Everyday we make choices. Some of them are conscious choices. What to wear to work today, how much you spend on that Timmie's run, what t.v. show to watch in the evening. We make lots of choices that are less conscious, like not doing the things we know we should be doing.
I have always stressed to my children that they always have a choice when life happens. You can choose to do something about a bad situation, or you can do nothing and let it happen to you. Doing nothing is also a choice, albeit a bad choice sometimes. When circumstances are beyond your control, you can choose how you will let that situation affect you. You choose to let it get you down, and be in a bad mood for a day or a week, or you can choose to let it strengthen your resolve to fix the problems in your life.
I am always astonished by the amount of people who walk around every day, b*tching and moaning about all the bad stuff that happens to them. They're in debt up to their eyebrows, and complain because they don't have the money to pay off the fun that they had spending money they hadn't yet earned. Or the folks who whine about all the bad stuff that happens to them, and they just can't catch a break in life. You know the ones, the kind that still blame everything on their unfortunate upbringing, or their parents, or the mean principal they had in seventh grade. Guess what?? You choose to continue to let that stuff bother you instead of doing something about it!!
I know a woman who I'll call Margaret. She had a rough life as a youngster. Her mother wasn't very nice to her. She was abused as a child. She carried her anger and hatred into her adult life. She married a man who abused her physically and emotionally. She's had a lot of bad things happen in her life. She's very cynical, and pessimistic. She doesn't trust easily and thinks that entire communities where she has lived in the past are prejudiced against persons of certain ethnic backgrounds like hers. If you talk to her, she truly believes that there is some sort of conspiracy of gigantic proportions that keeps her from being happy and having a good life. And that everyone is in on the conspiracy, from family and acquaintances, to the police and government officials.
Now I'm not one to say that a bad upbringing is to be condoned, but everyone has a story. Everyone has had bad things happen in their lives. It's what you choose to think and feel, and what you do about those bad circumstances that sets you apart from the others. Some of the bad things that happened are a result of choices that she made. She chose to marry a man that she didn't know very well at the time. She chose to stay after he became abusive. She chooses to continue to not trust anyone, and feels vindicated when that person proves themselves untrustworthy.
What bothers me the most about this person is that she truly believes that everyone is out to get her, and that the good things in life elude her because she has been wronged by society. She feels that life owes her and with every passing day, she still blames others for what's wrong with her life. It's her mother's fault for not being a good parent that has made her into what she is, or so she thinks. Her outlook on life has gone way past the point of normalcy, and has entered into the realm of delusion and mental illness.
With some professional counselling, and a strong resolve, she could make the choices necessary to begin to live a happier life. But it's not likely that will happen any time soon. If she used her determination to be happy instead of being unhappy, she could still turn her life around.
Everyday, I make a conscious choice to be as happy as possible, with my life, my family and my circumstances. Would I like my situation to be better? Absolutely yes! But it is what it is as a result of the choices I have made, good or bad. And everyday it gets a little bit better by paying down our debt, and turning our lives around, aiming for a better financial future. It gets better when we live within our means, and set aside a little something for later. It gets better by making the choices to teach our children about right and wrong.
We makes choices to do something or do nothing. We make choices about how we will react to situations and circumstances. I for one, choose to have a positive outlook on life, and better my life one choice (and one dollar) at a time.