My Reality is Virtual
Excerpted from Riches of the Heart by Steve Goodier.
In the “Journal of the American Medical Association,” Dr. Paul Ruskin demonstrated how our perception of reality (not actually what is going on, but how we perceive it) determines how we feel about it. While teaching a class on the psychological aspects of aging, he read the following case to his students:
The patient neither speaks nor comprehends the spoken word. Sometimes she babbles incoherently for hours on end. She is disoriented about person, place, and time. She does, however, respond to her name. I have worked with her for the past six months, but she still shows complete disregard for her physical appearance and makes no effort to assist her own care. She must be fed, bathed, and clothed by others. Because she has no teeth, her food must be pureed. Her shirt is usually soiled from almost incessant drooling. She does not walk. Her sleep pattern is erratic. Often she wakes in the middle of the night, and her screaming awakens others. Most of the time she is friendly and happy, but several times a day she gets quite agitated without apparent cause. Then she wails until someone comes to comfort her.
After presenting the case, Dr. Ruskin asked his students how they would like caring for this person. Most of them said they would not like it at all.
He then said that he believed he would especially enjoy it and thought that they might, also. He passed a picture of the patient around for his puzzled students to see. It was his six-month-old daughter!
Most of the students had already made up their minds that they would not like caring for such a patient. But the age of the patient, rather than the actual duties, made the task seem fun and enjoyable! When they thought the task might be fun, they were positive about it, though their reaction just moments before was quite negative.
You and I have numerous tasks ahead. How will you look at them today? As pleasant or unpleasant? As chores or as fun? When you think you may actually enjoy them – you probably will!