If You Really Want To Piss People Off, Tell Them That They Have The Power To Change Their Lives

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feeling” stuck in life

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” All that changed is what I believed was possible .”

Five years ago I wrote that in a publication. I had realized the quality of my life was dependent not by what I believed I deserved, or was capable of, or determined I was ” “ve been meaning to” do ,” but what I believed was possible. That’s all: just what I believed maybe could happen. My willingness to see things change began to change them.

Writing online has exposed me to the fact that nothing elicits a more adverse answer in people than suggesting that very idea: that one has the power to change their own life. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

If you listen closely, you will notice that people defend their ache more than they defend their dignity, happiness and potential combined.

People have more excuses for why their ache is permanent than why it isn’t … which is why it remains.

When someone abuses you, anger is not just the natural response, it is the healthy answer. There are systemic and cultural issues that breed injustice and “choosing to be happy” won’t fix them. When you are in pain, you are responding to something that’s hurting you, and dismissing it won’t make it go away. To not mourn a loss would be to never have loved in the first place.

But the illusion is that if we opt forgiveness, we invalidate anger. If we opt hope, we dismiss suffering. If we let go, we stop caring. If our ache is movable, it isn’t legitimate. If we believe we can change our lives, we are taking the blame for fucking them up in the first place.

And that’s why we defend the things we claim not to want.

Choosing forgiveness does not excuse other people’s actions, it is just knowing that what happened was unfair and yet we don’t have to be imprisoned by it forever. Letting go of those we love entails continuing to honor them with our actions instead of our sorrow. Knowing that we are responsible for our own state of mind does not mean the world won’t worsen or hurt or frustrate us, it is just acknowledging that it is under no obligation not to. Believing we can choose happiness doesn’t mean we are always happy, it only means we don’t wait to be handed the circumstances we want. Believing we can change those circumstances begins to change them- it reminds us that what happens to us is not always our defect, it is always our problem .

Choosing the higher road doesn’t mean we float off and disengage with the very real problems of the world, it means we are no longer paralyzed. It doesn’t mean our pain isn’t real, it just entails it’s not forever.

This isn’t new. This isn’t novel. It’s just not the line of least resistance. It requires courage and resilience and self-awareness and the development of true mental strength. It requires us to surrender.

And yet, at the same day, it is the simplest choice because it is the only choice. The only variable is the amount of period you take to arrive and allow yourself some quiet hope. I can think of nothing more humbling than the belief that the future can be better, and we have the power to make it so – not in ignorance of agony, but in spite of it.

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