I woke up a few days ago and thought about the day ahead. I hadn’t even rolled off the bed yet, but I was measuring, anticipating, and wondering. There is a lot going on in our lives right now. Ever since our miscarriage in December, I’ve encountered many difficult days.
So, in the morning hours of that day, I had a crazy idea. I thought to myself: ‘Can I just choose the day? Can I just decide it is going to be a good day?’
I know I can’t control everything that happens to me. But is what happens to me the only factor in determining what kind of a day I am having?
Is it possible? Could it be that simple? I explored the idea throughout the day and have been thinking of the results ever since.
The first thing I noted was the value of perspective. We all have the false belief that our life is just the litany of things that happen to us – a parade of circumstances. We approach our day as if we are watching an episode of television, shifted here and there by the revelation of unexpected events.
The trouble is that all of these events have a variety of interpretations. A happy event could be superficial or meaningful. A sad event could be significant loss or the chiseling away of something unnecessary. Perseverance hurts but it is fertile terrain for growth. Getting what we want feels good but can breed apathy, entitlement, and selfishness.
We have trained our perspective to lean negative. We carry the weight of assumption through our skepticism. Our emotions are perched to plummit. We have created a story, one in which we are either god or victim, and we twist every circumstance to fit our narrative.
So, maybe it is not the circumstances that determine my day but the perspective I adopt around those circumstances.
The biggest obstacle with choosing to have a good day is that we just don’t believe it. It seems like hocus-pocus, like some sort of self-delusional trick that isn’t going to work. There are things more powerful than our choices and we can’t just ignore them.
Ironically, the truth is that we have been lying to ourselves all along. That, indeed, is the very crux of the problem.
We have adopted a belief system about the way the world works, how it will treat us, and what to expect. We have been conditioned to react to circumstances in very specific ways. Our biases have been given preference and have been reinforced by the interpretations we choose to believe about our stories.
We begin each day with a carefully constructed system one. Yet the system we have adopted is not necessarily the full representation of truth.
We over-value what happens to us and under-appreciate the power of our own choices. We are active participants in our lives. There is a degree of ownership we have. Sure we cannot control the circumstances, but we spend most of our lives lamenting what we can’t control while simultaneously neglecting what we can.
There is nothing more important, when it comes to determining our day, than choosing our perspective. It certainly isn’t the only thing, but it is the most important. We can choose to believe a fuller version of truth than what we have previously believed. We can choose to see the value in our circumstances. Even the most painful of situations invite value.
I am living a life full of challenging circumstances. I’m also living a life full of choices. Each moment of every day I am offered the ability to choose how I will react to what happens around me.