“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13:11
That’s how we start. Our innocence will take us to places that as adults we dare not tread. Our patterns of thoughts and behaviors are learned early in life.
No one hands us the key to unlock the door to a perfect life. We have to figure it out on our own. Please, say it ain’t so…
My life got off to a rocky start. That 18-year-old me played havoc with my life. Yep, she did some pretty stupid things and the 40-year-old me had to pay dearly. My life has been lived upside down and sideways. It has been exhausting and exhilarating.
I’m in the boat with good company. Unfortunately, many people find themselves in this same situation. It’s a scary thought but, oh so true.
It’s the growing up and learning to think more maturely that for some of us seems to come almost too late. Early patterns of behavior and coping are hard to ditch. They seem to become hard-wired.
Becoming aware that these unproductive coping skills or thinking patterns, becomes our catalyst to make changes if we want a better life. Awareness is everything; without it, we crash and burn.
My failures have been enormous, but the successes have also been overwhelming. I live with the consequences of the younger me everyday. Because of that fact, my life will always have to be lived with careful calculation. Through awareness, I have learned to live deliberately.
Have you ever tried to change something about yourself that you knew was not good for you? Easy, peasy, right? Nope, not in a million years. It’s hard work. If you never try, never commit to the change, you are stuck in a vicious cycle.
There are basic choices that are usually made early in life: career, marriage, and children. Crazy, isn’t it? The Young You choses your career path; your mate; if and when you will have children. Does anyone wonder why the divorce rate is so high… let alone all the other social problems we have?
This is inevitably true, so how can we learn to cope with life’s early choices successfully? Whether they suite us later in life or not…
Some people seem to have excellent coping skills from day one. It’s like they were given the key or born with some perfect gizmo in their brain that just pointed them in the right direction every time. Then there’s the rest of us…
From the beginning, for some of us making the right choices that would put us on the top of life’s heap can be a struggle; it just does not always come naturally. Much later, after disaster hits, we must back track and figure out what we did that lead us into disaster.
We don’t know where the right door is, much less have the key to open it.
We don’t want to repeat mistakes. For some reason we just keep butting our head against that same wall. Some learn, some never do…
The self we portray to the world can be far different from what we experience. Our lives may not even look all that disastrous, but we KNOW. Our lives and happiness are always precariously perched on the brink of disaster. We may be able to hide it from those around us, but we know the inner truth.
Hey, am I complaining? Well, maybe a little at my younger self, but ultimately, I understand that the responsibility belongs to me, today, to make some lemonade out of the lemons of my life. I keep on squeezing.
In the end, this is my life. This is the only chance I get. I have the privilege of writing the final pages. My hope is the ending will be well-written…
8 Keys: Unlocking a Better Life
1. Gotcha, Life IS Fair: You’re not a child any longer. Life goes on. Recognize that who you were in the past is present with you today. That is fair. You are wonderfully made. You can be strong if you choose to be. You can choose to break the vicious cycle of disaster in your life.
2. Forgiveness: Make peace with yourself and your past. If there is a need, forgive the former you and others. The past is beyond your reach. You cannot affect it. You can only live today. Forgive, forgive, forgive.
3. Responsibility Is for Real: Becoming aware of your unsuccessful coping skills and behaviors from the past is the first step toward a better life. You can only make changes once you take responsibility for your behaviors, unintended or intended. There may have been reasons we behaved in a certain way, but we must own those behaviors. To ignore is to repeat. Remember change is a process; it may not happen overnight.
4. Consequences Suck: There will always be consequences to our actions. This can be hard to accept, especially if we feel that someone abused us or put us in a coercive situation. Regardless, the consequences of our own behaviors are ours. When we realize this, we can start putting the pieces of our lives back together. Moving forward is the goal.
5. Regret Stinks: The past is remembered so we can learn from our mistakes. Learn; let it go; and move on. Do not continually look back in regret. Regret is your quicksand. Remember, moving forward is the goal.
6. Hang on for Dear Life: Always be tenacious in your efforts. Strive each day to make the right choices from this point forward. Hang on like a bull dog. Sink your teeth into life and never let go!
7. Grasshopperism: Never live as if tomorrow will never come. Although today is all we have, a responsible adult prepares for tomorrow. Remember Aesop’s tale of the Ant and the Grasshopper. Being wise is being mature. Do the best you can with all your resources.
8. Give Up? No Way!: When life feels overwhelming, and there will be those times, believe in yourself and pull from the strength of the one that is bigger than you. Never, ever give up. Make the most of this day you have been given!