It’s true that there are some people in this world living a life that they did not choose, but instead one that is forced upon them. But the people reading this blog will mostly be in the category of living out of free will. It’s so easy to catch myself saying, and hear other people saying things like, “I don’t have enough time to do the things I want to do,” or “If I only had a better job,” or “I’m too tired today,” or “When he/she changes, things will be better,” or “When I start making money, then I can focus on my dreams.” If we’re even thinking we can do something, it’s either our job, or our relationship, our family, or something external that seemingly needs to change first in order for us to finally be happy and live the life we have always imagined. But the truth is, there is no blame to dish out here except right back at ourselves. The life you are currently living is the life you have chosen to live.
That can be a hard pill to swallow for a lot of people. “Wait, you mean this is MY fault?!” Yes. Of course there are the exceptions of forced marriages, and even (sickeningly as it is to think about) still situations of slavery. But if you don’t fall under either of those categories or some other extreme exception, this is your play, you are the leading character, and you have not only chosen the set, but also most of the characters in your play. The plot, admittedly, is a bit out of your hands…you’re not God or any Divine Mind after all.
This concept is especially difficult for people in abusive situations. They did not marry a person hoping to be yelled at, or hit, or ignored, or criticized. Then how is it that the situation in which they find themselves is their fault? Please don’t think me callous when I reiterate that it is their choice to be in that relationship, and it is a choice to keep a shitty job and take no action but to complain about it. It is a choice to eat meals in front of the tv and lose touch with your family, or eat when you feel depressed and add weight, or bury yourself in piles of work that keep you from home, or to seek out strangers for one-night stands when you feel lonely. Our mistakes are still our choices- bad ones, but their ours, and until we accept responsibility for them, we will be stuck in a blame cycle of pointing our fingers outside of ourselves while becoming more and more bitter inside at the disappearing dreams we will never achieve. OUCH!
I can think of one exception – addiction – when our choices have led our bodies into dependency on a substance to the point where choice to quit is no longer enough. But even recovery programs focus on accepting responsibility for ourselves in order to ultimately become better people. There have even been studies on abuse and how it can be addictive to the victims in ways that require immediate counseling and support to help get you healthy and in one piece again. If this is you, please seek help from friends, family and professionals.
The good news? It isn’t too late. Your play is not over, and the script is not set. You are writing it every new day, and you will wake up tomorrow with another chance at this game of Life. Ask yourself one question, “Am I living the life I want?” If you don’t like your answer, change something. Today I take responsibility for living the life I’ve chosen.
Another good blog on this: Choose the Life you Really Want