Do you believe in free will or fate? Are you someone who believes you have control over your life, or that your life is controlled by external influences? In the field of psychology, this is called having either an internal, or external locus of control.
When we feel that we have a sense of power or control over what happens to us, we then have the ability to play a hand in what happens in our lives. I know in my own life, I have seen many dreams unfold, by my effort at believing in the possibility and then working towards making it happen. When I was in awe of a friend who was a great photographer and highly creative, even though at that time I didn’t feel as though I was creative at all; I got a camera, enrolled in some photography classes, and started putting time and attention into this creative pursuit. At that time I was into manipulating polaroids and I shot a series on a vacation to Acapulco, Mexico. I made prints and cards, which sold at markets in Santa Cruz, California; and then sold though a gallery, on a regular basis, which was an amazing dream come true. When I lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, I travelled through the south-west of the United States and took photos in Monument Valley, Sedona and Arizona and made a series titled “The Wisdom Series”. Years before I would never have thought that to be possible!
When we believe that what happens to us is primarily a result of what life brings, or what other people or influences dictate, we are at the mercy of people, events and circumstances beyond our control. We also miss out on gaining the confidence and self-esteem that comes from achieving positive results, if we believe it was purely luck, someone else’s help or the will of the Universe. There is also the tendency to blame outside factors rather than take personal responsibility, which embodies a sense of personal power in our lives.
It has now been researched that rather than build self-esteem in children, it is far more beneficial to emphasise the effort that they put into endeavours. When we praise the effort taken, e.g. “great drawing, writing, playing, helping out”, rather than the person “good girl, good boy”; we teach them the value of applying their own natural resources to create a positive outcome. This also separates the judgment that comes from acknowledging whether they have been good or bad, which can be later taken personally and damage self-esteem. As a result, we teach them to be masters of their own destiny.
When we are not confident, secure or believing in our own resources or power; it makes it difficult to succeed or feel as though life is fulfilling. When we are feeling down or in a funk, it makes it difficult to believe that we are capable of making things better. If we have a belief system that says, “I don’t deserve to be happy”, “I’m not good enough to succeed”, or “Nobody really loves me”, we are sending ourselves the message that we are incapable of being happy. If we can raise awareness and believe that we have the ability to create what we want; we can create change, through the awareness that it is up to us to adapt our life to be the way we choose for it to be.
This week, let us honour our internal power to exercise control over our life. Let us be mindful of the fact that we no longer need to attribute cause or blame on external factors, for how we wish our life to be. Let us create a knowing, a believing in the ability to generate that which we desire, with each breath, with each action and by surrounding ourselves by positive influences to encourage and support our journey, every step of the way!