When you realize that you play an important part in the creation of your life through your perspective and your reactions it is the beginning of freedom. I remember when I would say “It’s just how I am”, or “I can’t help it” or “He did this to me, so I have no choice”. Freedom comes when you start to see that no matter what happens to you, no matter what you experience, you alone are the one who determines the meaning you give it.

There are two brothers, grown now, who shared a very difficult childhood. Their father was abusive, angry and hostile. Their mother distant and unable to protect them from the tyrant who held the power in their household. They had little support in getting through this difficult stage in their lives. Although they were both in the same nightmare throughout their youth, as time passed their paths digressed to opposite sides of the spectrum. One is very successful, with a loving family and many close friends. He says, “My difficult childhood helped me be who I am, I swore I would not follow that path of abuse. I have spent my life working to be the opposite of my dad, and because of the difficulties I had, I have more strength.” The other is angry, alone, with addictions and has little ambition to change. He says, “My father was abusive, this is why my life is where it is. My genetic disposition is to be an addict. Look at the role models I had, it’s their fault I don’t have anything I want in my life.”

Both of these men have stories. Are they true? They are to them, but they are still stories. We can change the story at any time we choose, and by doing so change not only our past but the course of the future. Every thought, no matter how trivial, has a consequence. The stories of our life are what define us as a human being. The story we believe determines our reactions, affect our belief system, and how we see the world. If you change your thoughts, and change your story, you change your life.

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