Victor Frankl, author of “Man’s Search for Meaning,” was one of the few survivors of the Holocaust. During that horrendous event Victor discovered that there was one thing that he maintained total control over. He said, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” This is the realization that events and circumstances are neutral, until we choose to apply meaning to them through interpretation. The choice of what meaning we apply to our circumstance can be the difference in joy and suffering. Below is an example of applying different meaning to the same circumstance:
Here are a few “I have to” statements…
- I have to get up early super early to make it to the gym before work
- I have to drive in traffic every day
- I have to work long hours at my job
- I have to rush home to take care of the kids
Here are the same statements replaced with “I am blessed to” ...
- I am blessed to be physically able to work out super early every morning, preparing me for a great day
- I am blessed to live in a city abundant with so much opportunity that there is traffic
- I am blessed to have a job to provide for my family
- I am blessed to have the privilege of raising a family
If there is an area of your life that you are not happy with, I challenge you to replace the “I have to” with “I am blessed to” and see if it changes your perspective. Our circumstance does not determine joy or happiness, our interpretation of our circumstance does. No matter what happens, we have the freedom to choose our attitude, to choose our own way.