Have you ever had that moment where you are caught like a deer in the headlights when someone catches you in a lie? You create your alibi of sorts and during the exchange may even toss out a, “That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!”. We’ve all been there whether or not we audibly stated the phrase.
Does your life feel like a constant deer in the headlights moment? You keep getting caught in the path of the oncoming train and don’t know if you should move left or right, or just stay right there and end it.
Are you happy with where you are in life? With your job? Your relationships? Your lack of control over it all?
Well, what if I told you that owning your story would put the ball back in your court?!
Product of Choices
Each one of our lives is the sum of our choices. Every moment we choose to breathe, move around, stay still, sleep, work, eat, love, hate…they are all choices. Each one adding to the other creating the ebb and flow of our lives.
So many of us are stuck in the cycle of blaming other people or situations for our story and where we are in the journey. Sure, there is some measure of how others impact our story. But, they don’t control how we react and then decide how to proceed – that is all on us.
Every choice we make – good or bad – has a consequence attached to it. Some of those consequences are lasting. We may not like them. We may not even be able to change them. But, we can choose to react differently, own it and move forward.
Not making choices can also have consequences. The lack of action still produces consequences. Your choices may be made for you, leaving you to deal with consequences. We’ve all had those moments, right?! “I’m just to exhausted to handle _____ so I’ll take my chances on the outcome.” Remember the mess you may have had to contend with after your inaction?
We all have them, we all use them. What if we owned our stories and became intentional about our choices?
Excuses typically are used to mask our true intent no matter how seemingly small the excuse. We also make excuses for other people which can get us into relationships that can become toxic.
In 1519, Conquistador Hernando Cortez set out from Spain to capture a great treasure of gold and emeralds in the magnificent Aztec Empire (now Mexico). Before leaving Spain, he’d sold everything he had to buy a fleet of boats and he’d enlisted an army of 500 men who believed in his mission to journey with him. Halfway to their destination, his army began grumbling and complaining. According to legend, Cortez feared that some of his army would attempt to retreat back to Spain, so he told them to burn the ships. By burning their only means of transport back to the safety and comfort of their homeland, the army had no choice but to journey forward and work their hardest to achieve success.
In our own lives, we have many “boats” that allow us to retreat to the (false) comfort of our “old” ways. We are frequently tempted to hop aboard the boats back to the land of the familiar because it’s easier than rowing upstream toward change and unknown territory.
What “boats” do you need to burn?
Quit making excuses for yourself or for others! Get the right people on your bus, burn the boats and head toward a different future. Decide today to take responsibility for yourself!
You cannot change your choices of the past and their outcomes. Learn from those moments and use it to transform your future. The past has made you who you are today so don’t have any regrets. If you don’t like who you are or where you are today, then change it. Nobody is keeping you where you are today but you.
When we take ownership of everything we do and say and stop blaming things outside ourselves for situations that occur in our lives, we have greater control. We may not be able to control everything that happens in our lives but we can control how we respond to what happens. By taking ownership of our actions we create a huge shift in our life.
My greatest lesson in claiming ownership of my story was that fear no longer controls me. There are dark, ugly parts of my story that I don’t like. They are embarrassing to me. But, they no longer control me with guilt and shame. I may never share some of those moments with anyone, yet taking control and eliminating fear has empowered me to move on from it.
Here is a final thought that I know someone out there needs to hear. We may be dealing with painful consequences in our lives that are debilitating. They don’t reflect who we are out our core. They don’t allow for a lot of change. The pain from those situations that are outside of our control will kill us if we don’t come to terms with them.
We do have to make a decision every moment of every day to press forward. It does not mean we don’t love, don’t care, aren’t trying, or that we are leaving others behind as we move forward. What it does mean is that we love ourselves and the other people enough to create a positive change. Things may never go back to “normal”. But, you can create a better future.
Release yourself from the prison cell you have locked yourself in out of despair or punishment.
When I was at the bottom of my dark pit in despair over not being with my children, it was my son that pulled me out. He said, “Are you done yet? Done feeling sorry for yourself and feeling guilty of whatever. Mama, it sucks not having you with us all the time. But, you love us so much and we love you. You are the only person that is putting blame on yourself.”
I CHOOSE every day to focus on what I do have – the immeasurable love of my sons – not what I don’t have. Yeah, it is tough. Yeah, some days it hurts. But at least now they have a functional, loving mother again instead of the walking dead.