by Maria Teresa De Donato, Ph.D., Life Strategist
“I wish I had done…”, “I always wanted to…”, “If only my parents had…”, “I wish I could…”, “Had I married [or not married] them…I would have….”
How many thoughts, statements, and complaints have you heard so far in your life? And how many of them have you used yourself? These are, of course, only rhetorical questions each of us ought to answer individually. The more honest you are in responding, the more you will understand and accept that all of them have a common denominator: the speaker’s tendency to play the victim game.
Yes, it’s true: you cannot have control over every single thing, person, and circumstance in your life, for unforeseen and unpredictable events can and do occur, nor have you control over which parents you were born to, so that all people born in dysfunctional families – and I have known so far very few who aren’t – are not, in fact, responsible for it. However, you might have reached an age by now where complaining about the past and what you missed or was done or not done to you is no longer an option. Instead, complaining and regretting is a catch-22 that leads to nowhere and keeps you trapped – consciously or unconsciously – in the belief that you are hopeless, condemned to ‘stay’ where you are, and that no changes are possible. Consequently, you become the prisoner of your thoughts and perception and ‘act’ as a passive observer of your existence. You see yourself only in terms of a role to be played, that of a mother, father, daughter, son, employee, or whatever that might be… day in… day out.
You are now a robot, a machine programmed to do, or not to do, certain things while time goes by and you lose complete touch with your Self. You are so lost that you have no time to ‘smell the roses,’ let alone contemplate the beauty of the sunrise or the sundown. You give up on yourself, on life as it could and should be, for you to fully express your potential and enjoy the success and happiness you deserve according to your intellectual, psychological, spiritual, emotional, and physical needs, desires, passions, and talents. You perceive yourself as having no control whatsoever over anything and feel at the mercy of whomever and whatever comes into your life. This sensation deprives you of the joy of living. You see yourself primarily when not only as a victim. You do what you do because you have to, while all that is meant to make you who you indeed are is not even considered. You look for a job and then get a position to make a living and pay the bills, not to live your dream, follow your passion, and fulfill your calling.
Interestingly enough, being an observer of one’s own life, more often than not, has very little to do with others and very much to do with ourselves, with taking, or not taking, responsibility and starting acting constructively towards a specific goal, beginning with transforming ourselves by becoming aware of the incorrect, unhealthy way we might have been thinking and perceiving reality so far and with building up our self-esteem and our sense of self-worth.
It would be best if you took responsibility for your success or failure in your life: this implies growing up and mature, not necessarily physically, for you might have most likely already reached adulthood by now, but spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually. This is the only option you have to advance in life and become more and more successful; move forward, one step at a time, and be aware that in so doing, you know where you start, but you don’t know where you might end up for “the sky is the limit.”
Whatever you might have been complaining about or regretting having or not having done so far, do your best to switch to a positive approach and start focusing on planning what to do next and how you can turn the page and begin building the life you want.
Maria Teresa De Donato©2013-2023. All Rights Reserved