“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” – William Arthur Ward
I came across this quote a while back and wanted to write a post around it but couldn’t figure out how to convey what it says to me, specifically. I’m going to try now, so bear with me.
I’ve long believed that I was powerless over circumstances, that I was like a leaf in a storm; at the mercy of the wind, with no say in where I would go. I went along with whatever the group mentality was, never questioning whether it was what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go or who I wanted to be with. By doing this, I set myself up beautifully for great disappointment and the role of the ever-suffering victim. I gave away my choices, my voice, my power and then couldn’t figure out why I was always so unhappy; why I had no sense of self, no idea who I was. It has taken me many years and a great deal of wrong turns, heartbreaks and utter despair to realize that no one had made me a victim, I did that all by myself.
Now, that’s all find and good, but what could I do with that great revelation? We’re talking a lifetime of identifying as a follower; how could I un-learn all those behaviors? How could I reclaim my voice, my power? I had no clue, but I did know that if I didn’t try, nothing would ever change, except to possibly worsen. There is another saying regarding a very long journey and it beginning with a single step and that is exactly what I had to do. One step. One different thought. Turning left instead of right, speaking up instead of suffering silently; making one decision to change one thing. They all add up; just as a bad habit is formed over time, the same is true of a healthy one. I had been living this way my entire life and I would have to have great patience and equal amounts of determination if I wanted to be successful in making this change.
Now, a few years later and I have found my voice; I am slowly realizing the extent of how much power I gave away and am in the process of getting it back and then some. I have a greater sense of self, of purpose and of value. Needless to say, every day isn’t like a scene from some ridiculously happy and upbeat musical, but it’s honest and real and in that, it’s good. The challenges will always be there, although their form and delivery may differ, I will still have to find the strength to make good choices, while allowing myself to be human and to learn from my setbacks.
The words “victim” and “failure” can never be used again when I’m thinking about who I am, what I am. I am a fighter and I will fight the good fight until I can fight no more. I am looking forward to each next day, each new lesson learned and victory celebrated. I will keep steady on my course, my mind focused on my destination, eyes open for whatever beauty appears and gratitude in my heart for all the people that have loved me through thick and thin, fair weather and foul.
If the seas get rough, I’ll adjust the sails.