Many of you are not going to like this; but I’m gonna say it, anyway:
You have the ability to CHOOSE how you FEEL about ANY given situation or event, at ANY given moment.
We see examples of this all the time.
Utter devastation can occur, through a natural or man-made disaster, affecting hundreds or thousands; and some are FROZEN in a specific moment; irreparably BROKEN, BLAMING God or others; and left QUESTIONING, “Why ME?”
Many are just THANKFUL their lives were spared, and immediately CHOOSE to begin to REBUILD and RESTORE what was lost.
Still others RISE from such an event, CHOOSE to BELIEVE it was brought to them for a reason, and BECOME STRONGER FOR it.
Most graduate through feelings to other feelings; but some feel as they feel from the moment a dangerous or life-threatening event has passed, don’t deviate, and respond accordingly for the rest of their days.
Why IS that?
Every one of those feelings were CHOSEN.
One of us may feel we are a permanent victim, damaged and fearful and hopeless, unable to love or trust again, years and even decades after an assault, divorce, death, or cheating, lying or abusive spouse; while another uses our feelings to heal, or learn or grow and love again; or even eventually feel we can help others to do so.
But, in EVERY case, we CHOOSE those feelings and reactions; and thereby WE SET THE COURSE for our futures and the quality of life we will have (or not have) because of how we CHOSE to FEEL ABOUT an event—not the event itself.
We may not THINK we choose them; but we DO.
Gross injustices occur; and many feel bitter—eventually becoming hardened—remaining STUCK their entire lives in a long-ago event, and eventually sick in body and mind because of it. Others seek the lessons to be learned, rise, look and move forward, better than before.
ALL of those feelings are CHOSEN.
We make mistakes, errors in judgment, gross miscalculations…we act horribly, do despicable things, treat others terribly. Some of us feel so much SHAME and GUILT over our actions (and the feelings that precipitated them) that the self-imposed label of what we did hangs over every thought and action like a dark, heavy cloak. Others feel their actions were someone else’s fault, justifying and shifting blame to someone else. Still, others are able to feel the weight of their actions; then release them, and instead feel redemption, self-forgiveness, hope and grace; and act accordingly, redeemed and blameless and shameless.
ALL of those feelings, reactions and actions are CHOSEN.
You may be reading this, and thinking:
“I can’t CHOOSE how I FEEL, Dawn! You don’t know what happened to me!”
You might FEEL I am being insensitive. But, in fact, I can assure you that I am trying to help SET YOU FREE from your own chosen, self-inflicted, damaging feelings.
You may not be able to change an event, and you may not be able to go back and re-write history, or un-do what you did or what someone did to you; but you are ABSOLUTELY able to CHANGE THE WAY YOU FEEL about ALL of it, and change what is happening inside and around you RIGHT NOW; and thereby affect your future.
I have been on both sides of the feeling fence. From events in my own life, I have felt shameful, slighted, broken, irreparable; and I have also felt completely FREE of the SAME event in a MOMENT.
In a MOMENT, I chose to change the way I felt. In a MOMENT, I chose to see things through different eyes. In a MOMENT I released myself from a prison of shame. In a MOMENT, I CHOSE to stop feeling unfixable and stuck; and, instead, decided to seek help.
And in a MOMENT, I CHOSE to walk the path to end to my own self-imposed suffering.
And so I chose it. I CHOSE my feelings.
And I stopped suffering.
And my life changed VERY quickly.
It does not matter the event. It does not matter the situation. Pain, and hardship, and injustices, and losses and death and calamity befall ALL of us.
And for as many of those events, there are at least that many ways to feel, react and act, as a result.
And we choose every one of them.
Lucky and I live by a saying that goes like this:
“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”
So, my questions for you today are:
How are you CHOOSING to feel?
And, if the way you feel right now about something that happened today, or even decades ago, is causing you pain, anger, sorrow, frustration, fear, anxiety, grief, shame, guilt; when do you think would be a good time to change your feelings, and end your own suffering?
How much longer do you feel is an acceptable time for you to suffer?
How much longer will you choose to remain chained and labeled to an event?
When would you like to set yourself free?
When would you like to feel really happy again?
I hope it’s RIGHT NOW.
~ Dawn Read
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