Seeing Things As We Are - The Power of Your Worldview

by Judy Ringer - Date: 2007-05-23 - Word Count: 468 Share This!

"We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."
-Anas Nin

Driving home from the pool after my morning swim, I happened to see a young woman walking toward the high school. As the car passed by, we made fleeting but certain eye contact. I was smiling; she was not. In fact, she seemed to be deliberately frowning. "What have you got to be so happy about?" her eyes were asking. "Why are you so unhappy?" I wondered.

In that brief encounter I imagined two worlds colliding, or at least two worldviews. It occurred to me once again how -- from moment to moment, through thought, word, and action -- we invent the world we inhabit.

How we think determines how we make sense of what happens to us and informs the quality of our days. If we think life is a treasure it most certainly is and we find the bounty in life to support our belief. If we believe life a trial, we will see disappointment, pain, and punishment everywhere and perhaps participate in creating it.

When life throws challenges our way, it's especially important to have a worldview that's creative, positive and vision-driven. What we tell ourselves when faced with difficulty makes a difference. Daniel Goleman, author and educator on Emotional Intelligence, calls self-motivation a key skill of emotionally intelligent people. When you're self-motivated, you see challenges in ways that help you learn from them and move forward in life.

My mother, Lorna, has a worldview that says we're here to love and help each other and, in turn, we are loved and taken care of. She does and is.

My friend Suzanne believes that perseverance will allow you to move through the seemingly impossible challenges of life with grace and dignity. And she does.

My lovely Aunt Mimi, who lived in a wheelchair most of her 83 years, believed "life is what you make it," and the way she lived her full and happy life taught those around her how to do the same.

Was my frowning school-bound friend unhappy? Did she really want to make my day miserable, too? Or was it just momentary indigestion. I'll never know. I do know that her emotional state is not about me. We'd never met. I also know that regardless of the fact that we'd never met, depending on my own worldview, I could easily have generated an attitude war in that moment. But I decided not to and continued on with a very enjoyable morning.

I can't think of a better way to begin each day than to remember the power of our innate creativity. Be mindful of what you hope for and what you worry about, what you believe and what you foster in the world. If life truly is what you make it, how are you creating your life today?

Related Tags: self awareness, emotional intelligence, self-motivation, self management, managing emotions

About the Author: Judy Ringer is the author of Unlikely Teachers: Finding the Hidden Gifts in Daily Conflict and the award-winning e-zine, Ki Moments, containing stories and practices on turning life's challenges into life teachers. Judy is a black belt in aikido and nationally known presenter, specializing in unique workshops on conflict, communication, and creating a positive work environment. She is the founder of Power & Presence Training and chief instructor of Portsmouth Aikido, Portsmouth, NH, USA. To sign up for more free tips and articles like these, visit

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