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By Pamela Shenk, CHt


"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." William Shakespeare

Perception…that’s really all there is. We all view the world through individual filters. Those filters – our personalities, attitudes, and points of view -- powerfully influence the interpretation that we give to the events in our lives. Could you imagine what life would be like if we all had the same favorite color, the same clothes, the same style home or car? How boring life would become?
According to Shakespeare, you’ve heard it said time and time again, "Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder." That truth truly resonates. No matter how much you think you are like another, the meanings you assign to what takes place in your life are yours alone.


These filters through which we view the world are predominately byproducts of the relationships and interactions we have with the people closest to us. Someone who lives in an abusive situation may feel threatened by family life. Yet someone from a loving, nurturing family will consider family life to be wonderful.


It is a known fact that children learn what they live. What you need to realize, however, is that your past doesn’t have to matter today. Life is full of choices. You take the easy way out if you blame your childhood experiences or others for your present behavior. After a while, it is time to take responsibility for yourself and stop blaming others. The only person you can control and change is YOU.
Do you have a chip on your shoulder? Do you see people as the enemy? Do you resent members of the opposite sex? Are you blindly trusting? Do you fall apart under stress or do you thrive on it? Identify yourself, identify your filters. Believe me, it is much easier to pick out the filter of a friend – sometimes we hate to admit, even to ourselves, that we act a certain way.


The first step for any kind of change is to figure out what needs to be changed…what YOU want to change. It doesn’t matter what others say, or what others think. What do you want? What changes would you like to make in yourself? Change your perception and watch the whole world change around you. Give a smile instead of a frown, and you’ll be amazed how many people smile back.
Each and every one of us has been through our own ups and downs. But through each experience we can learn; we can extract the positive. Life is short. Life is to live…to have fun…to lend a helping hand. Don’t hold yourself back from doing anything that makes you happy. Start today.