Monday, October 22, 2012

Starting to Take Charge of Your Life: Part 1

I've been mulling over three things since Thursday.

This morning I woke up realizing what my mind had been up to. It had been writing a three post series for this week on starting to take charge of your life. 

For me, taking charge is about many things. It's about becoming the master of my own fate (within the scope of God's plan), but it's also about being responsible for my own happiness. 

A lot of people out there are very unhappy. I was one of them. I saw myself as trapped and couldn't see my way out of my own life, short of killing myself. 

I used to be desperately unhappy and although I never seriously contemplated suicide, I got close enough for me to be scared into thinking about what had gone wrong to get me stuck in a life I hated. 

Basically, it came down to three things, and I think I'm far from the only one who had issues with them. I also believe anyone can change their lives for the better if they're aware of these things. They are: Responsibility, a willingness to question the status quo, and tenacity. 

So why are they necessary? Easy answer: taking charge of our lives requires change in many guises. Maybe your whole life needs to change (mine did), or maybe it's a succession of small changes adding up to something big. 

Point is, if you're afraid of change, odds are you'll never take charge of your life. 

With that said, let's get started. 

Responsibility

We humans have a few flaws, but one of the big ones is the fact we blame other people and factors outside ourselves for a variety of things we don't like. We blame others for preventing us from doing what we want. We blame the weather for making us sad. We blame the dog's barking for making us moody. We blame our circumstances for being trapped in (and this funny in a sad way) our circumstances.

Some people are determined to determined to live like this. I suspect most of them don't even realize they're doing it. 

Blaming others has its purpose, I suppose. It helps us to deal with the symptoms of our unhappiness, of our discontent. On the other hand, it obscures the root cause of that very unhappiness and in doing so, it makes the whole thought of escaping it look like an insurmountable mountain. 

So we blame our surroundings more, trying to feel better, until it becomes an addiction that obscures our own lives from us. 

Think about it. How many times have you wanted to do something only to blame people and circumstances for why you can't? How many times have you tried to do those things anyway?

I understand. I've been there. But I've also been to a point where all those excuses and resentments I had to others stopped cutting it. 

It's a wonderful place to be, but damn, it's incredibly painful. It nearly tore my life apart while I dug past all the crap in order to find what I really wanted. 

That's why I'm writing this series. I hope that at least one person reading this can find happiness before having to go through hell. 

I believe happiness doesn't come from being happy. Being happy comes from doing things that make you happy, but in a way adding value to your life. 

Those things are usually tucked away, far in the deepest, darkest corner of the back of our minds. When we don't do them, we become miserable, because we're not doing the one or two things we're really supposed to be doing. 

We become aware of them every now and then, maybe wishing we could just try doing them. We instinctively know we'd be much happier even trying to do them than we are right now pretending to be happy not to. 

Instead we blame things for why we can't. The keys to our happiness are shoved back into the darkness and we pretend to be content. 

Contentment isn't happiness. 

Blaming your surroundings do much more damage to your life than it helps. It keeps you unhappy for longer than you ever needed to be. 

More importantly, it blinds you to the opportunities and ways you could do exactly what you want, even if it's in a different way than you expected. 

This is why you need to take responsibility for your happiness. It will never come to you unless you realize that you are the only human on earth who will make you truly happy. 

To escape unhappiness, it's necessary to admit something terrifying: You are responsible for being unhappy. Not your spouse, or your parents, children, dog, next door neighbors etc. You. 

Because no matter what the things and people around you do, you're the only one who can change what makes you unhappy. You're the only one who can make yourself do things you're afraid of. But that's for Wednesday's post. 

Are there things you've been wanting to do, but felt like your life was keeping you from it? 

2 comments:

Dana said...

Your series is here at the perfect time for me. Thank you. You've given me a lot to think about.

My Meddling Mind said...

Misha, I am reading and excited to be doing so. Thanks for sharing this with me!

The reading continues.....