Reality You

by Reverend Lana Charlton

Life offers us our very own reality show. The problem is, generally speaking, it is viewed only by a small audience of friends, family, and coworkers. What if you could view your own reality show for a week?


Posing this question to an audience, “How would you like to be secretly filmed for one week in all areas of your life?”, no one raised their hand with interest. Honestly, I was a bit shocked. It would be hard, but I would truly love to see myself in action for a week: the inflection in my voice; the looks on my face; the good, the bad, the ugly.

Many years before the first reality show, I had this idea for self awareness and self growth—Know Thyself Video Company. A person with a deep desire to truly see him or her self in action on all levels would hire the video company and be followed around secretly. There would be cameras everywhere, but you as the client would not see nor be aware of the process. Imagine what you could learn about yourself? Imagine couples, going through very troubled times, seeing and hearing themselves speak to their partners. This would be a great transformational tool.

Recognizing our personalities, our issues–both positive and negative, is not always easy. Recognition is really the first step in change. It is not always easy to see who we really are, or what others are talking about.

A few years ago, my husband began an annoying habit of interrupting me when I was speaking. Either he thought he knew what I was going to say or he wanted to get his opinion in before I was finished. We had many d discussions about this. Returning from work one day, he told me he ‘got it’. The people he worked with, most especially one person, constantly interrupted him. He also began to notice how pervasive this was in life. It became very real to him when it started happening to him.

This became a great teacher for both of us. Recognizing how annoying this was, I caught myself interrupting my husband and others as well. Both of us began to see how interrupting often brought voices and tempers up because people were not being heard.

The first step is recognition. Words are so wonderful. Re-cognate: re is a prefix for again; cognate is the act of knowing, perceiving, or remembering. Re-look, re-see, re-consider are all very positive ways to change your attitude and your behavior. Re-cognition of our behavior takes time to accept and resolved practice to change.

We resolve our behavior by awareness and personal understanding. This takes great patience, compassion, and a deep willingness to go easy on ourselves and others. Patterns of a lifetime rarely change overnight. “I’m so sorry; I’m trying to pay attention when I interrupt someone,” goes a long way after interrupting them.

Paul wrestles with this in Romans 7:15: “I do not understand my own actions…I do the very thing I hate.” Can you relate?

Carl Jung suggested that everything that irritates us about others can lead us to a greater understanding of our self. When we are willing to reconsider, it’s not just others; we might see things with new eyes and hear with new ears, most especially ourselves.

Reality You individuals have a greater awareness of their own impulses, desires, and opinions and are working to change or accept them. Reality You is when we are willing to develop and achieve our full potential. Reality You is when you can laugh and cry with yourself and others at our myriad of foibles.

Rev. Lana Charlton writes for numerous worldwide, national, and local publications. See ad page 46.

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