A common question many people ask me is, “So does ‘it’ get better?” I guess the important word here is ‘it.’ What is ‘it’?
To me ‘it’ is the ‘freedom to choose.’ Freedom to choose to gather our courage and confront whatever situation is at hand. And when I say confront, I don’t mean to go to battle. I mean to look at things honestly. We look at things honestly by choosing to respect and validate our feelings. At any moment, we can choose to step back from a situation, to pause, take a breath and reflect. We have the freedom to choose to view a thought or situation from a different perspective. We can choose to change our thinking at any moment. Changing our thinking may even change how we feel about something. We have the freedom to choose how to respond to or what value we want to place on someone else’s judgments or criticisms. We can choose when to communicate our concerns or feelings. We have the freedom to choose what actions to take. Sometimes we have the freedom to choose to change something, and sometimes it takes courage to accept things as they are.
When we are children, we are reliant on the actions and decisions of those around us. We don’t have a choice, nor do we fully understand the whys of our experiences. A lot of the time we conform, obey, and even become submissive to avoid further hurt. In so doing, we discount ourselves. We subconsciously build a barrier as a defense to protect our feelings, and then it becomes habit to neglect or doubt them. But just because we’ve experienced disappointment in the past does not mean it has to continue.
How long we stay stuck in what happened in the past is our choice. We often expend our energies blaming people from the past or holding onto resentments, but the reality is, they may have done the best they could, given their shortcomings. With freedom, we are no longer victims. Blame subsides and turns into personal responsibility.
So, ‘it’ does get better when we acknowledge our freedom to choose. With ‘it,’ we gain the freedom to honor and have trust in the expression of who we are; our deepest feelings, thoughts, desires, aspirations, hopes, and even our fears. We gain the freedom to take responsibility for ourselves, for our thoughts, our feelings and our actions. When we become true to our self ‘it’ becomes easier and we can relax into being who we are. When I talk about things getting better, being true to ourself is at the heart of it.
“It gets better” does not mean we can take a back seat and wait for things to happen. The ‘it’ puts us in the driver’s seat of life. ‘It’ sets us in motion. The roads in life are not always predictable nor smooth, but life flows much easier when we have the ‘freedom to choose’. Choosing to be ‘real’ and to accept life as it is will lead us on the road to creating a life that feels good.