I’ll believe it when I see it

I used to be a ‘realist.’

You know, one of those secretly negative people who wants to argue how limited life, time, resources, money, energy, etc. really is because they’re too afraid to have their beliefs…aka limited self worth…challenged?

Yeah, that was me.

During that time, I was arrogant and pissy at the world in more ways than one as if the world put a hit on me and I was doomed no matter where I turned. Deep down inside I felt I had to prove myself TO the world in order to make them know I wasn’t as horrible a person as I personally believed I was.

Like they even cared who I was or how I showed up? Who were they even anyway?! Besides, it’s not like I was famous or even partially known by even some large community.


In all truth, I was really just afraid. I mean like, REALLY afraid of being judged. So much so that I felt like I could not depend on or trust anything I could not hold with my hands or see with my eyes.

Faith? That wasn’t even an option for me. I wanted cold hard proof and I wasn’t willing to take any chances on trusting something that might cause my demise…ie: anything that would cause me to think or feel differently.

So I chose to sit very still on life and do as much nothing as I possibly could in hopes of not being seen…or challenged.

As cliché as it sounds, the world around us will not change until we do.

And my victim consciousness, well, that was my great excuse for being the lack of change I felt would protect me from failing.

Realism? Nope. Just fear.

I took pride in being stubborn. I loved debating. I was very opinionated. And overall, I wanted to be right. All the time.

The anchor for me was my ‘realistic’ mentality of: Since I am too afraid to do it, it must be too dangerous for others as well. And if can’t do it, I can’t give anyone else permission to do it either because that will challenge my perceptions of reality.

A long-standing belief of ‘I must convince them with my intellect to believe I am worthy of their attention,’ pushed me to be extremely book smart and talk with eloquence. I became a great speaker, a go-to person for answers, an avid people-pleaser and someone others could truth with knowledgeable guidance. Somehow, in an odd and very peculiar way, despite my limited self belief, people saw through me to acknowledge my pure heart and good intentions. They saw past my bullshit self image…thankfully.

I never wanted anyone to hurt or suffer so I absorbed their negative energy to free them of it.

And yes, if you are wondering, I AM an empath and an Indigo. (and that’s a convo for another day and time…)

I wanted to help others know their true worth but I could never gift myself with the same value or self worth.

But one magically beautiful summer day…Alan Watts changed all of this in me. Or at least the ME I thought I was which was not really ME but a conceptual me, or…you get the gist ;)

I’d purchased a book while in college up at the California Culinary Academy in SF called: Myth and Religion. I wanted to find out why I was so triggered by people’s opinions, by organized religion especially, and how I could make sense of what I was so upset about in life. With a summer on unemployment and loads of time to dig into my personal growth, I started reading all the books that called to me.

As a side note: We were laid off from fine dining during the summers in the Palm Spring area because hey, who wants to vacation in the desert when it’s over 125 degrees F? It was like the Universe was saying, “You know Alida, I think it’s time you wake up. We’re going to gift you some paid time off to figure your shit out so you can step up into a more purposeful life…” Yep, I acknowledge those little moments as blessings for sure!

So here I was, almost 2 years to the day after purchasing this book, I sat down to read it and everything in my life began to click. Alan writes:

“The difficulty lies in wanting to find a method whereby I can change my consciousness and improve myself. But the self that needs to be improved is the one that is doing the improving, and so I am rather stuck.”
…It’s like trying to lift yourself off the ground with your own bootstraps; it cannot be done.”

I describe it like asking a fish if it’s wet. Without the contrast of knowing what dry is, it could never tell you to what degree it felt anything other than wet.

Neck deep in my sorrow and struggles, Alan so richly pointed out that my limited view on life was created by my own, self-inflicted battle of emotional turmoil to which I accepted as identity rather than just an experience. His writings suggested that I needed to step back and see that I…the real I as a soul or spiritual being…was simply observing through this human form named Alida and that suffering was caused by believing I…the real I…was in fact Alida.

Whew! For me, that was just the tip of the iceberg but at least now I knew the iceberg existed!

It was my first real insight into the concept that this reality is only limited by our beliefs…not by some conceptual reality made up by the limited minds of man.

I began questioning everything!

If I was limiting myself by identifying with some conceptual self, how was I limiting my potential to succeed?

If I was limiting my potential to succeed, was I really the one who created all the chaos in my life?

If I was creating all this chaos in my life, do I have anyone to blame but myself for this suffering?

And if I had no one else to blame for my suffering, could I then take ownership enough to CREATE success too?

That book sparked my spiritual journey and 15 years later, I’m still an avid student of comparative religions.


It’s not even real. According to Quantum Physics, it’s more like a reflection of our imagination. All that said, I gave up trying to be a realist when I came to the conclusion that it was keeping me caged in my pain and suffering.

I didn’t even need to defend myself or my opinion to others anymore as I realized that their reality was far different than the one I was living so any convincing on my end would be done for the sake of judging them…exactly what I didn’t want them to do to me!

Go figure.

You never know how arrogant you’re being until you are open to change. And that gut check made me realize just how guarded, stubborn, arrogant, and angry at myself that I truly was!

My advice to my clients on this topic: be humble enough to challenge your own view points and open enough to realize that none of them have to be forever. By allowing yourself to be someone different today than you were yesterday, you give permission to the greater version of you to express itself in the form of growth and change in and through your life.

It feels much greater and more liberating to allow yourself permission to explore new realms of thought.
What’s stopping you? What are you afraid of finding out about yourself?

Comment in the section below and if this resonates, please pass it along to anyone you know is stuck in being a ‘realist.”

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Alida McDaniel is an Intuitive Life Strategist with 13 years in the coaching industry. Her brand, Ambassador for Goodness, covers holistic, mindful and conscious living through podcasting, blogging, and a new YouTube series called Eat, Glow, Rise. She’s also co-owner of Mind Soul Fit OC, a holistic fitness center in Newport Beach, CA.