Get Over ItIt’s taken me quite a while to figure this out… and I don’t know why, because it’s the answer is so obvious, but life, and the things that happen to us, are simply a combination of two things: random probability, and the choices that we make.
We can’t choose the parents with whom we are born…. Life just hands that situation to us. We can’t choose freak occurrences that occur. A friend of mine was driving down the street when a crazed woman decided that my friend’s car was a good choice for suicide, and stepped in front of her Suburban while she was driving down a boulevard. Those are both random probabilities…. But what happens to us, due to our circumstances, are more than likely the outcome of our own choices.
Granted, what Mommy and Daddy did to us as children formed our outlooks on life; the rest of our lives doesn’t have to depend on their incompetence. My life, fortunately, was an upbringing by two adoring parents; but I realize that, today, family life has changed to a certain degree. The random things that happen to us in life are not our choices: robbery, rape, the death of loved ones, physical assault, automobile accidents, etc., (all of which have happened to me) are sometimes just the accidental randomness of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. However, how we deal with those problems is a matter of choice.
I was personally raised to believe that life was going to be a walk in the park, and that all good things were going to happen to me, but, SURPRISE!... It just didn’t turn out that way. I was actually in my early 40s when I read a book, the first line of which read: “Life isn’t easy, and it isn’t supposed to be.” I was shocked, even though life had handed me a sh!tload of shocks and turns that didn’t make sense… but I suddenly realized that life just doesn’t always make sense, and that my problems were supposed to have happened, because of my choices.
While I couldn’t have anticipated the accidental shooting of my daughter, or the sexual assault that occurred to me (along with a few other things), my own actions after those occurrences determined the outcome of my life…. And It was my choice to make my life miserable because of those events. I didn’t have to leave my husband or make myself a trash can for opportunists, but I did. Low self-esteem can lead us to do many things that we wouldn’t otherwise do, and my low self-esteem lead me to a self-made gutter. No one put a gun to my head and forced me to behave in the manner that I did…. It was all of of the poor choices that I made after those terrible things occurred to me.
We all have a choice on how to view occurrences when things happen to us. We can ‘blow them off’ as random events (like another person having a bad day), or we can take them personally and they then change our lives forever. When my 16-yr-old daughter was accidentally shot and killed, I chose to view it as an accidental random event, and I forgave the 13-yr-old who killed her at her funeral because I knew that he was just a stupid kid playing with a shotgun. When I was raped by the desk clerk at at a hotel into which I had checked in because I was too drunk to drive home, I remember making a conscious decision: I could let this event ruin the rest of my life, or go after him legally, and I chose the latter of the two.
These are very extreme examples of the decisions that we make, but I want to make a point here. Every single day we’re confronted with ‘yes or no’ decisions, and the outcome of those decisions… no matter how incidental at the time, may have an influence on our lives at a latter date. We, hopefully, make the best decisions that we possibly can, given the present circumstances…. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t come back and bite us in the @ss in the future.
Our decisions are like a tree, with ‘yes or no’ choices presented to us at any given moment… and that tree grows, ba
Unfortunately, many of us choose to live in the past, and let our upbringings, our tragedies. and our poor decisions get the better of us….. But is that REALLY the path to a better future? Given that we may turn to alcohol or drugs to overcome the pain, those are shot-term solutions to problems, regardless of how long we may engage in them. Accepting the fact that those terrible things have happened to us, moving on with our lives, no matter how difficult, is the only solution.
While I don’t discount group therapy at all, and am a big fan of “anonymous’ and grief groups, I believe that the pharmaceutical and psychiatric industries take enormous advantage of those of us who have experienced life-changing events… to the point of making dollars over sense. These people are ‘in it’ for the money, and not for the advantage of helping people cope with their problems. While I realize that after an acute event occurs, drugs and psychiatrists/psychologists are relevant and possibly necessary at the onset, but they are NOT the cure-all for the remainder of our lives. (Don’t get me going on this one because I could talk forever about the trillions of dollars those industries make.)
Before most of us were born, life was just life. Children died at birth, people died from diseases, and war happened. Life wasn’t easy, and people had to actually work long and difficult days to stay alive…. But somehow, life went on, and people accepted the fact that life wasn’t going to be handed to them on a silver platter. Hundreds of thousands of men died during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, WWI and WW2, the Vietnam Conflict, and today we worry about an incredibly few men being killed in our current wars. Our ‘old’ GIs don’t get treatment for post-traumatic stress disorders… They were either left to fend for themselves or live as homeless people. Today, we seek psychiatric help for our childhoods or for work-related problems.
When is this going to end? Are we actually going to become a Prozac Nation? Whatever happened to ‘sucking it up’ and becoming a better person for overcoming trauma? Mommy and Daddy haven’t damaged you for life… bankruptcy, assault and abuse haven’t damaged you for life… You don’t have to ‘flick in’ your marriage because it isn’t easy. I’ll admit that sometimes situations occur that are damaging and have to change… but just STOP BEING A P^SSY!
If you want your life to be better, MAKE it better. I was recently depressed about the death of my daughter and went to see a psychologist, and went home feeling worse that when I went to to visit him. WTF was THAT all about? Is digging into our pasts and bringing up old memories really going to do us good…even with drugs? When, oh when, will we just learn from our pasts and try not to make the same mistakes, or to learn to forgive ourselves for the tragedies that have befallen us without the help of the pharmaceutical and psychiatric industries? When are we going to learn that the past is the past and that we can’t change it?
We all have choices, and those choices, combined with the experiences that we’ve had have made us the people that we are today. We all have choices today and tomorrow, and we can make better futures for ourselves, not to mention re-negotiating our pasts. Life is NOT a terrible thing, despite what has happened to you. Make amends with the people with whom you’ve disagreed. Take charge of your life. Move toward you future.
JUST GET OVER IT!