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How many times have you caught yourself saying: "It happened because of the situation...", "I did it because he told me to...", "I feel this way because of what she did..."?

Something happened because of something else. You did something because you were told to. Something changed in your emotional state because somebody else did something to you.

The reason you did something, or felt something, or the reason something happened was... well, not of your own making. You say it happened to you, and it happened because of someone else or something else. Things unraveled outside your control, you reacted, and you felt the automatic emotional responses to these happenings.

In other words, the world you inhabit is created and directed by someone or something else, and you simply exist in it.

It sounds like a rather bleak prospect to continue living in such a dictatorial world, doesn't it? You convince yourself you’re a pawn in the game of life, a pawn that doesn’t have a choice.

Well, no matter how much you try to convince yourself that's true... it simply isn’t.

You are not a preprogrammed robot designed to respond in an automatic way to stimuli from others, where you live without options. You are a living, breathing human being, with a mind of your own, a heart that is yours to manage, and a world full of possibilities that you can choose or avoid. 

You have a choice.

man on a path

Telling yourself you are choice-less is a form of disillusionment, where you avoid responsibility for the direction of your life. It is convenient to play the victim, assuring yourself and others that none of what has happened (and is happening) to you is because you wanted it that way, but because of external factors.

You put yourself in a helpless position by brainwashing yourself of your immobility, which furthers your conviction that you really don't have a choice.

But you always have a choice.

Your reality is yours, and yours alone. You don't have to explain it to anyone, you don't have to justify its existence, and you definitely shouldn't feel like you don't have a say in it. It’s yours to choose, not something ordered upon you by others or life situations.

I'm not denying that there are moments in life when we really are out of control, where we don't possess even a little bit of power to alter the states we are in. Things do happen to us that are outside our sphere of command. Every one of us has experienced failures and disappointments, feeling lost hope and broken faith.

I've faced my personal share of struggles, where life experiences made me feel like I was forced into situations that compromised my emotional, mental, and physical well-being. I've felt suffocated, depleted, and helpless with the happenings in my life, floating through my daily motions. I've felt shame, anger, and immense sadness because I couldn't change my life situation.

Those frustrations that boil within us are enough to handicap our reality. But after removing myself from the context, I realized I was projecting a sense of helpless finality to the happenings in my life, telling myself I was stuck. My narration restricted my ability to make my own choices by accepting the conclusiveness of my life experiences.

The truth is... Sure, you can't change or control what others do or say, but you can control how you take it in, how you perceive it, and how you react to it. Everything is happening within your reality, and nobody owns that reality but you.

If you can't take responsibility for your reality, eventually your reality will cease to exist. In other words, other people's realities will exist and you will simply rent a place within them. Your life will live itself, and you will stand on the sidelines watching life pass you by.

But it doesn't have to be that way.

I know now that nothing is definite and nothing is hopeless. I know now that I am not choice-less and I am not fated to a life I didn't choose. I know we are social beings and live within our social constructs, but I also value the intimacy of respecting myself, protecting myself, and loving myself.

I know my reality exists within a myriad of other realities, and I understand and value the interdependencies between these realities. But I also know that my reality is mine. I am the driver of my destiny, I have the keys of my life in my own hands. I own my reality.

Woman Wrapped in a Blanket

Hold the reins of control in your hand, and govern the direction of your life. You can decide to take responsibility for your actions, consciously (and purposely) make your decisions, and hold yourself accountable for the consequences.

You must truly believe that nobody makes you do anything and nothing forces you to feel a certain way. When something or somebody attempts to define your reality for you, they have overstepped their boundaries. When someone tells you what you think, what you feel, and how you must behave, they are ruling your reality.

The point is simple. You must take the control back and own your reality. Only when you are convinced that you are the ruler of your own destiny will you take the responsible steps to make the right decisions, and to forge through life filled with a sense of purpose.

Empower yourself to nurture, grow and love your reality. When you realize that you have the ability to embrace your good stories and to rewrite your not-so-good stories, you will choose to live your life with purpose and self-direction. You will be invested in yourself, in respecting and believing in your own reality. You will understand that all sorts of things can happen to you, and all kinds of people can enter your life, but your reality is truly an entity of your sole creation.

The ways you choose to react to these life experiences, and the ways you choose to behave with the people you allow into your life, are all your choices.

Your perspectives, your moral compass, and your belief system are sacred. You are entitled to your opinions, your feelings, and your thoughts. To respect them is to own them. You will realize you cannot compare the quality of life situations or relationships within your life with somebody else's life, because their reality is theirs and your reality is yours.

Bottom line is... if you don't accept your own reality, then how can anyone else? How can you live a fruitful and purpose-filled life if you don't believe in it? If your reality isn't real to you, then it isn't real to anyone else.

To respect them is to own them. This is your reality.

Sindhuja ManoharAbout Sindhuja Manohar
Sindhuja is a Counseling Psychologist, School Guidance Counselor, and certified Life Coach working in Chennai, India. She has a Master’s in Psychology and a Bachelor’s in Finance. Having grown up in a few different places – India, Indonesia, Singapore – and setting up homes in the U.S. and New Zealand, she considers herself a global citizen, living in a world where geographical boundaries blur and cultures merge. She considers herself an avid reader, writer, and forever learner. Her passion lies in helping others tap into their potential, supersede prior expectations, and create a life that is more meaningful, purposeful, and joyous. Her ultimate goal of counseling individuals is to steer them towards optimal functioning, happiness, and overall psychological well-being.

Email: sindhuja.manohar83@gmail.com
Website: http://www.sindhujamanohar.com