What do you endure in your life? What do you tolerate? What do you survive?
Your daughters drill team performance that goes on for hours.
Your son’s attitude toward you.
Your job, business or career that pays the bills but drains your lust for life.
A relationship that you don’t know how to get out of and don’t have the energy to try to improve.
When experiencing life (or any aspect of it) from this perspective, it doesn’t seem like there are choices. It feels like life is happening to you.
From a different perspective, you may feel empowered and creative with drive and motivation to follow your inspiration.
Despite opposing views and expectations from others, you feel free to be yourself.
You are in the flow of life.
When experiencing life from this perspective it absolutely feels as though you are choosing all of it.
If there is a choice in the life that is endured, tolerated and survived, it seems to be either to keep going or to give up. It’s as if only others; the privileged, fortunate and advantaged have options. A seething resentment reflecting the inequity of it all boils just below the surface.
But, in truth, we all have choices. There are those who aren’t aware that these choices exist other than in the extremes.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could just choose to be empowered? Choose to be authentic? Choose to thrive?
What is confusing for those who are tolerating, enduring and surviving life about these questions is a dangerous assumption; that how we feel and react is caused by the circumstances of our lives. Most circumstances seem to be entirely out of our control. While under the influence of the assumption that we are at the mercy of circumstances that we have no control over, it’s easy to feel powerless, helpless and hopeless. And from this state of being, tolerating, enduring and surviving seems to be the only choice other than giving up.
Once this assumption is corrected, it becomes clear that we all have choices.
Consider the possibility that how we feel and react is caused, not by circumstances, but by our view of the circumstances of our lives.
This explains how others might feel and react differently than you to a similar circumstance.
If I can change my view, there is nothing to tolerate, endure or survive.
If you’re still reading you must be asking, “How do I change my view?”
There may be a part of you expecting some positive B.S. bumper sticker philosophy right about now.
To change your view, you must be WILLING and ABLE to challenge the one you already have.
I’m not suggesting you go to war with yourself. I am suggesting that you challenge your current view from a place of openness and curiosity.
“What if the way I see this circumstance is wrong? What if I am viewing this circumstance through erroneous beliefs and assumptions that are either outdated or simply inaccurate? Am I viewing this circumstance as it is or as I make it with my beliefs and assumptions?”
The willingness to suspend your current beliefs and views, leaving room to explore the possibility of another view can shift your entire paradigm.
Over the past 20 years I have been trading my coping tools for transformational tools. When challenged by a circumstance, rather than hunkering down and handling it by trying to change the circumstance or to deal (which means to negotiate) or cope with it, I now get curious about my reaction to the circumstance.
I get curious about how I feel.
I get curious about what I think, about my assumptions, and about my meaning-making.
I get curious about what I must believe that I think and feel as I do.
I get curious about my automatic reactions.
And I make room for it all. Because with curiosity and awareness, my experience changes. With curiosity and awareness my view changes. And when my view changes, so do my feelings and reactions.
This is such good news. With this approach, I am no longer at the mercy of what I cannot control. And I quickly learn that control is an illusion. I learn that curiosity is far more powerful and effective than my attempts to control.
With this approach, I find that I absolutely choose to endure, tolerate and survive or to be empowered, authentic and to thrive. I don’t choose the circumstances of my life. Although my default reaction to disempowering circumstances is to blame them for how I feel and react, I can choose to become open and curious about them and about my reactions to them.
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