A set of twin boys grew up in the same home. Their father was verbally abusive to them and their mother, drank alcohol every night, and smoked cigarettes regularly. He never held a job for more than a few weeks and blamed the misery of his life on his circumstances. When the two boys grew up, one followed in his father’s footsteps, and the other had a steady job and never drank alcohol or smoked. He treated others with respect and was careful not to put others down. When asked why they live the way they live, they each said, “I learned from my father.”
It is true that sometimes our circumstances are not ideal, or in some cases, they just suck. (For example, sometimes it sucks being poor, but most of the time, it really is okay.) We cannot help the circumstances we are born into. We can, in most instances, change those circumstances through desire and hard work. More importantly, we have complete control over how we handle our circumstances.
Take adoption for instance. I chose to place my son for adoption. It would then follow that I chose to take on the pain and hurt that comes with it. I understood that placing my son for adoption would be a tremendous sacrifice and it would cut me deeply. So then, I am presented with a choice: I could allow the adoption to ruin my life, to let the grief take over and blame my misery on my circumstances, or I could accept the pain of adoption and see how wonderful and beautiful it is. It is a choice between letting it rule my life or letting it change my life. I have chosen to let it change my life, and what a beautiful change that is!
Our attitudes are in our control. It does not mean that we agree with things that happen or that we like them. It means being a strong person who chooses happiness in spite of things that are out of our own control. I have learned from experience that it takes much more energy to be negative than it does to be positive. This does not mean that we will not ever be sad, nor does it mean we will never have periods of depression. The defining factor is whether or not we are willing to acknowledge that it does get better and push forward to get to the light at the end of the tunnel.