Resolve to take charge of life

It's easy to blame others, your upbringing, bad circumstances, but the power to change lies within us
2013-08-01T00:00:00Z Resolve to take charge of lifeOpinion by Alexis Powers Special To The Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Years ago when things went wrong it was easy to blame someone. My boss didn't appreciate me; my mom couldn't possibly understand me; my friends acted mean because they were jealous. On and on and on.

Attitudes can change. A friend paid for me to attend Life Spring, a four-day intense-learning symposium. During that experience I learned to honor my commitments, not to "try" to do something but just do it, and take responsibility for my life.

For example, I hate that I'm overweight. Should I reprimand grocery stores for offering cookies that I love? Or criticize restaurants for showing me a dessert menu? Should I condemn my right arm because it so vigorously travels from the plate to my mouth? C'mon - I know why I don't lose weight.

Our actions create our environment. Recently a friend cried on the telephone that her marriage was empty; she and her husband had nothing in common; they rarely spoke to each other or even shared meals together. When I asked why she doesn't leave, she said: "I feel sorry for him. He's old now. I should have divorced him years ago."

I didn't remind her that we'd had this conversation many times. When I would suggest they separate, she'd come up with some reason why they needed to stay together. Not much fun being in a relationship that causes more sorrow than laughter.

How many thoughts do we have about doing something but let it go? My ex-husband recently told me he thought of sending me flowers every five or six weeks. I said: "That would have been a good idea. Maybe we'd still be married!"

People are run by fear of change, fear of the future or fear they will lose what they have. They convince themselves they might be in worse shape if they pursued a new life. Instead of having faith that things will improve, they stick with what they have until so much time passes they really are stuck.

When opportunity presents itself, why not take a leap of faith? If you've always wanted to learn to play the guitar, take a few lessons. Maybe you've wanted to write a book. Join a writers group or talk to a librarian about how to find books explaining the way to get started.

Blaming your parents because they didn't give you music lessons doesn't make sense. You can still learn to play the piano. Make your dreams come true.

If you don't give things a try, how will you know whether you can succeed? How many times have you heard someone say, "I wish I were a better dancer" or "When I was a kid, I loved to draw" or "I wish I had a hobby that I was passionate about." And how often have you said something similar to yourself? Take that dance class, enroll in a drawing class, buy used golf clubs and take golf lessons.

Theodore Roosevelt said, "If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month."

Looking honestly at your life takes courage. Instead of blaming our dysfunctional childhoods, our lack of advanced degrees, or whatever else we can think of if we are unhappy, bite the bullet.

Listen to your heart. Make a list of what would make you happy. Then go forth and make life happen.

On StarNet: Read recent columns by Alexis Powers at azstarnet.com/alexispowers

Email Alexis Powers at northwest@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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