We all have hopes, aspirations and expectations for our lives. We want our life to turn out a certain way. The reality is that things almost never unfold the way we expect them to. And yet many of us continue to set and anticipate the conditions that need to be present to make things be “the way we think they should be”. We’re happy as long as everything is going as planned, but inevitably we will encounter something that was not in the plan.
Sometimes we get so attached to the way “things should be” that we try holding on to a reality that no longer exists. We fear that any change will result in loss and we put all our efforts into keeping things the same. This resistance to change may cause us to lose perspective and to act out of fear. Often, we find someone or something to blame and adopt the attitude that “life’s out to get me”.
The way we choose to perceive the situations that we find ourselves in play a significant role in determining how we feel about ourselves and our lives. If we choose to believe that we are powerless and that life is out to get us we are essentially resigning ourselves to the victim role. Feeling that you’re a victim keeps you safe from taking any responsibility because your misery is always somebody else’s fault. However, that feeling of not having control over what happens to you will often cause you to be bitter or angry with life. We certainly have the right to feel that we have been wronged or to feel sorry for ourselves, but it does us no good to stay stuck in this mindset.
We can let life happen to us or we can start taking control of our own life. We must acknowledge that we have the power to take ownership of our own lives. That ownership must come from a place of openness and love rather than one of fear and resistance. When you choose to take control of your life you must also accept you are responsible for your reaction to the events in your life. Taking responsibility for the way you handle yourself in times of crisis allows you to accept that you have some power in the outcome of the situation. This sense of power further strengthens the trust that you will be able to handle life’s obstacle.
So, when things don’t go your way, you can suffer by focusing on how things should have been or you can change your perspective and see how things can be. You can choose to see difficult times as challenges with opportunities for growth or you can succumb to defeat. How will you respond to life’s challenges?
“I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”
– Dr. Maya Angelou
Copyright Dr. Julie Doobay 2014