“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell
The beginning of our life story is written for us. Nobody gets to choose their ethnicity, the year they were born, who their parents are, or where they grow up.
We experience things we didn’t deserve, that we couldn’t control, and that weren’t our fault. (And, if you’re like me, a lot of things that WERE your fault.)
We experience trauma, discouragement, and unfair treatment.
If we don’t take ownership and change the narrative of our story, we can lose hope for a better future.
The FIRST part of our story gets written for us, but it’s up to us how the story ends.
Drop the baggage
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
We all have emotional baggage (or trauma) to deal with.
Old wounds, limiting beliefs and low self-esteem grounded in the past can still effect us today.
The heavier type of baggage is tied to depression and anxiety.
In milder form it keeps us stuck and expecting little from life.
Our story becomes a part of our self-identity.
It morphs into the limiting beliefs we carry as “emotional baggage.”
The reason many of us repeat the same patterns in our life is because we’re projecting our past into the future.
Future possibilities are viewed through a filter of past experiences.
Is your “baggage” weighing you down?
Do you believe you deserve to be happy and successful?
Do you believe you’re capable of achieving what you want?
It’s time to drop the baggage, move past your hang-ups, and become the author of your story.
Don’t let the past dictate what’s possible for your future.
Purpose out of pain
“Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.” – Rumi
I can’t prove that we’re spiritual beings on a physical journey, but that’s what I believe.
I believe we’re all eternal. There’s something liberating about this perspective that gives me hope and peace of mind.
Life becomes more amenable when I focus on the infinite instead of the finite,… a.k.a. my ego.
Instead of expecting to control life, I can listen to to life and what I’m being called to do.
Instead of expecting things to be easy I can explore the purpose of my pain.
We have karma to heal and lessons to learn to shape us into who we need to become.
As Parker Palmer says in the book Let Your Life Speak, “Each of us arrives here with a nature, which means both limits and potentials. We can learn as much about our nature by running into our limits as by experiencing our potentials.”
All of your experiences, good and bad, can be used to help you choose the calling you’re meant to fulfill.
“I think that any time of great pain is a time of transformation, a fertile time to plant new seeds.” – Debbie Ford
Five steps to help you move on, take ownership, and change your life
1. Focus on results instead of regrets
Don’t worry about what hasn’t happened. Focus on creating what you want. When we dwell on the past it keeps us stuck.
Make the mental shift from “dwelling” to “problem solving.” The past is over and all you have is now. NOW is the only time change happens.
2. Embrace flaws, flops, and failures
We’ve all made bad decisions and done embarrassing things we want to undo, but that’s not an option. The sooner you can accept all the stupid and unflattering things you’ve done, the sooner you can get over them.
If you’re going to change your life it’s important to have compassion and grace. Accept your defeats and move on to the next battle.
3. Let go of blame and take ownership
It’s easy to look back on life and blame other people for the situation we’re in. But, you can’t go back and changed the way you grew up, so it’s time to stop blaming your 5th grade teacher or parents for your hang-ups.
If you want to make change you have to take ownership of your life. You have to accept that no one is coming to save you and make things better. You have to be an active participant in your growth and do the dirty work.
4. Start to dream again
Do you know what you want to rest of your story to be? Maybe you want to see a new career in your future? Maybe you want to see a healthier relationship and lifestyle?
If you’re going to make change you have to know what you want! You need to have a dream and envision the lifestyle you desire. Your vision guides the way. Your dream is the light and the hope.
5. Change one habit at a time
Once you’ve taken responsibility for your life and you know what you want, it’s time to make change. This comes from thinking and acting with intention. Break away from the old story and old patterns that have kept you stuck. Take small steps toward the new you.
Every good story includes a crisis or existential struggle – an obstacle that must be surmounted.
Don’t let your struggles define you and keep you from greatness!
You are more than your struggles. The future is up to you.