How many of us have been told that our happiness depends on us and not on others?
That we are the ones who have control over our thoughts, over the way we feel or react? That not the situations, people or events make us feel in a certain way, but how we relate to them? That if we change our perception and vision, our whole reality changes? That we have the power to build our life as we wish?
That we don’t have to accept anything that takes away from us the joy of living, that we don’t have to make sacrifices and compromises because we are ashamed to say "no"? That it's okay to bring up issues that bother us and confront others because "politeness" or shame aren’t more important than honesty. That we don’t have to hide our problems and feel guilty, but we can instead try to accept and solve them. That we don’t have to adapt to some social standards set by others and that we have no reason to feel "defective" if we don’t fit them.
That is our right to set clear limits and boundaries of interaction, that is not our duty to please others or to meet their demands if we don’t want it. That it’s important to be aware of our needs and take them into account, that it’s important to dream and dare to act in the direction of our dreams, that when trust, will and perseverance exist anything can be done. That if we fail, this doesn’t make us less valuable, but on the contrary, it adds value because any experience helps us grow. By trying and failing we develop our frustration tolerance and we learn to use our energy and resources smarter.
To learn that nothing is forever, that our interests and passions change, to learn that it’s normal for people around us to change because we also change, although we may not observe it clearly. To learn to accept this and understand that the stubbornness with which we cling to our illusions and expectations is what makes us suffer.
How many of us have been taught since they were little to develop their self-confidence, to act as they want without fearing what others might say? How many have been encouraged to try, to take a risk and how many were told when they’ve fallen “It’s ok, there’s no problem”. How many were encouraged to continue to express our opinions even if they were different or even opposed to the majority?
How many of us have been told about intuition, about our inner voice and about its importance?
How many of us have been told that it’s okay not to obey, that being passive isn’t necessarily a virtue? How many were encouraged to dare to live our life as we want? To be the only ones who decide our fate.
How many were taught to see a person beyond their position, social mask, or the status and role symbols they show? To respect a person for what they are and to know that we deserve to be respected for our human value. Because the human quality isn’t expressed neither in positions nor in titles. It’s the easiest thing to humiliate another person because you are hierarchically positioned above it.
But how many of us have been taught not to compare ourselves to others, not to feel insignificant just because we don’t have what they have? To focus instead on our development and our goals to get what makes us happy, beyond our name, image and status. That it’s more important to be ecological in our actions, and that we have much more to gain if instead of taking advantage of others to reach our goals, and instead of denigrating others to feel important, we seek to achieve what we want without compromising our dignity and integrity.
How many of us have been taught not to fear losing something by sharing our knowledge and experience with others ignoring the fact that our society can’t evolve if we get stuck in such fears?
How many of us have been taught that the love presented in Disney stories isn’t necessary the healthiest form of love and that it doesn’t represent everything in life. Or how many of us have been taught that love doesn’t mean pain, humiliation, scandal or violence?
How many have been taught to focus our attention on ourselves first of all, to be able to feel ok with ourselves and our life instead of seeking a salvation in romantic love stories?
How many have been taught not to blame others for the way we feel with our own life, but instead take 100% responsibility for it?
To realize that we often struggle with ourselves and because we don’t take responsibility for that struggle, we turn it against others. We project, we blame, we resent and we want to dominate them. We want to win the battles with others because we haven’t assumed our own. And no matter who wins, everybody loses.
I repeat, there is no one’s fault for the way we feel in our own life. What happened, is already gone. Whoever wronged us doesn’t matter anymore because now we have the power. We don’t have to forgive if we don’t feel we can do it, but neither torment ourselves reminiscing.
If there is something to do, it’s to become more and more aware of our inner strength, to see each experience as an opportunity to develop, as a life lesson and to continue our journey through life holding our head high.
The power is in our hands, and our happiness depends only on us, even if perhaps we would have wanted to be told that earlier.
Dr. Ursula Sandner