeing the same thing that they are. After all, they both agree that the color they are seeing is Red. What if, the two people are actually seeing two entirely different colors? They both call the color they are seeing red, only because they have both been told since early childhood that the color each of them is seeing is named “Red”. My point is… They both assume that what they are looking at, looks the same to the other person. Red is red, right??? It’s quite possible that they are each seeing two entirely different colors that they have both consistently labeled as Red.

Belief Usually Comes Before Validation

Most people adopt a belief (Their personal reality) first and then attempt to discover proof, justifications or rationalizations that support and validate their belief. Frankly, it might be more productive and result in less human conflict if we would look objectively at what is presented to us and then develop a belief based on that information. For better or worse, that rarely happens. Most people do the former because the latter takes more effort. So called “Facts” can be illusive because they are usually molded by each individuals perceived reality.

We Are Who We Practice To Be

For decades I’ve taken the position that in great part, “We Are All Who We Practice To Be”. I also believe that within our own individual reality, we are whatever we believe about ourselves. We do, however also have the capacity to be whoever we choose to be… if we are willing to practice growing into that person. Let me be clear, I’m not talking about WHAT we are (Doctor, Lawyer, Carpenter, Catholic, etc). I speaking of Who We Are! I also suggest to you that our thoughts and feelings are not nearly as significant (in respect to who we are), as are our actions. After all, our actions are the ultimate manifestation of our thoughts and feelings.

Our Beliefs About Ourselves And Our Relationship To The World Around Us

We usually act in accordance with our beliefs about ourselves. Those beliefs are molded in great part by our level of self esteem, how we prefer to think of ourselves, how confident we are, how capable we see ourselves as being, how we believe others perceive us, how fearful we are and… who we would like to be.

Our belief about others (in relationship to our own relativity), is for the most part formed by four things… Love, Courage, Gratitude and Fear. With Love, Courage and Gratitude, the cup is always half full (or even more). When Fear is a significant influence, the glass is always half empty (or even far less).

Where ever we are in life, it is a result of our own decisions up to the current moment. Decisions made from a place of Fear, Anger, Frustration, Guilt, Desperation Or Neediness, rarely work out well (Note: Anger, Frustration, Guilt, Desperation And Neediness Are Closely Akin To Fear). Decisions made from a place of Love, Courage and Gratitude, provide an openness that leads to opportunity for positive growth and change. The key is… Making better decisions in your life requires knowing yourself. If you don’t know yourself, any decisions you make are being made under a false premise. It requires great courage, self honesty, and taking responsibility for where we are in life to begin the process of knowing yourself (You can’t fix what isn’t yours so OWN IT). Living in this way provides a person with great personal power. You will then become the person you strive to be.

When Behavior Needs To Precede The Feeling

Like I said earlier… We are who we practice to be. I frequently tell patients, “You have to decide what type of man (or woman) you want to be. You get to choose!!!!”

If you practice baseball every day, you’ll become a more accomplished baseball player. If you practice carpentry every day, you’ll become a more accomplished carpenter. If you practice baking every day, you’ll become a more accomplished baker. The same is true with confidence, kindness, determination, loyalty, love and so forth. The more you practice these things, the more accomplished you will become at them. With practice, even things that at first do not feel natural to you, will ultimately feel incredibly natural.

Fortunately for us, because learning takes place in our minds, it is not always necessary to physically act out our new and improved attitudes, perceptions and behaviors in order to retrain our personal sense of reality. You can do this: Practice it in your mind as if you were watching a movie about the next chapter of your life. Know that you are the writer, producer and star of the next chapter of your life. Visualize yourself being the person you want to be. See yourself acting in a way that makes YOU proud to be YOU. You can develop your character (Both Meanings of Character), to be the person you strive to be. Practice whenever you have the opportunity. This technique is especially powerful when complemented by hypnosis. Of course, it’s important as well to act on those changes daily by implementing them within your daily life. Practicing as you go through each day is important. You can be a person that you are even more incredibly proud to be. It just takes practice!

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