Monday, September 22, 2014

Missed Opportunities

Have you ever looked back at events in your life and wonder if things would have turned out differently if you had done or said something else?  Would the outcome have been what you anticipated if you had responded in a different way?  Hindsight sure gives a lot of perspective; sometimes good, sometimes not so good.  However, any decision made is made for a reason, whether you make it out of fear, pure reaction of another's action, or thoughtful calculated steps.

There are opportunities every where and every day.  Every opportunity has the potential to go many different ways.  Sometimes all it takes is some planning, but then again, there are outside factors that you have no control over that come in and mess everything up, and I mean everything!

And because of things in our life that do not go as we had planned, we either do one of two things; keep on putting ourselves out there and planning life or allowing life to plan us.

Past experiences and what we learn from them shape who we are and how we approach things in the future.   If we see life as 'always being dealt a bad hand' we try to prepare ourselves for a 'bad hand' every time.  Is this really a way to approach a life where we were created to experience joy and happiness? No, of course not.

Often times when the decisions you make do not create the results you desire then you become use to the idea that "disappointment is the new normal for you" and the little gray rain cloud follows you around.  You find new disappointment becoming a way of life instead of something that can be changed.  This means that you are numbing yourself to pain and to discomfort when there is so much love and joy to be shared.

One of my favorite authors, Brene` Brown, has studied shame and vulnerability.  Through her books she has given me a great new perspective on the way I view life.  I'll sum it up for you, if you numb yourself to pain and discomfort, you are also numbing yourself to joy and happiness.

It took a while for me to understand this concept for myself.  I didn't think it was possible to numb the good things in life, but it sure is.  I was numb for a while in life, because I didn't want to keep hurting so I stopped feeling everything altogether.  Of course, I never allowed joy and happiness to interrupt my comfort zone of numbness, even though it was the very thing I longed for.

Slowly I began to change my perspective on life, and I do mean, slowly.  It took a while to teach me new ways of living, especially when I had done it wrong for so long.  I sometimes look back and think of all the opportunities I missed while I was numb and wonder what could have been.

Instead of trying to change the past, I look forward to future opportunities where I can choose joy and happiness.  No, I don't always get my desired result, but hey, I am trying. I am making myself vulnerable to life.  I am embracing more opportunities to choose joy and happiness, and I am not expecting pain or discomfort, though I know it is possible.

No one is perfect, but when we are vulnerable to joy and happiness knowing that sometimes life does bring pain and discomfort, we can better prepare ourselves to withstand the not-so-great things in life.   Once we know this and live it then we can transition more smoothly from the discomfort to the happiness that we are created to enjoy. Let's start planning life with more vulnerability instead of life planning us!

How many more opportunities will pass you by because you are too numb to feel even just a sliver of unconditional love?  What past experiences made you numb?  How long have you been numb?  What are some choices you can make now to help you start feeling again?

Please watch Brene` Brown's most popular TED talk on YouTube, Brene` Brown: The Power of Vulnerability

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