Suffering Really is Optional

So many people in the world today are miserable. They find themselves in situations and circumstances that bring them pain, yet they frequently say, “I hate my life, but I can’t do anything about it.” Perhaps they are in a job that sucks the life out of them, or a relationship that brings constant pain. Maybe they live in a dangerous part of town, or they are not making the amount of money they would like. It could be that experiences in their past are causing pain in their present lives. Whatever it is, they feel completely powerless to effect any change in their lives.

In my book, Suffering is Optional: Step Out of Darkness Into the Light, one of the most important principles a reader can learn is to accept 100% responsibility for their lives. That means you give up all blaming, complaining, making excuses, comparing yourself to others or feeling sorry for yourself, and you accept responsibility for the way you respond to everything in your life.

Accepting 100% responsibility does not mean that things outside your control never happen to you. I personally don’t hold the belief that everything that ever happens to us is our fault, or that we always bring it to us – because we live in a world full of other people making choices, too, and sometimes their choices impact us as innocent bystanders. Nature is also doing her thing, and people can get caught up in natural disasters. However, we can absolutely control how we respond to whatever is going on in our lives.

We can absolutely control how we respond to whatever is going on in our lives.

For example, if someone close to you goes ballistic and starts yelling at you, do you react and get in a screaming match, or do you respond in a calm manner, deescalating the situation and getting to the root of the problem?

While there are things that happen to us accidentally, we are more often personally responsible for the negative things that happen in our lives. If we think bad things will always happen to us, they do. If we believe that we always get the short end of the deal in life, we will. If we look for negative relationships, they will show up. A negative mindset breeds negative responses. If you look for ugliness in the world and in people, you will find it.

On the other hand, if you look for beauty, you will find it everywhere. If you believe people are good, the good people will be drawn to you. If you believe you deserve blessings or are worthy of good things to happen in your life, they will.

On the other hand, if you look for beauty, you will find it everywhere. If you believe people are good, the good people will be drawn to you. If you believe you deserve blessings or are worthy of good things to happen in your life, they will.

Happiness is a choice. We all know someone who has terrible challenges, and yet they face those challenges with cheerfulness and optimism. How do they do that? Are they just a bit crazy and can’t see what’s really going on? Don’t they know their life is painful? Are they completely clueless?

Of course not. They choose how they will respond to the challenges of their life. They choose every moment of every day to be cheerful and look for the silver lining in whatever comes their way. They accept 100% responsibility for how they behave – and they really are happy.

What kind of person are you? Look at the people you hang out with the most. Are they happy people? If your life is not exactly the way you want it to be, what will you do today to change that? In what areas can you accept 100% responsibility for your life?

Give accepting 100% responsibility for your life a try. It’s fun, empowering, and you’ll be amazed at how things will change.

About the Author

Michelle Nagel

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Michelle Nagel is the founder and president of Soul Shift, Inc and the author of Out of the Darkness, Into the Light. Michelle travels widely, sharing her profound insights about moving beyond the invisible thoughts that keep us stuck.