Have you ever felt disillusioned with part of your life? Have you ever had a hope or dream that didn’t turn out as expected? Have you ever discovered that a fundamental thought or belief that you thought was true and it turned out to be false? We all have illusions. The question is what steps do you need to take to move past the illusion and return to reality?

An illusion is a false idea or conception, a belief or opinion that doesn’t match the facts. Often this mistaken belief is paired with a partial truth. This can result when you only see a fraction of the full picture, rather than entire whole. A great example is the small child who sees the tree branches outside their bedroom window and is scared by the “goblins.”

Since illusions are self-created, they can be changed

Illusions are self-created. No one is making you hold this illusion except yourself. The good news is that if an illusion can be created, it can also be uncreated. People hold illusions because they receive some sort of benefit from holding them.

To demonstrate this point, ask yourself these questions about illusions you may have had in the past.

      • What perceived benefits did I receive from holding on to this illusion?
      • In retrospect, was there a better way I could have achieved the benefits I desired?
      • Was the quality of my life higher or lower when I held these illusions?

One of the greatest benefits of shattering illusions is releasing the energy needed to hold the illusion in place. Once released, this energy then becomes available to work on improving other parts of your life.

How willing are you to grow?

Your willingness to grow determines how easy or difficult it is to shatter an illusion. The more important it is for you to hold onto an illusion, the harder and more painful it will be to shatter that illusion. In other words, the more you cling to the illusion, the more energy you will require to continue to hang on to it. 

Signs you’re hanging on to an illusion

Two important signs you may be holding on to an illusion are denial and blaming others. If you find yourself doing this, look carefully. Are you hanging on to an illusion when the truth is staring directly in your face?

How to shatter the illusion and move to reality

Exactly how does a person shatter an illusion? First, you must determine that what you believe to be true (i.e., the illusion) is actually false. Once you make that determination, here are the steps to follow. We’ll use the example of developing your financial independence.

  1. Carefully document what’s happening in your environment. For example, do you always pay your bills late but consider yourself to be someone who is financially responsible and always pays your bills on time?
      • Begin by identifying where the false belief exists, i.e., you keep getting dinged with late charges each month.
      • What actions must you take to make your reality match your expectations?
      • Next, take implement the action steps necessary to make sure your bills are paid on time and that you no longer receive any late fees. Once you have gone several months with no late fees, you’ll know that your actions and your belief about yourself are in alignment. In other words, you have shattered your illusion by aligning your reality and your beliefs about yourself.
  1. Spend the time that you would normally allocate to watching TV to working on your financial systems. This could include making and reviewing your budget, designing a specific place to file invoices or paper bills, and putting as many bills as possible on autopay with your bank.
  1. Develop a support network where you can freely talk about financial difficulties without fear or shame (a coach is a great resource here). Ask your support network to hold you accountable for your actions without resorting to threats or abuse. Actively use this network as long as necessary.
  1. Actively search for clarity in all parts of your life, not just the particular area you are currently focused on (i.e. financial independence). Carefully note where you fight and defend your actions the most – these are prime areas to search for clarity and possibly to uncover other illusions.

The bottom line is uncovering our illusions is a lifetime pursuit. Each day you actively work toward this end makes this process much easier. Also, a little patience and humor will make this journey much more enjoyable.

Recall an illusion that you may have had in the past. It may have been that your job was secure and stable, and you were laid off. Perhaps you had always dreamed of being an attorney, but after going to work in the field, you didn’t like the work and were so miserable that you decided to change careers. 

The question is what benefit does the person who is hanging on to an illusion?