When you are in the doldrums (A period of stagnation or depression) its good to draw on inspiration from people who have survived and thrived in the face of similar of even worse adversity. Eleanor Roosevelt is my “go to” and this is one of my favorite statements from this great a courageous lady.
“One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed it the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And, the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.”
As hard as it can be to take ownership for the “bad” stuff that happens, it can also be empowering. No, I do not believe we choose hardship or suffering intentionally. We do, I think, make choices for which we cannot see the possible outcomes and do so in order to learn what we need to understand to grow and progress towards being the kinds of people we want to be. Eleanor didn’t choose to be plain or to be often left alone by a powerful husband. She did choose to become active in the world in her own way though and to pursue her own life and friendships. And so do we each choose our responses to the events in our lives.
I cannot force my life or the people in it to be something it is not. I cannot walk through doors and pathways that are not currently open to me. And I cannot make others like or respect me if they don’t choose to. I can respect myself however and like the person I am today. I have made mistakes. Many in fact. And I will make many more I am sure. I have also been kind and good, and I try every day to be better, to be kinder and more compassionate. I chose to be a person I can respect and to live with my situation with grace and dignity as I am able.
When the situation changes and the winds of change are again blowing in the direction I wish to travel I hope I am equally able to chose well and wisely. This to me is the measure of my efforts to practice well and walk my talk. Can I act well in good times and bad? Do I hold my tongue when speaking would cause harm. Do I take a deep breath before reacting with anger? Do I acknowledge frustration or fear, and chose to act when those emotions are no longer in charge? I hope I do. And, when it is hard to stay calm and act wisely I will remember the words of women like Eleanor, who spoke for many with her ability to rise above and carry on when that was the best choice available to her.