Beyond Illusions: What is Real?

Photo Credit: David Rosen

We all live in our own reality. We see the world through our lenses – bringing our thoughts, feelings, perspectives, history, experiences, outlook, perceptions, assumptions, habits, strengths and yes, judgments. We constantly judge, “Is this good or bad? How do I line up or compare to others? Am I doing ‘it’ right?”

We search for meaning – an “okayness” – with our piece of life, questioning: “What is authentic and real?” Our reality is just that, OUR reality and what is true for us.

Often we live our lives in an illusion, creating a story line from what we want to believe or to have happen next. For example, in the dating world, one might believe that a person is really into another because they spend a lot of time dating. That person might think they are getting serious, when the other might only want to have fun and not intend to create a serious, committed relationship. I call this “Illusionary Love” when one person believes real love exists between two people when in reality, it is the hope that love will happen and they are projecting that desire. What is real or what is an illusion? Each person must decide that for himself or herself.

When it comes to reality, everyone creates his or her own self-perspective. Many of us define ourselves by what the outside appears to look like – successful or struggling, being validated or not, wealthy or poor, “having it together” or still searching. We also spend a great deal of time in either the past disappointments or the future dreams, and we forget to be present to what is happening in that moment. When we allow these external forces, people and situations to determine what is fitting for us, we often come up short. It is only when we move inside that we can relax into what is real, good, whole and true for us in the here and now.

I believe we know what is legitimate for ourselves, but we must get past the illusions, the old stories and the limiting beliefs in order to not only discover who we truly are but also absolutely live out our essence. One of the aspects I love most about the coaching model is that it allows people to sit in their truth. My job as a coach is simply to ask provocative, thoughtful questions to assist my clients in discovering their own solutions from within their hearts and minds. They must find their way based on their truths, their viewpoints, their genuine beliefs – not mine When they are honest about who they are and free themselves from their self-imposed limitations, then they can be inspired to live authentically and act in a genuine way.

Many years ago I read two books that profoundly changed the way I think and see my reality. The first is Loving What Is. In it, author Byron Katie challenges readers with the question of whether we can really know something is true or not. And then she gives us a way to turn around our thinking. The second book is Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom. In it he wrote, “God is life. God is life in action. The best way to say, ‘I love you, God,’ is to live your life doing your best. The best way to say, ‘Thank you, God,’ is by letting go of the past and living in the present moment, right here and now. Whatever life takes away from you, let it go. When you surrender and let go of the past, you allow yourself to be fully alive in the moment. Letting go of the past means you can enjoy the dream that is happening right now.”

My Truths:

What dream do you live in? What is real for you today? Does your current life reflect what’s deeply inside? For me, I have spent the past decade understanding and creating my reality. Here are some of the truths I use to guide me on my journey. I offer these to you, so take what you want and leave the rest.


  • I am creative, resourceful, strong and whole.
  • I am and will be okay, and that God will never give me more than I can handle. (Well, at least I try to remember this, even though it does not always feel this way.)
  • Feelings are not facts, but rather are indicators of something I need to be aware of. (Is this emotion telling me I need something different? Am I projecting my own stuff onto someone else?)
  • I am always in choice about how I feel and the perspective I hold. And, I can choose another one if I want. (What would be a more powerful viewpoint of what is happening in this moment?)
  • I only have to do the next right thing, every step of the way.
  • I must be around people who give me energy, not take it away. (Thank you amazing clients for filling my tanks!) I love positive, energetic and expansive minds!
  • I am responsible for getting my own needs met, yet I can ask for others to assist with that.
  • It is important to cause no harm to others. What is it to be in integrity?
  • My reality is not the same as others’ perceptions.
  • Fear is not real. Yet I wish fear did not feel so real, nor have the big impact is often does. Fear is simply “false evidence appearing real,” which keeps people scared and from being fearless and moving forward.
  • My creativity is valid and important to keep alive.
  • The outcome will be the outcome. I just need to do my best along the way.


  • Our thoughts create our reality, and we can be our own master manifestors. When my vision is crystal clear for me and I am inspired, I can take actionable steps. I ask, “Why this vision? What do I want to have happen? Something to do, achieve, attain or a way to be?
  • The Four Agreements are simple guidelines to living: be impeccable with your word; don’t take anything personally; don’t make assumptions; and always do your best.
  • I believe in being of service and paying it forward.
  • When faced with challenges, I try to see the good in all people and situations. I ask myself, “What is the learning available in this moment?”
  • I believe in faith and trust, even when I cannot know for sure. I do not need to see it to believe it. (Or hear, taste, smell or feel – although the validation can be nice.)
  • “It’s all made up.”™ (Thank you fellow coach Rick Tamlyn, who taught me this.) So, if that is true, how do I want to play today? I get to decide.
  • The best way to live is by honoring my values and strengths. It creates personal fulfillment and the desire to go out in the world and make a difference with what I have to offer.
  • Gratitude and forgiveness heal.
  • Everyone has the right to be authentically himself or herself, be loved and be happy.

These beliefs are my reality, but they might not be yours. So I challenge you to create your own list of beliefs. Know what you believe in for yourself and what you will take a stand for with others. Determine what is real for yourself, and realize that you project that into the world, so others might not agree.

Some Questions to Consider:

  1. What are you currently seeking externally that you can look within to receive? (Some ideas: respect, validation or love?)
  1. What parts of your life are you living for other’s approval that perhaps you need to stand in your own truth? (It can be as simple as always deferring to your spouse, co-workers, friends or family and ignoring your own needs or as big as to have chosen a career because it was either expected or more prestigious, but not really what you wanted to do originally.)
  1. Are your beliefs empowering and move you forward? Or limiting and hold you back? Can you refute the negative impact and choose differently?

Ruiz also states, “You can have many great ideas in your head, but what makes the difference is the action. Without action upon an idea, there will be no manifestation, no results and no reward.” What vision do you currently hold for something that you can truly manifest into reality? What action steps would you need to take to make this happen?
Meet Jennifer: Life Coach, Inspirational Speaker and Author Jennifer M. Blair is founder of Excavive™ Coaching and Consulting, based in Louisville, Kentucky. Her work focuses on empowering people to pursue their passions, increase their self-confidence, communicate powerfully and build the kind of lives they want to live. If you love these Blog posts, many have been adapted from her first book, The True You: Tools to Excavate, Explore and Evolve, published in 2011.