Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you are always right • Henry Ford
Two years ago around Christmas I met a colleague whom I did not see for a while. He wasn’t doing well at all. In fact, I do not remember ever seeing him happy. He was in “hell” as things in his life seemed to have fallen apart long ago and the regular dose of antidepressants made only minimal impact on his mood. He completely gave up on his life and hoped to die soon. He admitted that he was a coward and would never be able to take his own life, but to speed things up he started smoking again. He smoked the strongest cigarillos in hope that his end would somehow come sooner.
Last year wasn’t “good” for many people. Economy, politics, natural disasters, terrorism, personal tragedies – there wasn’t a month that wouldn’t shock us with some horrible news. I can imagine that many people do not have much hope right now. But a new year always comes as a blessing. It always means a new beginning. There always is hope for change. We symbolically close one chapter and open another. And this is why we should always look at new year not only with hope, but with new energy and determination to make things better.
If things were bad for us, we wish to change them. If we failed, we hope for strength and new opportunities. We have dreams and new ideas. We make promises to ourselves and others. We write down our New Year’s resolutions.
No matter how bad things were the previous year, we do not want to give up without a try. We hope for change and understand that much depends on us and our beliefs about the world and our place in it.
What struck me about my colleague was his complete loss of will to take control over his own life. Not that he did not have any options. He simply believed that all that happened in his life was his karma and he deserved it all. The misery he was in was a retribution for evil he must have committed in his previous lives. No amount of persuasion would change his mind. He believed that he created this hell on earth and deserved to be punished, but at the same time he admitted that he was exhausted and could not take anymore pain.
This was quite shocking to me. I do not have the right to judge anyone but it seems really odd to me that a rational person would relinquish control of his life to an abstract construct of a mind. Imagine, what if there was no such thing as karma? What if we had the power to change what happens to us? What if we could change the direction in which our lives were unfolding? What if we were free to choose “heaven on earth” instead of endless suffering in self-made hell? What if we were always right no matter what we believed? What if our dreams could come true if only we had them?
As my colleague described his situation I realized that his problem consisted of many smaller issues that had to be addressed separately, one by one, something he did not realize since he saw his life as one big mess: failed marriage, depression and insurmountable debt. At least he still had a job. But this did not matter as he enjoyed it less and less and even considered giving it up…
If you consider yourself a failure and believe that there is no way out, you may be a living proof that you are right. A self-fulfilling prophecy, a loser who only attracts disasters and does not even know that he can take control of his own life.
Horrible things happen to many of us, but what makes us winners or losers in the game of life is our resilience, or lack of it, and our response to circumstances.
Some people have the remarkable talent to pick themselves up and start anew. The pain, the loss, the suffering will not be forgotten, but are looked upon as life lessons and opportunities for growth and change.
We can chose happiness. We have the power to create our own heaven on earth no matter what. If we believe that we deserve to be happy we will find the strength to deal with our problems. We will be able to attract people who may suggest solutions where we’ve seen none.
Beginning of the new year is a perfect moment to start anew, but you do not need to wait for this year to end. No matter what your current circumstances are, make a wish and hold on to it. And if you believe that you will succeed, you definitely will. Do not give up on yourself. Do not give up without a fight. Wish for more. Discover heaven. Dream.