Today’s Thought: You can change everything in your life right now. You own your life, so you own the power to change everything in it. If this is true, facts of your life that you complain about are actually totally within your power to change.
Think this topic doesn’t apply to you, that you have special circumstances and that it isn’t that simple..? Untrue! Unless you’re incarcerated, if you’re reading this online, I’m pretty certain you can change your life dramatically, no matter what your circumstances. If this makes you angry, pay even closer attention, because it means I’m hitting home! Any situation you feel is holding you back, you’re in for two reasons:
1) Your prior choices or lack thereof
2) You’re lying to yourself about how important the change is to you.
People are really good at getting what they truly need. Sometimes we tend to be less truthful in admitting to ourselves what that honestly is. Instead, it’s more comfortable to let things remain as they are – even when we tell ourselves we want something different.
I know, it is maybe ”different for you” – you have a family and kids, for instance? Well guess what? I know you think it makes your situation different, but it doesn’t in terms of owning the power to change your life. You will understand better after wading through the following ideas.
All the options we say we ‘can’t’ exercise – we actually can. We are choosing not to. You can quit that job, even if you have a family or debt. You own the power to never walk back in there again. You even own the ability to abandon your family. I am not saying you should do either. Just recognize that people do such things every day. Heck, people do even more dramatic things, like putting their kids in foster care or committing crimes. Again, I’m not condoning those things, whatsoever. Rather, I’m drawing your attention to something that can change your perspective forever. Stay with me.
What stops you from just quitting your job, or abandoning your family, or worse? It isn’t that ‘you are a good person’ because that is actually relative. Rather, you likely don’t like the cost, including seeing yourself as ‘a bad person.’ You value a certain ‘identity’ than you value ‘escaping.’ Or maybe the thought of the heartache your abandoned family would experience is more painful than the value of freedom you would earn. In the same way, you value knowing where your next meal will come from more than you value the ability to tell your boss to ”take this job and shove it!” You weighed the costs and benefits of each, and here you are today, living the less painful option, even when the change may have been better for you.
Why? Humans tend to go to greater lengths to avoid pain than they do to be rewarded. We are less likely to make change if it involves a high cost or pain. So, no longer can we say we are trapped: We choose where we are, having weighed the cost vs. the reward.
Knowing this, can we continue to resent others for our circumstances? You landed where you are, and you remain because you don’t like the alternatives. Once you own your decisions you can’t possibly resent another. Suddenly your relationship to all you have resented improves, because your attitude has shifted. Sure, you may still wish you’d made better choices at times, but you no longer feel trapped. Feeling imprisoned in your own life is a recipe for misery! When we blame others, we give away our power. Owning that we chose to be where we are after weighing cost vs. reward restores our power.
That is your ticket to freedom from feeling victim to your circumstances. Your stress level will drop. Time and energy once spent resenting the facts of your life freed are now spent weaving a better reality. Seeing you never again need feel trapped or powerless again, you can even see your way to discovering things to be grateful for.
Once you’ve made this shift, you can work toward un-complicating your life further, adding new and wonderful things to the landscape of your world. Even when you opt to skip the bigger changes, you can oftentimes make many little changes to allow joy into your life.
For Today: Where do you feel trapped or stuck in your life? If you aren’t sure, look for things you blame others for, like your boss or co-workers, or traffic (you could leave earlier, you are choosing not to because there is a benefit to leaving when you do), your partner, your kids, your budget. The things you complain about are things you feel powerless over. Start asking yourself some powerful questions about why you maintain your personal status quo. Take ownership of it – never again blame others.
How so? Angry at your partner for how they toss their clothes on the floor? You can get extreme and break-up. You can throw their clothes in the garbage. You can fight it out day in and day out. The reality as you live today means you don’t like those options better than the ones created by what you are doing here and now. Again, not suggesting any of these options, just that you have chosen to maintain what exists now because it is less painful than other alternatives.
Stop blaming others and resenting your life. Take back your power, own your life!