Are Your Perceptions Real?

The Meaning of Your Rainbow

I was talking with a friend a few days ago, who is pregnant with her first child. We were talking about parenting - how our parents raised us, what we would do differently with our children, what we would keep the same. She was a little apprehensive, a little anxious about being a parent, about being responsible for a child and his or her life.

I remember saying to her, that regardless of how perfectly she may try to raise her child, the child will be screwed up anyway (yes, those were the exact words I used) simply by his or her own interpretation and association of everything that happens in his or her life.

Haven't we all - at some point in our lives - made conclusions and generalisations about something based on one incident alone, and believed that to be true for all cases?

Besides, what makes perfect parenting anyway?

I told her a story that I heard at one of Tony Robbins' events. A story about two Vietnam war veterans who had lost their friends and fellow soldiers in the Vietnam war. Both fought in the same war, both witnessed the loss of their fellow countrymen, both experienced the gruesome act of taking someone else's life. And yet, after the war was over, both led very different lives. 30 years since the war ended, one was depressed, lonely and suicidal; the other happy and healthy, surrounded by a loving family and close friends.

So, what was the difference?

Based on his experience of the war in Vietnam, one man thought, "What is the point of being close to someone? I'll lose them anyway." So he lived his life in bitterness and resentment, fearful of being close to anyone to avoid having to feel the pain of losing them.

The other man, on the other hand, thought, "Life is precious. I have to live it to the fullest and cherish every moment of it." So he lived his life in gratitude, treasuring every moment he has with his loved ones. What a big difference that made.

As I am writing this, I am reminded of a talk given by Mr. Beadsworth, a mathematics teacher during my Cambridge A Levels days. I am reminded of his famous ‘Rainbow Talk', in which he talks, literally, about rainbows.

That talk was held in the auditorium of my old college some 11 years ago, but my most vivid memory of it was when he said, "You and your friend might think you are looking at the same rainbow, but you're not, you are looking at two different rainbows." There is a scientific explanation behind that, of course, but when I think about it now - frequency of light and spectrum aside - it is true that two people may be looking at the same rainbow, and still see them differently.

Nothing has meaning except the meaning you give it. You are responsible for giving meaning to everything that has happened in your life. So, the question is, would you rather be like the first war veteran who lived his life with bitterness, resentment and fear? Or would you rather be like the second, who saw the lessons the war had taught him and created a more empowering meaning for it?

Either way, the good news is that, with awareness, you now have the choice of going back to any incident in your past that may be the source of your pain or suffering now, and create a new, more empowering meaning for it. And if you are a parent, perhaps the greatest gift you can give to your child is that, and also the awareness that they too, can look at their rainbows and make them mean something beautiful and special.

To your rainbows,

Copyright © 2011 Chiao Kee Lim
Chiao Kee Lim is the owner of the copyright to this work. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any for or by any means without the prior written permission of the author, nor be otherwise circulated in any form other than that in which it is published. Any reproduction, amendments, edits and/or re-posting on any other medium apart from those authorized by the author will be dealt with under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Chiao Kee Lim - author

Chiao Kee is a three-time award-winning author who won her first award at the age of 16. She is the President and Founder of The Dirty 30s Club - a blog that promotes self awareness and personal empowerment through stories and personal reflection, packed with a generous dose of humor and fun. Since its launch in September 2010, the Club has had visitors from 111 countries, with its popularity on the rise due to the high quality of its content.

She is a passionate student of personal development who started her journey in 2007 learning from world experts such as Tony Robbins, Bob Proctor, T. Harv Eker and Blair Singer in the areas of personal growth and the psychology of peak potentials. She has recently completed work on her book "What My Mother Never Taught Me -The 7 Things I Wish I Had Known About Finding Happiness."

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Stories / Articles 2011