Even if you consider yourself a great optimist as I do, can you honestly say you have never had times when you felt negative or down? If you have, consider yourself extraordinarily lucky, as most people have these moments for one reason or another. It's something I have really spent some time considering, because as someone who loves to be able to ‘help people’ and ‘fix things’ and ‘resolve issues,' there is arguably nothing more disempowering than feeling consumed by a situation or emotion and feeling like 'someone or something else is driving your car.'
So, what are the things that cause this negativity? Where does the disempowerment come from? It’s frequently a question of perception. It is our attitude. Now on some levels, that is quite a hard message. We can find ourselves trying ineffectively to appease ourselves by telling ourselves that the issues are beyond our control or outside of our sphere of influence when it comes to changing them. The reality is, if we will only open our minds, think creatively, and, most importantly, do something, then every day is full of opportunity. If we do nothing, then generally, we get nothing.
Tron Edwards, the American theologian, said, “Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; action forms habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny” So everything starts with our thoughts, which are inextricably linked to feeling (cortex and limbic brains) and through self-awareness and self-regulation, it is entirely possible for us to refine and develop the power we have to change and influence our situations.
The next important reflection as a lover of etymology is on the word ‘purpose’. The Latin route of the word intention (intentio) is purpose. When our purpose drives us, we are usually pretty determined and easily find ways to overcome obstacles. The key here being that purpose is nothing without action. You can desire all you like, dream, and pray all you want. Still, unless you take some action to allow yourself to be driven by your purpose, ensuring that your intention in everything is aligned to your meaningful vision and aspiration, nothing changes. Why? Because you are allowing something to either block or become an excuse to stop you trying. A tough pill to swallow? Not really… it is exciting and empowering.
As a child, I remember, to sit in the front of the car was a seat worth fighting over because you got the best view, and I would dream of the day I could drive with the freedom to take myself and anyone else anywhere I wanted. When you take control, assess the reality of your situation, no matter how big or small, there is always something you can do to take a step forward. Then you can stop being a passenger in your own car, sit firmly and permanently in the driver’s seat of your life, and enjoy a clear and unimpeded view of your future.
Now the word habit is an interesting one. It comes from the Latin ‘habitare,' which means to dwell or reside in. The ‘activeness’ of this word is fascinating! It suggests an element of choice. We can dwell in or reside in a certain state or choose to do something different, and since we have better 'habits' or ways of behaving, we can choose to continue working that way. Empowering, because once again, we have a choice. As Tron Edwards says – habits decide character. Character is who we are, and going back to a quote from one of my previous blogs… ‘have you become what you respect, and do you mirror what you admire?’ To do this effectively, we again must continually reflect on who or what is motivating us.
Motivate comes from 'movere,' which means to move. What is it that moves us to action? If it is the right thing, if it is our values and true purpose (mission), it will take us to our right ‘destiny’. But destiny does not need to be something passive. Take heart and have hope… You can choose your actions; you can take control. You can drive your own car and go anywhere you want!