Liberate Thyself

NaBloPoMo 2021:  Do Good, Kid

What are the chief operational constraints in your life today?  How have they evolved over time? 

On a call today with two wonderful friends, it occurred to me (again) that we can choose our suffering in life.  A global pandemic with cases and hospitalizations rising across the country in yet another (I’ve lost count) wave; political polarization ever worsening; winter approaching with yet more erratic weather patterns—it did not take long for us to agree that present day is indeed a dark age for humanity.  And yet none of us feel hopeless.  In fact, we bonded over all the tools at our disposal to suffer less in our lifetimes—mostly tools of inner work, such as Personal Leadership, the Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity, and others

So often we go through life wishing other people would change.  If only they could see the light—that I am right—then my life would be so much easier and better!  We search for classes, workshops, and conferences that promise freedom from stress, amazing relationships, and professional advancement—all in 5 easy steps!  The dopamine-fueled wildfire of instant gratification sucks dollars from our bank accounts like oxygen from the air, at the prospect of success without work.  When we look for others to exert all the effort, we choose the suffering of relinquishing control.  Innocently, ignorantly, or in denial, we cede responsibility for our own happiness and meaning to those whom we concurrently deem incompetent, misinformed, or otherwise stupid.

I cannot control what someone else thinks, says or does.  But I have ultimate agency in how I respond to anyone and anything around me.  I can choose to wallow in victimhood, rage at injustice, and lash out at any unfortunate human who crosses my path on a bad day.  I can also choose to shift my perspective by getting curious, asking more questions, and making more generous assumptions about people and their motivations.  By choosing the latter, whatever pain or cost I incur belongs to me; I own it, I get to shape it, contain it, exercise it.  I empower myself as the principal agent of my own life—I am liberated.

4 thoughts on “Liberate Thyself

  1. I’ll be rereading all of this and especially your final paragraph several times before gathering with not-very-like-minded family members for the holidays. I usually come away from these confrontations upset with my own reactions – “But I have ultimate agency in how I respond to anyone and anything around me” – I’m going to be better, a better version of myself, this Thanksgiving.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m glad it spoke to you, Nancy! You were the one who wrote in a comment about like-hearted folks, right? Maybe we can all look this holiday for how other people are like-hearted to us, and focus on that… 🙂 I’m finishing _The Power of Us_ right now, and it’s really good for helping me to reconsider how I see myself in relation to others.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Choose Your Fun | Healing Through Connection

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