Are we in control of our lives or are we not?

Well, for many years I believed that I was not in control of my life, I just felt lucky when things were working as I wished, and then I felt like a victim when things went wrong… all in all I felt pretty powerless about most of it.

But things have changed for me, completely changed I would say, as I have slowly realized that I can live my life “by design” as opposed to just “by default,” but to be honest with you, this truth took a long time to take hold, and a lot of inner work on my part… as many good things do 🙂

So, Are we in control of our lives or aren’t we?

Here is the thing: we will never be able to control most of what surrounds us: the weather, the traffic, the constant changes, and mostly: the people around us. But we are always in control of our actions and our reactions to those variables, so in a way, we are in control of our lives.

If we see ourselves as victims of our surroundings then we will never feel we have control, but if we switch our perspective and realize that the way we decide to act or respond to everything that surrounds us will determine our true experience, then we will feel truly empowered and in control.

Is what happens to us a product of simple fate or is it something we bring onto ourselves (consciously or not? )

How much of our experience is self-made and how much is just imposed into our human condition?

I truly believe that what happens to us, to a great extent, is the result of our own making, whether we like it or not, I know most people cringe when they hear this, and so did I for most of my life, but I have come to realize one major thing:

We are often totally unaware of how we bring things into our lives, so we cannot possibly take responsibility for it, until, we become aware of our internal patterns, deep seated beliefs and subconscious workings. And gaining that kind of awareness is no small feat!  Sadly, a lot of people never do.

On the other hand, yes, there is a part that we can call fate, and this is because we do not live alone nor isolated, we live in a big wide world with millions of other people and living creatures as well as natural forces, and because of this, we do depend on all of them, to a certain degree as well.

However, the more aware we are, the more in control we can be, simply because we realize our own part of responsibility and we can begin to take control of what we can indeed change, and for the remaining of it, what we would call “fate”  we can also be in control, in the sense that our reaction to what happens is definitely under our control.

There is a lovely “Serenity Prayer” that my parents had on a wall at home for years, and it has always been in my mind… here it is:

Serenity Prayer This little prayer illustrates what I am trying to convey in this post.

Yes, there are things that I cannot change, but the way I look at them will change my experience (accepting as opposed to resisting.)

And there are things I can definitely change (they are under my control,) in fact, a lot more things than I think.

However, I need to be wise enough (aware enough,) to tell the difference, which means: I need to do my work of introspection and self-discovery in order to gain that awareness/wisdom.

So, in my newly acquired view, we are pretty much in control of our lives, but this is a “control” in which our ego does not play an important part, it is not about getting things “my way” but rather it is about merging in with the flow of life, learning to dance with it, and co-create our experience through this dance. 

Have a lovely week!

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Avoid Unnecessary Hurt

I recently came across a quote that I found interesting and I wanted to share it with you today:

“When people hurt you over and over, think of them like sand paper.
They may scratch and hurt you a bit, but in the end, you end up polished and they end up worn out.”

– Chris Colfer

pinkflowers

Although by no means we should allow people to hurt us over and over, it is important to keep in mind that we have little control over what other people say or do, but we certainly have control over our own emotions and reactions.

I strongly believe that people are not out there to hurt you, but they have their own issues and challenges and if they can’t keep their negative emotions under control (envy, resentment, anger, etc.), they may say or do things that hurt others; whether they do it on purpose or not, it is still a result of their own lack of emotion control. Your reaction is also the result of your own emotion control.

You can choose today not to let other people’s comments or actions bring you down, you can decide to grow in understanding and wisdom and raise above it or, you can sink in despair, anger, resentment,t etc. But remember, it is always YOUR choice!

Some people believe they have little control over their emotions and they feel victims of their circumstances, but the truth is we always have a choice, and we need to become responsible for our own well-being, therefore responsible for our own emotions and reactions. Once we accept this simple truth, we can work towards achieving peace by learning to tame our emotions, one of the best ways to do this is to quiet our minds, because our thoughts and beliefs are responsible for our emotions.

We are not victims of our surroundings, we are the creators of our life, so we can choose how to live, it takes some effort and commitment but it is worth every minute spent on it. Knowing that you don’t depend on others for your happiness is an empowering thought. This to me was a wonderful realization, one that gave me freedom from the people around me and the circumstances around me.

This does not mean we should let people get away with anything, when dealing with difficult relationships we should certainly take action to prevent further hurt. But ultimately others can only hurt us as much as we allow them to. Below is a short list of what we can do to start:

  • Avoid people who tend to say or do hurtful things, if you can
  • Talk to them when you are both calm and at peace, let them know your feelings, without blaming them
  • If neither of the above are possible, practice detachment and self control when you are in their presence

The list above can be used in many different contexts and situations, not only in regards to difficult relationships but also for difficult circumstances. If you find yourself in a situation that is less than desirable, you have 3 choices:

  • You remove yourself from the situation, OR
  • You fix the situation, OR
  • You accept the situation and learn to live with it, in peace

As Eckart Tolle would say: “resisting your present reality can only lead to frustration and despair.” By resisting he means resenting your current situation and allowing it to bring you down.

Some people find it hard to believe that they can become immune to hurtful actions and words from others, but they are hurtful only to the extent that we allow them to be. With some conscious work on yourself, you can little by little attain freedom from external circumstances. If you want to read more on this topic, I have a few more postings that might be of interest to you:

Have a great week!