Whatever we chose to do in life, we chose it because we expect to gain something in exchange. If I snap at my daughter when she does something wrong, I do it because I expect her to change her behavior. When I let others tell me what to do, I accept it because I expect them to guide me better than I would. When I drink too much it is because I want to forget or have fun. We all do it. We do things because we expect rewards: good ones or bad ones, pleasure or pain. We do things to obtain pleasure. We do things to avoid pain. We provoke situations that will hopefully yield what we think we want or need. A baby cries when asking for something. An adult insults, teases or praises others because he or she wants something, too.
Most of us are not aware of our doing this when pain is involved. We don’t realize that we’re doing things to avoid an even greater pain. Let me illustrate it. Some people put up with a job they hate or an abusive boss because the pain of being rejected somewhere else would be too big. Or because the pain of being unemployed would hurt too much. They’d rather put up with the pain of their nasty days than risk suffering even more.
In that sense, we’re all in charge of our own lives and decisions. We all choose what we have.
When the choosing is consciously done, we are in charge. When we are not aware that we are choosing, we become victims. We blame others. We think the world is doing that to us.
In the example I mentioned above, staying at that job out of fear without realizing that we are choosing to do so turns us into victims. We feel sorry for ourselves. We let others decide for us. And resent them for it. We feel powerless. But there always is a choice. Always. Even in the worst circumstances. Even in the most abusive ones. And whenever we do the choosing, we stop being victims and take control of our lives.
Another example I’d like to give you has to do with me. Quite a few years ago I had some car accidents (yes, in the plural) that really damaged my back and kept me in me acute, chronic pain on both legs and my back for seven whole years, every single day. I could barely walk and my doctors told me that a wheelchair was unavoidable. One could argue that I was the victim because the accidents hadn’t been provoked by me. I’d say that my victimization started the moment I didn’t accept my situation and decided to suffer from it.
But as soon as I chose to control my life even under those circumstances, I stopped being the victim. I couldn’t walk everyday, true, but I could do tons of things still. And I did. I also found new doctors and let go of my old way of life.
Today I am still disabled and enjoy a magnificent, very fulfilling life. Yes, there are days when I’m in physical pain and can’t walk or do walk with a sever limp. But I am alive and happy.
Some people say that I resign myself to my new life style. I disagree. Resignation would be accepting my reality and nothing else. But I’m proactively improving it. That’s the key, the difference. I choose to improve my life every day, to enjoy it every minute, even when in pain. That is my choice. That is why I’m not a victim but in control.
I refuse to be a victim of my circumstances again. I am not my circumstances. And circumstances can always be changed. I choose pleasure, not pain. Even if the pain looks familiar.
What do you choose?
Enjoy life… ALL of it,
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