Wednesday, July 06, 2005

How to change your undercurrent

Last week I wrote about making life’s undercurrent. For many people, no matter how good things may be at the moment, the undercurrent is sadness or anger or despair. For others, no matter how difficult life may be at any given moment, the undercurrent is positive, happy, and hopeful. Enough of you asked how one changes undercurrents that I felt led to write a follow-up column.

It was good practice for me; I had not thought very deeply about how I made the transition myself, only that I had changed in the past couple of years. I have come up with two very important steps that I’d like to share with you. If your life has an undercurrent of sorrow or frustration, if for you life is “just one dang thing after another,” try this first.

I think the most important thing you can do is to stop viewing your life as something that happens to you. Take the active perspective instead of the passive. For years I lived my life in response to my surroundings. I felt like I had no control over what I did, and sometimes even over where I went. I was a cog in someone else’s machine.

I am no longer anyone’s cog. Things still happen to me that are beyond my control, but I approach life as though my actions and decisions will make a difference. You know what? They do.

The second step to changing your undercurrent is to get really clear on who you are responsible for. You are only responsible for you. You cannot make anyone else do anything or feel any certain way. Likewise, no one else is responsible for what you do or how you feel. Take responsibility for you and your own undercurrent. No one else’s undercurrent is your fault or your responsibility.

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