Many of us fall into the fallacy of believing that we can control our environment and the persons who people it. Therefore, we steadfastly cling to the mistaken belief that:
- if only we could make our spouse more emotionally available
- if only we could make our parents less intrusive
- if only we could make our boss more approachable
- if only we could make our teenage offspring more manageable
- if only we could make our neighbours less noisy
- if only we could do any of these of any number of other things, life would be wonderful
We rarely look at this other side of the coin…the fact that if we want to achieve any kind of change in our lives, it has to begin with our self. Frequently change that we bring about in our own person will motivate change in others, almost like a ripple effect that can be observed in a pond when you throw a pebble into the water, but this change in others, or in the environment should not be the stimulus to your own change. That should be sought for itself, in order that you can become more of what you really are, and are capable of being; in other words, in order that you grow into yourself.
Evidently the eternal question is: how do you change or control yourself? What is the magic formula? Is there a silver bullet? And the simple answer is choice. Knowing that no matter what you feel, think, say, or do, you always have choices and alternatives, is one of the most enriching and liberating thoughts there is. When you are reacting to a given event, brought upon by your own thoughts, a nostalgic song on the radio, another person, a difficult financial situation, or even a cataclysmic global incident, always ask yourself whether there are alternatives to your current way of reacting. Then ask yourself whether any of those alternatives are feasible, and whether they would make a positive difference as compared to the initial mode of reacting you had intended. By consciously choosing to react differently, you are not only controlling yourself by self-awareness, but you are also changing yourself because your reaction is no longer unconscious, and thus you are offering yourself one of the greatest gifts of all - freedom from that blindness.