Owning Your Story

On Christmas eve last year, I was still working till about 10 in the evening. I know what you’re thinking. Mind you, it’s not the job. There have been few things here and there that we’re put on hold ‘till 24th because I was on leave for a day. But what made it a long night for work was simply because I chose to. 

You see, I could have decided to pick up the rest of the things the week after, but I didn’t. Choice indeed shapes the kind of experiences we get in life. Here are a couple of things I began to reflect on.

We reap the consequences of the things we put up with.

Take for example the way people treat us. When somebody disrespects you as a human being or disrespects your time, for instance, it’s worth asking yourself:  

Am I contributing to this experience? 

Have I shown him disrespect? 

Have I not made a request for us to respect each other’s time?

Am I experiencing this from this person alone? If yes, this whole thing might not be about me but about him.

Can I change something around this?

Put in reverse, we might have to take a look at how we treat ourselves too. Do we tolerate our laziness, our lack of motivation, our lack of commitment, our being irresponsible, or us not learning lessons from our past mistakes? What are the instances when we might have disrespected ourselves and failed to hold ourselves high up the moral curve? 

How we treat others is reflective of how we treat ourselves. 

The way we show up to the external world around us gives a glimpse of how we show up in our inner world.

We get what we give.

I always believe in the power of intentionality. It’s ideal but not as easy as we think.  

Say you are intentional about designing a balanced life. There are several routes you can go with this, but it all starts with defining what for you is a “balanced life”.

For every person, priorities are circumstance-specific. Meaning, they get arranged according to where we are right now in our life. A student will have different priorities than a wife who just had a baby. Someone whose health is failing might have a different priority than somebody who got his first job. We can never compare and we can never judge how a person designs his own life.

There’s the catch though. I mentioned “design”. You see we have to actively participate in our own story. If we give out crap, we will surely get crap. When we do something good, there’s a big possibility it’s gonna come around like that too. Yes, in reality, bad things happen to good people. But even in that, I believe something good could still come out of it. At least that’s what I’ve seen in my own life.  

Life is what we make it.

There’s really not much we can do about things beyond our control. My faith is in what we can do, to things that are within our control. There’s no point complaining about our experiences and our circumstances. We can choose to stay stuck with what’s undesirable in our life or find ways to move forward. 

So how does this circle back to my Christmas eve story? Well, yes I finished work late but I slept soundly like a baby and enjoyed the 25th without wishing I was somewhere else doing something else.

Choice. It is really powerful. 

We can be pushed around if we allow to.

We can define boundaries if need be.

We can drift through life and not make a call, or,

We can exercise the inner muscle of being intentional and design our life like “We own our own story”. 

Because truth is, we do.

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