The Reason We Feel Out of Control Sometimes
While most U.S. teenagers feel a sense of adulthood when they turn 18 years old, the only real liberty I felt on the day of my legal-aged birthday was the freedom to purchase a Florida Lotto ticket. I didn’t even have the courage to go for the cigarettes or a tattoo — just a lottery ticket. If I were an average young American, perhaps at that time I’d be packing my bags to head off to college, where I’d eat cereal for dinner, funnel beer for dessert, and experiment with poop-covered mushrooms.
Instead, I was living at my parents’ Miami home and attending school at a state university. In my circle of friends, this version of college life was completely normal. I could count the number of people I knew well, on one hand, who moved away from home to attend school. And, oh, did I want to be one of those people.
So here I was trying to be a self-governing individual, yet something was pulling my strings. Transitioning into adulthood is a funny time, isn’t it? You’re trying to become independent of others, yet you’re still functioning off the tools your family, culture, and society have taught you. How is it possible to be independent when you’re a prisoner to a set of beliefs that aren’t even your own?
Well, it’s not possible. Living up to other people’s definitions of success eventually gets old. And it did for me right after I graduated from college. I reached a point in my path, where I looked around and realized that nothing felt right. In fact, everything felt completely wrong. But behind all the confusion was a soft yet powerful knowing that told me I was meant for more. Finally, I was beginning to discover some sort of guidance that was worth believing in.
And sure, I can sit here and whine about how much my parents led me in the wrong direction. Believe me, I spent enough time doing that and it didn’t make my reality any better. My parents and your parents did the absolute best they could, considering that they, too, were operating off beliefs that were handed to them. Who are we to decide what kind of parents and people they should be? They, too, come with their own baggage.
The only way to break away from this blaming game is by turning your focus inward and beginning to catch the beliefs that are guiding your present. In other words: turn off the autopilot. Understand why you’re doing the things you’re doing. Is there an underlining belief that is controlling your action?
Determining the difference between programmed beliefs and your true self can be tricky if you’ve never stopped to think about it. A programmed belief that isn’t your own will leave you feeling frustrated, stuck and generally unhappy with your life. If you don’t stop and take a minute to pin point the belief that’s running your actions, you’ll feel trapped and powerless. If this all sounds familiar, you can identify the belief by backtracking from the frustration. What ignited this not-so-great feeling? Start from there.
Never forget that you are love. The essence of you is a ball of unconditional love that has no fear; it has unlimited compassion; and it comes with no judgments. All that other nonsense is just programming your brain has picked up along the way. And while the brain has this way of making thoughts seem completely real, know that there’s always a choice — starting with the choice of what you choose to believe in.