The world is happening to us. Others do things to us, always on purpose and for malicious intentions. We are all but victims to the influence of others. Passed up for a promotion? Obviously it was due to prejudice or someone else’s inability to see your value. It is but one example of how many of us think in one form or another. While it is easy to think that, to believe that we are a victim, such thoughts remove agency from our lives. But what if these thoughts are due to our perception? What if it could change if we chose instead to step to the side and view the situation from a different angle?
The fact is, other people act upon us in many ways, either passive or with intention. The same can be said of how we act in the world, and even as we claim status as a victim, it is still pushing out a narrative that instructs others how to perceive us. Yet, it is our selves that we must focus. Control of our selves is what must be achieved.
Can we step to the side, to change our viewpoint, can we move in a way that maybe will alter the way we think? Or, maybe we change the glasses that we are wearing, choosing to filter our experiences through an altogether different lens. What would we see then?
The only thing that we truly control is what story we associate to what we experience in the world.
In the sequel series to “Avatar: The Last Airbender” — “The Legend of Korra” — a character made an appearance who was already known to deliver much wisdom to many of the other characters. Iroh, when encountered by Korra in the spirit realm, told the young Avatar a piece of advice that fits here and remains one of my favorite quotes:
“If you look for the light, you can often find it. But if you look for the dark, that is all you will ever see.”
Think about that. He is asserting that when we bend our perception to see malevolence in life, that is exactly what we’ll find. In everything. However, in the beginning of that statement, he says that if one looks to find the good, it is possible to see it.
Of course there is that caveat. There is the detail in that he noted that one can “often find it”. Humans are bent towards negativity. It is the power that a single negative comment or tweet can hold on an individual over the voices of a thousand positive affirmations. This is why it is so needed to focus so readily on the light, to always look for the good. And if we aren’t seeing it, maybe if we step a little to the side.