No Such Thing as Can’t
I didn’t always believe in choices and perspective. I was a victim. When I lived the life of a victim my perspective was one of: no choice. I can’t do this or I can’t do that. Someone else made me a victim which meant I believed I had no choices in my life.
The first time that shifted was when I decided to take some personal development courses. Some time during the course I listened to a short visualization that seemed so simple but incredibly powerful to me.
Imagine you wake up in a small, sealed room. There are no windows and doors. Immediately you hear a noise and notice the walls are starting to move in. You are surprised at first but then start to panic when the walls keep moving in. All of a sudden two holes open up in the floor and a horrible smell follows. You run to the first hole only to find it completely full with sewage. You run to the other hole and find there is a three foot space from the line of the sewage to the top. You jump in the hole, with three feet of sewage, just as the walls are about to trap you.
You look up and you are NOT thinking oh my goodness this sewage smells bad and feels bad. I’m willing to bet you’re looking up thinking, “Oh my goodness, this hole saved my life”.
The instructor mentioned that we are not always given the choice of a trip to Hawaii. Sometimes choices are between the bad and the ugly, or getting squished. It was my introduction to the idea that I had absolute control over the choices in my life and I can change my outlook about the consequences of my choices.
What an earth-shattering concept for me. I changed my perspective to know that I was running my own life and making my own choices, not someone else or a nasty chain of events. I could even change the way I looked at the whole experience! I could be depressed about it and do nothing or do something about it.
The second shift I made in my life came when my son was diagnosed with XXYY Syndrome. I guess I thought that I was perfect now and knew how NOT to be a victim. I took two months to grieve for my son and lightening struck again. I didn’t have to feel this way. My son hadn’t died. He was still alive and needing my help. I realized it was healthy to allow myself to feel that way but moving forward was what I needed to do. My son needed help and support and I gladly took up the challenge of becoming his best ally and advocate. I’m still am to this day. I also realized that choosing to change my perspective made me aware that I LOVE a challenge.
A short time later I made another shift. I thought I would never meet another partner. Rather than going looking for a relationship, I decided to focus on being okay with being on my own. What a huge change in perspective came from this choice. I got to like my own company. I found new things I loved to do with my day. I explored different ways to support myself financially and realized I was quite capable of taking care of myself.
A week after having a celebration dinner with my girlfriend I received an email advertisement for a match-making service. I playfully signed up but took my profile serious. I was no longer looking for someone to take care of me. I was looking for someone to support me. Three days later I had five emails to answer and the last one was from a man, who is now my husband. He later told me that it was his last day of the membership and he renewed it for a week just to get my email address. I sounded so very attractive he didn’t really care what I looked like. He knew he had to meet me. What an incredible gift, to know that my choice for independence made me look so attractive!
I have come a long way from believing myself a victim in my life. I now know I can make choices about how I live. They might not always result in a trip to Hawaii but they are my choices. I also learned that once the choice was made I could change my perspective about the results that came with those choices. To this day, if I’m faced with a decision I’m not happy about I always ask myself: Do I want the whole with six feet of sewage or the whole with three. I can always have a shower but I’m not sure how long can hold my breath.
What are some choices you’ve been faced with in your life? How did these choices make you feel? How were you able to move forward?