Tea Time with Trish: Are we in control of our own lives?
Once again, I am hangin’ out at Starbucks, and wow!… some amazing conversations take place here. As I’ve mentioned before, I pick up some of my writing material from conversations I’ve gleaned from discussions that occur in the cozy atmosphere of Starbuck’s. Although I don’t go to Starbuck’s with the intent of invading other people’s privacy, since the majority of the time I just get into my writing zone and tune everything out, however from time to time, conversations drift my way and I can’t help but take this as a sign of something I need to comment on as it applies to what I do.
So, here’s the juicy conversation I was overhearing today…and to be quite honest would have loved to been a part of! Beside me there is a group of men at a table, and I’m not sure how the conversation got started, but the point where I got tuned in was when they were getting into a semi-heated discussion on whether we are in control of our own lives or not.
Incidentally, I happen to be writing about just that thing for my upcoming New Years’ Newsletter, so I’m sure you can see why the conversation reached my ears.
The debate they were having was about whether people can be blamed for resorting to addictions when they were faced with trauma at some point in their life. Both sides each had valid points, but of course I have my own take on it all as well.
The one stance was that people who go through trauma are then missing some aspect of themselves, and so in essence are never fully able to manoeuvre through life as a whole person again, thus as a coping mechanism many resort to addictions. The analogy the man arguing this point used was if a man had lost his throwing arm, and then was asked to throw a baseball, there’s no way that he would be able to do that, because he is now missing that part of himself. Hmmm, good point right?
The man arguing the other side stated that regardless of what occurs in our lives, at some point we need to let the past go, and focus on what’s ahead…and that goes for major traumas as well. His main point was that everything boils down to choice.
Obviously I was not about to insert myself into their conversation, but I felt this is such a major and important distinction to discuss, I am going to share my two-cents with you!
So, here goes…my two-cents:
I do believe that we are ultimately in control of our own lives. Yes, we do live in a world where not everything turns out the way we would like it to; things happen that seemingly have no higher purpose. BUT what we do ALWAYS have control over is our thoughts, and the choices we make.
This is my philosophy in what I teach – We need to start by looking at where we are at and who we are now. From there we can decide where we want to go, and who we need to be to get there. I fully believe, have seen, and have experienced that a lot of change can happen by simply looking forward. I don’t feel that all the dirt of our past needs to be dug up and sifted through in order to move forward. In fact, I have found that when too much focus is given to the past, people tend to ruminate in that story and thus keep themselves in the same place.
Having said that, I have also found at times people find it difficult to completely let go of what has happened in the past…and that’s okay. When this happens I advocate trying different modalities that may help you release the charge of the past. In my practice, I use hypnotherapy as a tool to release the charge and lighten the weight of those past emotions. But again, from there I believe it’s important to refocus on the present moment, and decide to make choices based on the type of future we want to live in.
I think huge changes can be made by simply looking forward, becoming self-aware, and starting on a path of self-discovery which incorporates you as a whole – mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
A great illustration of how our thoughts create our lives is in the stories of siblings who were brought up in the same home, with the same parents, same conditions, AND yet two different siblings, can have two totally different lives. One makes the choice to be empowered and create a life they want; while the other makes the choice to play the victim and lay blame on their parents for the circumstances they now live in. One takes control; the other gives control away. Same story; different outcomes.
To me this is proof enough that we are in control of our own lives, and not victims of our past.
To touch on the analogy the one man above used in regards to missing a part of themselves (ie, his arm), I do agree that yes, something has obviously changed. But, does that make him less of a man? It’s been proven over and over that people can adjust to amazing circumstances, and in many cases learned so much from what has happened that as a result their lives have so much more meaning.
In regard to the man who was arguing the other side, he stated that at some point you need to let go of the past. I agree with this…to a point. No, it doesn’t serve us to dwell in the past, especially if it is not supporting us well, however the past can serve as a great learning tool. So, I don’t believe in completely disregarding our past and “pretending” that it didn’t happen, but instead view it as a platform from which you can grow. Take from it what works; learn and adjust from what didn’t work.
From that stand point, I believe that is the moment where you now decide, “Okay, this is the new me.” The past was the old me, and I thank it as it’s going to help me create an even better new me. I am now looking forward and creating it as I want it to be. Period.
Now, in these references some of it may sound heavy, but all this also applies to the smaller bumps in the road we may encounter as well. Everything that occurs in our lives is a chance for us to make a choice in how we are going to respond, which ultimately paves the way for the direction our life will take.
So, what do you choose? To take control or to give it away?
Trisha Savoia is founder/owner of Absolute Awareness, and creator of the Moms Who Want More Program. Through her programs, writing, and speaking she uses her skills and experience as a mother, teacher, & Clinical Hypnotherapist to mentor moms who want more out of their lives – mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.