What You See, is What You Get!
We’ve all heard this expression before. Usually on the grade school playground, in high school or in the flirtation stages of our young relationships. In general it means, “I am who I am”; “This is how I come”; “Take it or leave it”; and it’s used when someone is wanting us to be something other than what we are. It’s a handy expression and one that I use, light heartily of course, even today. In this months column however, I’m going to discuss another aspect of this expression, one of a more literal nature…….that of, “what you see (or perceive) is indeed, what you will get.”
When used in the conventional method the meaning implies that one is not willing to change. In essence, “this is who I am and this is who I will always be,” but remember, this expression is used when we are young and don’t yet understand the importance or the necessity of change. In the more literal translation the need to change proves inevitable.
“What we see, is what we get,” indeed! What we see when we look out into the world is the sum total of our experiences. It’s a combination of our conditioning, our environment, our families’ traditions, our education, our belief system, our emotional well being, our open-mindedness and our own unique twist or character that makes us who we are (and believe me, this last part accounts for a lot!)
When learning to make sense of our world it is only natural that we take on the views and causes of our parents. My parents were Republicans so I too became a Republican. This was way back when, when being a Republican had a purpose, when it stood for less government and more autonomy yet also believed in helping those who were unable to help themselves. With time and experience my views have changed. I’ve adopted my own views and affiliations with parities that are more in concert with who I am today. My parents were also loving, friendly and compassionate toward others’ in the community. So, I too adopted these traits and found them valuable enough over the years to keep them as my own. When growing up, our parents (teachers, mentors) are our guides, our compass, the tribe that keeps us on track……or not, depending on their views. Our parents views might also teach us to become prejudice, or selfish, or afraid, or greedy, or jealous, or small somehow in our thinking and our being. I’m sure we’ve all heard the story of a parent who didn’t want their child going to college because they themselves never went to college and after all “they came out just fine, didn’t they?” Our families values or views can be a real asset to our growth and success or sadly, it can be a hindrance. Hopefully, we grow up surrounded by a variety of experiences that we start to take on views of our own. We begin to develop our own interpretations of the world around us and either mesh them with the views we already have, or override those views altogether.
This process of refining our views makes up our perception of the world and thus, defines the type of experiences we will have within the course of our lives. It’s kind of an interesting equation when you look at it from this angle – our young experiences (and upbringing) defines who we are up to a certain point; we refine those views through our own individual experiences as we grow; then those experiences, and our interpretation of those experiences, create the reality that we experience……..make sense?
Maybe this will help to clarify: Perception is Reality!
What we perceive is what becomes our reality. If we perceive the world to be a scary and unforgiving place, then this is what it is, to us! If we perceive the world to be a generous, loving and safe place, then this is what it is, to us! If we perceive opportunity and inspiration and possibility and abundance, the world becomes our playground. If we perceive scarcity, lack, disorder or dis-ease and the sense that we are powerless, the world becomes our prison.
In a nutshell, our views become our experiences, which satisfy our views, which become our reality. If you don’t like the experiences you’re having than it’s time to change your views. The great news is that you can change your views at anytime. There is no restriction, no rules, no quotas. If you don’t like where you’re at, it’s time to change the way your interpreting the world around you. Instead of thinking there “isn’t enough” for example, start recognizing all there is. Start recognizing that you actually have all the food you need, the clothes you need and the shelter you need to stay safe, dry and warm. Recognize that you are just fine in fact (more equipped than most people on this planet) and could live a long and happy life with everything that you currently have right now. Gratitude is one sure cure for lack.
If you feel you “lack opportunity”, take time to recognize all the freedoms you have. You can practice whatever religion you want or wear whatever crazy outfit you want. You can choose from infinite possibilities at the grocery store and create an award winning masterpiece in the kitchen. You can learn a new language, go back to school and travel the world with relative ease. Opportunity is everywhere it just might not look the way you thought it would. In doing this exercise I’m sure you’ll come to realize that opportunity isn’t what’s lacking. Ingenuity, creativity or motivation could possibly be the root of your issue. Most people carry with them restrictive views that are long outdated and unproductive and more often than not, once identified, there is no rationalization for holding onto them.
What you see is what you get! You can color your reality however you see fit. You just need a wiliness to change and a box of Crayola crayons. Learn to think outside of your own conditioned mind and watch the world step up to meet you.
“Our Life is the Creation of our Mind”……..Buddha