In life, there is very little we have control over.
We all come from different walks of life, and have had different things happen to us. Sometimes life goes relatively according to plan, while at other times life throws us curveballs we never could have anticipated (both good and bad).
Yet no matter what happens to us in life, we are never just passive observers caught in the wake of events.
The one element we are always in control of is how we respond to the events in our life.
That response is always our choice.
When things go wrong in our lives it’s understandable to be upset. And it’s natural to look for someone to blame.
But blame doesn’t help us.
Whatever has happened has already happened, and we can’t change it. Plus sometimes there isn’t even anyone to blame. Sometimes things just happen and all we can do is accept them.
That doesn’t mean we have to like whatever has happened, but the reality is we can’t change it.
Our only choice is in deciding how we want to move forward.
That decision is an important one, because we have to move forward. When we get caught up in blaming and we don’t move forward, we are allowing ourselves to remain stuck in the past.
I’m not suggesting people try to hold in their feelings and emotions. We’re human, and we are emotional beings. When something bad happens in our lives it’s understandable (and normal even) to be upset. Anger, sadness, fear – these are all natural responses to events and it’s important that we accept them.
However it’s also important that we process them and deal with them. Because when we don’t, those emotions can control us and keep us trapped, unable to move forward.
When someone has hurt you, it’s easy to be angry at other people for things that have happened. It’s easy to blame, and want to lash out. It’s easy to let that hurt shape you, and change you.
It’s much harder to work through it, and then let it go.
I don’t pretend to have any magic answers for how to do this, but when facing challenges in life I ask myself a number of questions:
- How am I spending my energy, and more specifically is it in a positive way?
- Can I change something?
- Can I influence something, or do I need to accept it.
- What can I learn from something?
- In the big picture, does this really matter?
- How can I best move forward?
If my energy is being spent focused on what has already happened, then I am allowing myself to be stuck in the past. Our past shapes our present, and beyond being part of our journey our past also gives us an opportunity to learn from it and try to better ourselves.
How we move forward is always our choice.
We only stay stuck if we won’t move forward, and if we can’t let go.
Sometimes letting go means letting go of the hurt and resentment that can keep us stuck. Other times it means letting go of the people in our lives who are hurting us. Letting go of people isn’t always an easy choice, but we can’t change others.
If there is something or someone is hurting us, we can’t keep doing the same things and expecting a different outcome.
Something needs to change.
And if we aren’t willing to make changes, then staying where we are is also a choice.
Because the only person who can change where we are, is our self.