Only a few days into 2016, most of us have recently emerged from the excess of the holiday season and are inspired to improve ourselves in mind, body and spirit. But are we prepared for the reality, when it comes, that self-improvement means changing the dynamics that are fundamentally rooted within the basic blueprint that makes us who we are?
How do we change what we’ve been led to believe all our lives? The parents and extended family we were automatically linked to at birth as well as all other daily interactions with friends, co-workers, neighbors and strangers that fall outside of our control are what we battle against daily. So what can we control? How each of us deal with these forces.
We are always in search for an answer to what might make our lives easier. But there are no short cuts. If you want to improve an aspect of you, or perhaps reform your entire life, you have to be willing to brave your past and face the uncomfortable demons that have haunted you. This doesn’t mean that an entire lifetime can be solved by a night of contemplation. But, a step in the right direction is first acknowledging that a change in your life needs to be made.
I don’t see how we can become better versions of ourselves without looking inward and taking into account the kind of environment in which we grew up. Some theorists believe in the “American Dream,” which stresses that as long as we have enough faith then we can dig ourselves out of the gutters and ghettos that influenced our childhood memories and continue to imprison us. But, the American dream is relative to the cards each and every person is dealt at birth. The equation is: Environment + Circumstances + Genetics = Birth Right. What we’re born with or into we cannot control. Just as those born with a silver spoon in the mouth reap benefits not of their choosing, so, too, does a lack of resources provide the initial trajectory to the life of the disadvantaged. Despite the favorable family environment one person is born into or the adverse economic or genetic circumstances of another, where one person might even be more prone to a mental illness or be predisposed to a disability, we all have the ability to change ourselves and define who we are based on our values and to resist falling into the trap of being victims of circumstance.
Where we come from is not of our doing. Where we go is.
The Bottom Line:
We are all dealt a certain “hand” from the time we were conceived, and without choice. Everyone has different circumstances and environments, which ultimately lead to the amount of resources that are initially at our disposal. It is up to us as individuals to break the chains of our past and make a conscious choice to serve a revised future rewritten by you. We don’t need New Year’s Eve to tell us when it’s time for reflection and restructuring. It takes effort and courage to each day bravely face our past and to make peace with it. Only then can we move forward, living in the present yet working for the best future that is constructed by you and only you, not by the role you were expected to play.