“You are always one decision away from a totally different life.” – Unknown
A number of years ago a wise friend told me that life is like a song and a dance. Initially I was not sure what he meant, but he explained that in the first stages of our lives we our learning new concepts, formulating ideas and more than likely we are being influenced by the confines of our household structure, families dynamics and the immediate communities that we reside in. There is no judgement, it simply is what it is, good, bad or indifferent. Here lies the song being played.
The next phase as we grow into maturity and begin to make personal choices for our lives, whether relationally, socially or professionally is the dance, and many times without even being conscious of it we make decisions based on the (figurative) music we have heard for our entire lives. It is as if we are trying to stay on beat to what we know, understand and are reasonably comfortable with. Many times we will even defend our position, even when it is possibly the worst thing for us, but this is the power of the song we have heard.
To further illustrate my point, think of a friend or family member that you have attempted to help in the past. No matter how much you have tried, nothing seems to work or get through to them, or he/she just seems stubborn to change, listen or learn from the countless poor choices they have made. As much as you may want to say, “Are you just stupid?”, you know better than that (hopefully) and realize that it would be completely counterproductive to rectifying anything positively or effectively.
However, once we begin to understand more about “why they are” versus “what they are”, we place ourselves in a position to not only become more of an empathetic friend, but also one that can give sound advice or counsel that will resonate with them as well.
Now if we could only harness the courage to take this a step further and discover this truth about ourselves. It would not only allow us to better understand why we do what we do, but possibly get the support we need prior to falling into another self-perpetuated trap.
So have you taken the time to think about the song(s) that have been playing in your own life? Have you considered why you find yourself in certain predicaments that prove to be detrimental to your overall growth and well-being? Is there a theme or pattern to it? I know for me it was, and on the surface it seemed obvious to most people what my issues were, but little did they know there was more to my story.
Just like with you, there is more to your story, because you are not the sum of your failures, or even your successes I might add. You are beautifully human that lives a life with curves and bends that turn at times unpredictably, and it is in these moments where we can discover what song we are dancing to. Is the song helping me, does it give life or is it tearing me down to a place I have been trying to escape from? Only you know the answers to these questions and ones like it.
So ultimately we have some decisions to make as we embark on a new year. Will we continue to allow the triggers unbeknownst to us, continue to dictate our emotions? Will we allow family members and those close to us, continue to have control over our thoughts and actions? Will we allow familiar circumstances continue to drive us into depression, sadness or frustration?
As we have often heard that insanity is doing the same things while expecting a different outcome, let us not fall into those situations that bring us grief and despair, but let us begin to seek new ways to heal from our pain, recover from our broken hearts and respond to our haters. Ways that do not necessarily ask for permission from those we typically seek it from, ways that empower others to have authority when they should not, and ways that sympathetically apologize for decisions we believe in or feel good about.
If you can imagine a song playing that everyone is dancing to and suddenly the record scratches, stops and the DJ puts on another song. Only today you are the DJ and you have changed the music. We must do the same with our lives. Change the music and dance to a new beat. It may seem uncomfortable at first and take a little time to adapt to the new beat, but you will catch the rhythm eventually.
The real message is we must take authority over our own lives. We cannot allow the past (the old song) to define our future. We must begin to recognize that there is more to us than what we see now, our voice matters and life is too short to live under the shadows of anyone, event if we respect them. Become your man or woman. Change the music and dance a new dance for the rest of your life.
Keep Pressing and Happy New Year!!