I was listening to one of those radio advice shows (Yeah, I know. That was my first mistake.) and this caller was whining and crying about how bad her life is. Of course, nothing was her fault. Everything in her life just happened to her and none of it was because of choices she made. And of course there was no way to make any of it better.
This is why I would not make a good radio advice show host: My advice would have been, “You don’t like your life? Get off your ass and do something about it! And stop sniffling. Dear God, it is no wonder you do not have any friends. Would you want to be around someone like you?”
Gee, does that seem harsh? I tend not to be very understanding of people who whine and complain but never to do anything to change their situation. Want to know why?
I have been there. We all have. We all have crap happen to us. We have to deal with illness, economic hardship, heartbreak, disappointment, fear, failure, loss, emotional distress and all the bad stuff that is sometimes a part of life. Sometimes these things happen because of choices we make and other times they just happen.
Having a bad thing happen can feel like getting punched in the gut. It can take the wind right out of you. I think that it is natural after a setback to lick your wounds for a while. In my experience, the difference between someone who moves on and makes things better and someone who stays mired in despair is having a belief that they control their own destiny. What is more important than what happens to you is how you react to it.
This is important, so pay close attention: What is more important than what happens to you is how you react to it.
If you believe that you are a victim and you do not control your destiny, you are not going to make good choices. You will stay mired in a bad situation instead of moving to a better one. You may believe that it does not matter what you choose, because you can not affect the outcome. Baloney.
On the other hand, if you believe that you have the power to make things better (or at least make them different) you will take action.
Many years ago, a friend was complaining to me about how everything in her life was bad, and it was all out of her control. The first thing she mentioned was her job. Huh? If your job makes you miserable, find another job. Of course, when I suggested getting a new job she had a hundred reasons why she couldn’t do that. A few months later, though, her boss made her mad enough that she quit and began a new career. It was the best thing that she could have done. Not long after starting the new job she was happier and more successful than she had been in years. She was willing to tolerate some misery, but left when it became too much. How much misery are you willing to tolerate before you act?
Do not wait for things to become unbearable before you take action.
Disappointed in the people you are dating? Don’t have enough friends? Be the person you would like to have as a friend, lover or spouse. You will be more likely to attract a quality partner if you are a person of quality.
Buried in bills? Make a plan and dig yourself out.
None of these things will miraculously transform your life overnight. They take time. Bad stuff will still happen to you. But if instead of feeling sorry for yourself and wallowing in your misery, you ask, “What can I do to make this better?” your life will get better.
And taking charge of your life has other benefits. When you know that you are in control, you will be more confident, more positive and happier. Do not wait for someone or something else to transform your life. Do it yourself, and do it now.