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Do You Create Your Reality Or Does Reality Create You?

By Joseph Civitella
Updated January 23, 2016

There’s a contention in new age circles that you create your reality by means of the choices you make. It’s a popular notion, especially when the issue is that you need to take responsibility and ownership for what you do and the kind of life you experience.

As the thinking goes, your choices give you the outcomes you get, and these outcomes create your reality. It’s a cause and effect scenario in which your choices are the cause and the outcomes are the effect.

If you really think about it, though, you’ll soon realize that the results of your choices become the basis from which you subsequently make other choices. If your choices generate outcomes, the outcomes then either generate results that to some extent you desire or that to some other extent you do not desire. From the choices you make (presumably for all the right reasons), you inevitably get positive or negative results. If they are positive results, you generally want more of them. If they are negative results, you generally want less of them. The eventual effects of your choices thus become the cause for new choices. A cause-effect cycle gives rise to an effect-cause cycle, which gives rise to a new cause-effect cycle, and so on. You indeed become the creators of the reality you experience.

This does not necessary answer the question of whether the choices you make are the right ones, though, as this will depend on your personal values and beliefs. What you need to be conscious of is the assumption that the right to make a choice automatically predicates that the choice you make is the right one. That is not always the case. In fact many people will confess that many of their choices appeared like the right ones in the moment, but with the passage of time they evidently became the wrong ones. There’s a fair amount of discernment that needs to occur in order to put the best chances on your side that you have considered all the options available and have settled on the most appropriate one to give you what you want, or at least to get you as close as you can get to what you want.

That being said, we have so far considered only one dimension of the equation. Another dimension is that the outcomes you produce oftentimes carry secondary consequences. You make the choice to buy a new car, and the effect is that you are now saddled with a car loan. That effect might cause you to get a second job in order to better manage the cash flow required. A secondary consequence of working longer hours is that you might have less time to spend with your significant other. Less time spent with your significant other could impact the quality of your relationship in any number of ways, including unintended ones. This is akin to “collateral damage,” thus termed because the effect is not generated directly from the original cause but rather indirectly.

And so, based on the argument put forth so far, we can say that to some extent you create your reality by means of the choices you make. Now let’s ask the converse question: Does reality create you? We have considered the cause-effect paradigm in an outward direction, from you into the world. Does cause-effect also occur inward? Can an event in the world cause you to effectively change something about yourself? What signs can I look out for if reality is changing? Take the angel number 444 for example, it’s said that seeing this number repeatedly can indicate that a great change is coming to your reality.

Consider an event over which you have no control whatsoever, say an earthquake, as is prone to occur along the Pacific coastline. Scientists know why earthquakes happen, and a quick search on the Internet will provide a multitude of articles that explain the phenomena. In none of the accounts does anyone attribute any responsibility or ownership for an earthquake to any particular citizen of the area impacted. But the effect on the residents of the terrain hit can range from minimal to devastating depending on the magnitude of the quake.

Here we therefore have an external event that can easily shape the way you experience the world. It’s not a reality you created, but it’s a reality you have to live with whether you like it or not. For some people, they may not make any changes to their lives at all. For others, they may decide to better prepare themselves for a future occurrence. And for some, they may actually decide to move away from a geographical area at risk and settle into a mainland spot that is historically quake-free.

This inward cause-effect scenario, albeit out of your control, can nonetheless prompt you to discern a useful purpose. Even though the effects of an earthquake can be dramatically negative, in some way you might still be able to generate a positive effect for yourself, if you are willing to learn from the experience. Maybe you’ll discover that you panic easily and need to make better contingency plans. Maybe you’ll discover that you remain remarkably cool under duress, and this can hint at a character trait that can be channeled into a new line of work, such as emergency response or disaster recovery efforts.

Reality can in fact prompt you to create a new version of yourself, better equipped to handle the unpredictable circumstances you might face. Carl Jung stated, “I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” Although you might not be able to control external circumstances, you are able to control your reactions to life events.

Thus in a sense we come full circle – to the choices we make. Some of the choices we make proactively can be wonderful precursors to something extraordinary, and some of the choices we Pin It make reactively can also be precursors to other things extraordinary. We create the external reality that is in our purview to create as an outward cause-effect cycle, and we create the internal reality that is in our dominion to create as an inward cause-effect cycle. They co-exist in a symbiotic manner that is reflective of the fact that we are an integral part of the world that we create and from which we are created.

Do You Create Your Reality, Or Does Reality Create You? The answer to both questions is “Yes.” You proactively create your reality to the measure that you control your life by means of the choices you make. Reality also creates you to the extent that you react to the events and circumstances that life throws at you. Integrating both aspects into a congruent and harmonious whole gives you the best chances to live the kind of life you truly desire.

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Katherine Hurst
By Joseph Civitella
Joseph Civitella, PhD, began his studies in Psychology, and after working with various corporations in training and development capacities, he has focused his recent studies and writings on Metaphysics - the quest for truth, meaning and purpose. Joseph continues his work in the fascinating areas of personal growth and professional development in which he is passionate about.

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