Perception: The Reality of Everything

Every creation needs a reason to exist, no matter what the creation. It’s finding a reason for its existence that sometimes becomes the biggest challenge of all.

As a former freelance network security engineer, I learned several things that transitioned into valuable life lessons.

  1. There’s always a way in.
  2. The weakest link in any security system is you.
  3. Wrong and Right: no such things exist. Those are both based on your perception.
  4. Luck does exist and it plays a crucial role in your success.
  5. The only reliable traits that lead to success is your own ability to cope as well as be resilient.

How network security taught me these things, though, is a story for another time.

Something that I never admitted to anyone, until now, to myself and to my readers, is that I grew up too fast. I was focused on my goals instead of just living life and because of that, I discovered that frequent visualization of your goals actually makes you less likely to achieve those goals.

When we’ve been dealt bad cards in in life, we tend to associate those experiences with anything new we want to try, because we’re afraid. We spend more time thinking about our plans and their possible outcomes than actually pursuing them. This sort of reminds me of Little Albert.

Way back, Johns Hopkins University pursued a stupid, atrocious and moronic experiment in which they placed a baby near a white lab rat. At first, this baby played with the rat. Soon, any time the baby touched the rat, loud bells and frightening noises started playing, which of course, scared the baby. Later, when the experiment was finished, whenever the baby would see anything that reminded him of a rat, he’d start crying in fear.

So, as I was saying, Little Albert associated rats with frightening noises just as we associate our past failures and new opportunities that may fail. It’s a little different of course, as Little Albert is more about human conditioning, but still. Our failures have a way of conditioning us to fear trying again, sometimes. Our failures have a way of teaching us more about ourselves.

This is the perfect example of correlation without causation. Two things that seem to be related, but aren’t. It’s as simple as that.

Two years ago, I was enrolled in a poetry class and one of our assignments was to write about the correlation between two things and how those things played a part in our lives. I wrote about the correlation between pain and art.

So, how are pain and art related?

In this example, let’s assume there are two parts to the world.

People who do share and people who don’t share.

People who don’t share – Oftentimes, people want to be heard, people want to be understood and accepted, but they go unheard because they think that what they have to say isn’t necessarily something that people want to hear.

People who do share – People who began talking about their abuse, their depression, their eating disorders and other difficulties they faced in life when they discovered the power of art, writing and poetry. Forms of self-expression.

Pain is a cruel teacher, but like time, it also strengthens us. Pain often brings out everything that’s been hidden underneath and beneath the surface. It makes it so that we channel our pain and anguish into art whether that be drawing, poetry, writing, etc. and soon discover just how many people can relate to how we feel.

In lots of ways, if it weren’t for the darkness and pain I live in, I wouldn’t have started writing. Why? It’s simple. I wouldn’t know just how much I was bottling up. Depression does that. It forces you to process, whether or not you tell anyone about it. It pushes you until you just need to do something to stop feeling the pain. So, you write. You draw. You write beautiful poetry.

Our brains are powerful things. One of the things I find most interesting is how people view mental illnesses as weaknesses. In my opinion, they are anything but a sign of weakness. Mental illnesses are signs that our brain is being overwhelmed and overworked, so as a result, it creates alternative ways of survival. In order for us to survive abuse, our brains may cope by suppressing memories of that abuse or by making us think we’re different parts of ourselves (Dissociative Identity Disorder). In order for us to survive, depression exists because it’s the only way for it to force us to process the things that are hardest for us to manually process.

People are usually stronger than they give themselves credit for. I don’t see illnesses as a sign of weakness, but as a sign of strength, either mentally or physically.

This is why ​I write. I write because smiling in spite of my fears of failure and the fears of my illnesses is the trick to achieving happiness. It eliminates the fear, because well, now I don’t have to live with a big secret anymore. As we know, living in secret can be the hardest thing to do. It is an overwhelming burden, one that can cause unbearable pain, because we have to hide part of who we are. How do we make friends, live life and move on if we’re only living half truths and telling people half the story? Those illnesses are very much a big part of our lives. They have shaped us, but they don’t have to define us, so why hide them as if they have some control over us?

Any relationship built on lies is destined to fail, even if there’s a good reason for those lies. So, I say, to hell with it! You either like me or you don’t like me, I see no difference. The most important part of your life’s journey is that you know the truth. That you’re happy with where you are and how you’re doing. Once we believe in ourselves and our happiness, others will too.

I’ll end off with this thought: Putting yourself out there isn’t only about exposing the good parts of you, but the struggling parts, because they are part of what makes you, you. It’s how we achieve happiness, but here’s the thing: happiness isn’t about playing it safe. It’s about taking risks. Unless you’re willing to put yourself out there fully, you’ll never know.

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