About illusions and gratitude

Shape your brain, shape your Universe

When you were young, you learned a lot of things about how life should be… and probably not all were 100% true.

If you were a little girl, you learned that girls didn’t fight, that a prince comes and saves them, that they are hardly any princesses without princes, that the little girls must be beautiful and coquette.

And above all, when the prince comes, you will live with him happily ever after.

Then you learned from media models, what shapes you should have, how many kilos, how your waist should be, your breasts, your legs, your cheekbones. You must have no wrinkles, not be overweight, not shout, be sympathetic, be a good mother and not hit your child, be a wonderful wife and listen to your man and other stories that only tell you half of the truth. Stories that the people who told you did not believe themselves, but they deluded themselves with the thought that probably only they had not achieved their great dreams, their great illusions.

If you were a boy, you must have learned that it is not good to cry, that you must be strong, and that men do not show their emotions. The princes always kill the dragons, the good always wins. The heroes in the story will go out of their way and never give up. Perhaps you learned that you must be able to decide for yourself, that you must be strong enough to fight all your own battles. Then you learned that the man must be stronger, earn more money. That the man has to take the first step. And you may have learned, among other things, that men must be respected, because they are always right. I added the last one just to tease you.

Yes, yes. I know I am exaggerating a tad. But please read me all the way to the end.

When we are young, we are presented with a picture of how our life should be. This image, shaped by the history books, the films we have seen, the advice of our parents and grandparents, is an idealized image of life. And when you were young, you were presented mostly with the good part of things, as it should be, not with what life really is.

When I was young, my grandmother spoke of grandfather V. very beautifully. In her description, my grandfather was the perfect man. I liked to listen to my grandmother as she said, “He just has to put his hand on my face and I fall asleep instantly”. Years later, my grandfather died. And my grandmother changed the story about him and reported more shortcomings in their relationship.

I experienced a shock!

I had actually believed there might really be an ideal relationship, and now my grandmother destroyed this illusion! I think it was a great step toward my maturation.

Illusions are dreams about how life should be. Usually they only aggregate the positive part of life’s projection, i.e. they are not true.

They stand for only half of the truth.

“My family life should be perfect: Never quarrel, never shout, we only ove, respect, help each other, understand with each other. We should not be angry, punish the child, lie or hit.”

Do you closely know any person who can live that way all the time?” I stress the word closely.

If you answered “No”, do you think it’s accidental?!

Despre iluzii și recunoștință

Photo by Kyson Dana on Unsplash

Illusions are some of the most toxic fantasies because we compare our life as it is, good and bad, with a dream that no one really touched. And every day we say maybe tomorrow will be better.

But somewhere deep down in our heart, blooms the dissatisfaction that life is not the way it should be. That I am not as I should be because I should always be patient with my children. That my husband is not the way he should be because he should earn a lot and spend more time with his family.

And this “should be” becomes a pressure that transforms a thought and an illusion into a standard that cannot be achieved. And that is the source of suffering for many of us.

“Wishing what cannot be achieved (illusion) and avoiding what cannot be avoided (still illusion) is the source of human suffering” – Zen proverb attributed to the Buddha.

The opposite of illusion is gratitude.

Gratitude appears when you see that everything that goes on is perfect for you, good and bad. Gratitude occurs when you simultaneously see the whole, with its positive side and negative sides, and see how things happen for you.

Now imagine that instead of comparing your husband with the illusion of how he should have behaved when he shouted at you, he did not embrace you and the stormed out of the house…

Imagine that instead of comparing yourself to your ideal image, the one where you should have 5 kg less, and where you shouldn’t be able to see your belly and you’d like to look like the stars in the pictures of the magazine cover…

Imagine that instead of thinking you should not have shouted angrily at your child when you came home after a hard day, when you had no time to breathe and you came across difficult customers and maybe you had a quarrel with a colleague before, and the child was just the last straw on the camel’s back…


Instead of comparing yourself or comparing others to the ideal picture, the illusion of being perfect having only one side of life,
Instead of judging others that they are not as you imagined, or judging yourself that you are not always perfect,
maybe it’s time to see you’re HUMAN.

And a true HUMAN has both the bright half and the dark half.

Sometimes you are calm and patient, sometimes you are impulsive. Sometimes you express your emotions, sometimes you repress them. Sometimes you offer support, sometimes you offer challenges. Sometimes you get support, sometimes you get challenges.

And instead of comparing yourself to the ideal up to which nobody really lives, but which has been sold to you with great effort by a whole world, you choose to accept yourself as you are, you choose to accept the others as they are, with both halves, ‘good’ and ‘bad’, dark and bright.

You’re a real human and you have both halves (bright and dark) and that’s what makes you perfect. Let yourself be grateful for you as a whole, with both halves –the positive and negative.

And when you are grateful for what you have and who you are, exactly as you are, you turn your life into a source of inspiration, for you and others.

Monica ION

P.S. What is the “negative” thing for which you are grateful today?

Shape your brain, shape your Universe