Life can make choices for us.
Sometimes these choices
And make us unhappy if we let them.
But in the end we control our own destiny
Because we can decide how we are going to allow
People or events to affect us.
So much of our happiness, and unhappiness,
Lies within the choices we make.
We can accept that life isn’t the way we want it to be,
Or we can work to change it so it will be.
We can walk through the shadows,
Or we can choose to smile
And to seek out the sunlight.
We can create grand dreams
That never leave the ground,
Or we can be builders of dreams that that touch the sky.
We can look at only
The negative aspects of ourselves,
Or we can lift ourselves up
By being our own best friend.
We can live in the past
Or dream about the future,
Or we can live for today.
We can give up when the road becomes difficult,
Or we can keep on going
Until the view is much better.
The choices in life are endless,
And so is the potential for happiness…….
You can only live in a happiness bubble if you’ve made a choice not to be real. Life is always a mixture of good times and bad. Even Pollyanna knew that.
One of the greatest lessons we can learn is to see the positive in the times that are less than totally positive – or downright painful. To see the positive, or see the teaching, is what changes our perspective and allows us to move forward again.
Real happiness never means the total absence of sadness, grief or pain. Nor does it mean we ignore these things so we can concentrate on more positive ones, because when we shut ourselves down to any emotion, we ultimately shut ourselves down to ALL our emotions.
And that would be a disaster – because how then would we recognise happiness or joy when they come? How could we feel or appreciate them fully?
We deny our humanity when we pretend to be happy or when we any of our emotions. We must connect our body and mind and feel real life – but we must also remember not to get stuck in a dark place.
Death happens, serious illness happens. Our lives can be turned upside down in an instant and we are faced with living nightmares that tear our hearts apart. At these times, we get through our days by living moment by moment, one step at a time.
What we can’t afford to do is to stop living, to allow ourselves to get stuck or frozen in that place. We must move forward, learn new ways of living in the landscape of the new world that faces us – and choose to be happier, despite what has happened or is happening to us.
The choices we make at these times – to do what we can to get us back to a happy place – are what makes our lives worth living well. Our happiness is always a choice, moment by moment, thought by thought and action by action. By choosing happiness, we allow ourselves to see what is still good in our life, and we allow ourselves to create new opportunities to know happiness.
We learn to protect ourselves from pain – sometimes to such an extent that we destroy ourselves, our self esteem, our relationships.
Can we change? We can – we aren’t leopards. There is hope for anyone to change, if they choose to change. It may be instant or it may take considerable time, where you spend time in analysis to figure out why you acted in the way you did, why you made the choices you made – but and only where you use the information to move you forward.
There are many reasons why we don’t change. In the first instance we may not even be aware that we are continue to do the wrong things for all the right reasons, and the cycle perpetuates itself. Or it may be that we don’t change because we are not sure if it is possible to do things differently. Yet if we continue to do what we have always done, why should we be surprised that we continue to get the same results time after time.
What if we gave ourselves permission to try something different? What if it what we tried didn’t work – could we be gentle enough on ourselves to acknowledge the bravery that made us try something different, and wise enough to learn the lessons from that failure so we can try something else?
If we live the lives we want to live we can’t continue to constantly worry about other people, what they want, their problems, their issues. They are responsible for choosing their own path in life, so remind them of that. If you feel that you are always thinking of others needs, trying to help them, always giving never accepting, always controlling or being controlled, or feeling angry, upset or used then you may have deeper issues to deal with and a therapy such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy may help.
If your moods are dependant on others moods or behaviour, then there is hope – for there is absolutely no need for this to be the case. You decide how you think. And making that choice to harness your mind is the most significant change you might ever make in your life.
What happened in the past happened. It’s the stories we attach to it, how we interpret it, that move us forward or keep us stuck there. The same thing (more or less) will have happened to someone in the world at some point in history, yet they will have forgotten or forgiven it, or learned lessons that allowed them to teach and serve the world in a better way.
To be numbed by it, stuck in it, restrained or fettered by it is a waste of your own precious life. Pain and suffering are an inside job that create your outside life. Choose to let go, to tell your story in a different way that owns the experience but lets go the pain. Choose a better future, choose love, not fear.
Dare to be happier.
Decisions, decisions. Before every action, there’s a thought. You might not ever be consciously aware of your thought, but it was there all the same.
In the film “Parallel Doors” we observe the different routes life could go on the basis of one choice and the film shows us the consequence of each choice. Yet that’s always only ever a philosophical debate. The fact is we make choices every minute of every day that impact our future. Right down to what we eat and drink and whether we turn left or right, act or don’t act. Choosing is how we live, it’s just that we often make our choices unconsciously.
When you consciously know there is a decision to be made, do you regularly make it easily? Or do you agonise over decisions for hours or days, seeking second and third opinions from people and suffer from paralysis by analysis? After all, what if you make the “wrong” decision? If making decisions is a major issue for you, then even deciding if you want coffee or tea might cause anxiety. (It also means you’ve lost touch with who you are and what you think and want from life. Could be time to get your journal out……)
When it comes to major decisions though, I know that in the past, I found myself stuck – and not just paralysed by indecision and fear of making a “wrong” choice – but unable to see any options at all.
This was particularly the case when my thinking meant that I evaluated right/wrong choices on the basis of other people. I could only see how what was right for ME could mean hard times, tears and pain for others. This concern for others in doing “the right thing” paralysed me just as much as fear of the unknown. And sadly, this has also led to me getting to the point where the dam inside just burst, and I ended up wading through the wreckage the flood left behind.
But wading through that wreckage and rebuilding a life again helped me to understand (in hindsight) that no choice I make is ever strictly a “wrong” choice, EVEN when MY decision could be the “right” decision for me – but the “wrong” one for someone else, or for the collective group. It’s simply the right choice for me if I’m to live authentically.
Yesterday, I read this quote from Gary Smit who wrote, “Choosing to do the right thing means you are going to have to withdraw from the wrong choices you made. Be easy about it and flow towards your desires, making better choices every day, and then the withdrawal from old choices will be less, than if you were to make new choices while beating yourself up over old choices.”
In this context, as Natalie (who had posted it on Facebook) pointed out, this was about people who make wrong choices – and then continue to make them. That’s a different issue, though still about choice and it means there then comes a point when someone is running a wrong-choice pattern, they need to withdraw from those and start to make better choices. Now that’s wise. Sometimes we learn easily and are “once bitten, twice shy.” And sometimes we need to see the patterns we run because only then can we change.
Certainly, there is little value in beating yourself up about past choices. You did what you did at the time on the basis of who you were then with the values, beliefs and experiences you had to that point. It’s that hindsight thing again!
For that reason, if you spend time weighing up the options, there comes a point where a decision needs made. Agonising and dithering means a lot of anxiety or the pressure of being stuck; and a lot can still happen even while that’s how you feel.
Even when you are between a “rock and a hard place” you must at last make a choice to live and at the very least, you try one option. Otherwise you end up like the donkey who couldn’t choose between two bales of hay and starves to death – a rather drastic consequence of his indecision – but you get the idea.
Make a decision and know that you made the best choice at the time. There IS no failure, only feedback. It you make a decision that doesn’t “work out,” you learn from it and move on, living with the consequences and still learn from that. It’s all good.
Sometimes, of course, you make the “right” choice. You weigh up your actions and possibilities and you are more than happy with your choice. And then something happens to make you re-evaluate things completely, and you change direction. Does that mean your first choice was wrong and you should beat yourself up about it? Of course not! We are human beings living in an uncertain world, and life happens in the middle of our plans. You made that decision on the basis of who you were then; it’s quite possible that the experience you gained through that is exactly why you realise you need to make a different choice.
If you are to live authentically, you must be able to listen to your heart and be flexible enough to change so that how you LIVE now fits with who you ARE. now. The course of your life could pivot on that choice; only hindsight will tell that. For now, it’s YOUR choice to take a different road and even if it’s less travelled, all you need to know is that it’s the right road for you to take.