coping with reality

*presentation for Women in Tech - Cluj

Coping with reality means that:

- we feel what we feel in the present moment

- we do what we need to do while being compassionate to ourselves

When coping with reality there are a lot of things that can help us. I will go though some of them, that I found have the biggest effect for me. I will start with some questions and after that I will try to connect them in a process and show you how I use it.

We'll go through this concepts: Reality, Coping, Maturity and Motivation and combine them in a "how to".


When we talk about coping, we are not just referring to coping with unpleasant or painful experiences, we need to address also coping with pleasant and beneficial experiences. Although most of the focus is on painful experiences, I noticed that we are not terribly good at coping with pleasant experiences either. We have good experiences that we dismiss, that we invalidate, that we say are not enough, that we do not stay present to. When reading about these four concepts, think also about the pleasant experiences not just the painful ones.

- What is reality?

Reality is whatever is happening in the present moment outside and inside of us. Here there is a catch! We tend to interpret reality way too fast, without being aware of our perception. When we perceive reality we can do it through the six senses. Yes Bruce Willis, we're finally agreeing with you.

We can perceive outside reality through sight, hearing, taste, and touch. I can see, or hear things around me. I can even perceive myself through my five senses. There is however a difference between perception and interpretation.

Perception: I see the corners of your mouth moving up

Interpretation: I see you smiling

If we jump right to interpretation we end-up believing that what we think is automatically true. People lift the corners of their mouth up even when they are not smiling.

With the sixth sense we perceive our inside world, what happens beneath our skin. This is called interoception, but for us we will name it the "inner sense". Through this sense we perceive the internal sensations.

Perception: I sense a pressure in my chest

Interpretation: I am stressed

Our interpretations might be real, or they might be true, but they are not exclusive and they are not unique.

It is more useful to separate our perception of reality and our interpretation of it, we don't have to clear our minds or invalidate our emotions, we just need to observe them separately from the perceptions and to not believe that what we believe/feel is reality, it is just part of our reality.

- what is coping?

When we cope we do whatever we need and know to tolerate our experience. There are effective and ineffective ways to cope.

When we cope effectively:

- we are aware of reality through our perception