Many debate our power of choice in any given circumstance. Some say the workings of subconscious motivations keep us in the dark about why we move in one direction or another. Others say we all have will power that we can strengthen or neglect. Perhaps there is truth in both points of view. We bump into all sorts of experiences in our lives. Some we choose and some we don’t. Almost every experience has three aspects, positive, negative and neutral. Our level of satisfaction with an experience or event depends in large part on which aspect we choose to focus on.
This is a lot like what happens when we download photos from our phone to the computer and adjust them on photoshop. We choose the photos with the best composition and clarity, everyone, or almost everyone smiling into the camera. We may enhance or enlarge the image and adjust for color saturation and value. Now the image expands on our computer and in our mind and the objects and people in the image seem to glow, “enhanced” by an inner light. We might arrange these in a Powerpoint or share them on Instagram for friends and family to enjoy.
The photo images we don’t wish to view again we simply delete. We don’t deny the event or the image. We simply don’t give it any attention and before long we have forgotten it ever occurred. In a similar way, we can choose the life experiences we want to attend to and allow the others to fade in significance. This will radically increase our level of happiness.
Gary Simmons in his book The I of the Storm, gives a beautiful example of this. He writes,
“I make my life mean what it means. The way I choose to relate to my experience is what my experience becomes. The quality of my life, its inherent ambiance, arises from within me. Experiences are metaphors and mirrors of your belief system, and they serve as feedback to what you are making your life mean.”
Gary Simmons’s words certainly ring true and yet it is also OK to lean on outside assistance when we can’t seem to get a handle on changes and choices we want to make. For instance, my daughters recently got me a FitBit. Throughout the day it alerts me when it is time to move, walk or stretch, how many steps I’ve taken, how many calories I’ve burned, how much water I’ve downed, and how far I am from my set exercise goals. Tracking my progress and getting frequent reminders has amazing benefits. I compete for my best self.
Changing a deep-seated habit often takes a support group, friends that are walking a similar path and understand the terrain. There are many groups to choose from, each with a specific focus. Finding a coach or counselor may also help. Once you have identified where you want to bring positive change into your life, the important thing is to begin. And don’t become discouraged if you have to begin many times. Old habits take time to change. Congratulate yourself for taking the leap, taking the challenge. In every instance, focus on the positive aspect of your experience and let the negative aspects fade. You have the power.
These are just a few of the ways to increase your happiness and satisfaction with life and feel more in control: focus on the positive in every experience, seek a support group, coach or counselor and track the progress you make toward your goals. I wish you a smooth journey toward your success!