“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” Lao Tse
Take control of your life.
My first epiphany hit me when I was driving alone on a day like any other day. I remember where I was but it’s somewhat poetic that I have no memory of where I was going. I asked a question of myself for the thousandth time: “Why do some people have everything with seemingly no effort and people, like me, don’t? Poor me!”
An actual answer came to me for the first time:
“What makes you think they have everything with no effort? Maybe they have been focused and worked hard towards a goal!!! You haven’t worked towards anything. Like your mother you’ve been waiting for something to fall into your lap! You need to get your high school diploma and go to college if you want things to change.” I wonder where Horatio Alger was when he came to the same revelation?
One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. “Which road do I take?” she asked. His response was a question; “Where do you want to go?” “I don’t know,” Alice answered. “Then,” said the cat, “It doesn’t matter.” Lewis Carroll
This was the moment in my life where I stopped feeling sorry for myself; realized I was behaving like a victim. I knew I needed to take responsibility for my own life. If I wanted something to change I needed to change it myself. I needed to choose a direction, focus on it and work towards a goal.
“I am woman. Hear me roar.” Helen Reddy
I realized I had to step away from myself and take a true look at what was going on. It’s very difficult to actually look at your life situation or your own behavior with an impartial eye. Looking back I find it interesting that my first conscious epiphany was about finances and not my relationship. I think of it as a training ground for recognizing the more difficult and important epiphanies. It’s easier to be impartial about finances than relationships.
We always have a reason or an excuse for our own behavior. “I yelled because he made me angry!”, “I ignore her because she doesn’t pay any attention to me!”, “He doesn’t show me any affection so why should I?” or the classic “He hit me first!” We always have a reason for our own situation; our own behavior. “My parents didn’t love me”, “My family didn’t have anything to give me”, or “Nobody taught me how to take care of myself”.
Didn’t I have every reason in the world to feel sorry for myself? To feel unloved and unappreciated? To feel as if I didn’t deserve to get ahead? Let’s add it up. My father deserted me, I had never really felt as if my mother loved me, I quit high school because I HAD to get married, I was considered a second class citizen and incompetent because I was female, I had no money, I had no financial advantages in life, I had a limited formal education, no direction. What a mess!
“Our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are but we are responsible for who we become.” Author Unknown
THE LESSON: What I realized for the first time was it doesn’t matter what may have happened to you in the past, how people may have treated you, what’s going on with other people, including your family. Right now is your life. Right now is your situation. Right now is the reality of the way things are. If you want it to be different, fix it. There is no such thing as ‘Poor me!’ Fix it. You have no control over anyone’s behavior but your own. Others are involved in their own ‘stuff’. You are not anyone’s first priority but your own! Treat yourself like a ‘first priority’. Do what you have to do to ‘fix it’.
To help you take an unbiased look at your situation ask a casual friend or acquaintance (maybe several of them) to give their opinion about someone you know that’s having a problem. Of course, that friend is you. Tell them the situation without revealing who it’s about. Change it somewhat if you need to so they don’t realize it’s about you. Don’t give them any reasons why things are like they are. Tell them just the facts. Ask them what they think about the whole situation and what they might do to remedy it. And don’t take offense at some of the answers you may get or make excuses. Think long and hard about their assessments.