Personal Transformation. You Have the Freedom to Change!
I recently enjoyed a few days at the Oregon coast with my family. To put the spot we stayed into perspective; it has a latitude of about 46 degrees. The water is freezing, and the general outdoor temperature doesn’t get above 65 degrees even in the middle of summer. As this was my vacation, I still wanted to spend some time in the salty, frigid ocean. I stood on the beach for not long, when I started to think I wanted to turn back to the car. I stuck with it for a few moments and remembered the wet suit waiting for me by the towels and picnic lunch we’d packed. Putting on that wet suit was practically transformative. I went from trying to protectively move around, inadequately hiding behind a towel, or just “getting over” the feeling of my muscles tensing to feeling warm and completely free to jump in the glacial Pacific Ocean water. We spent hours there boogie boarding and watching the waves roll in and out. As I walked along the beach and observed the gigantic ocean rocks, I thought about how this experience relates to other parts of my life. Like that wet suit, I only started to feel free from the bitter realities of life when I set my mind on a new way of living. When I understood my potential to live a meaningful life, I knew that I no longer needed to find happiness by temporary or “fake it till you make it” type of means. Like my wet suit designed to protect me from the elements, a new mentality has protected me from the negative emotional, mental, and spiritual elements of life. This new mentality has been refining over time as I experience more and more. In essence, this mindset is characterized by how well I see my potential. No person can take away my will-power or ability to earn, nor can they take away my understanding of who I am.
“… the last of human freedoms—to choose one’s own attitude in any given set of circumstances—to choose one’s own way.”
Like Viktor Frankl in his book Man’s Search for Meaning, a person can see meaning in any of the tiniest, and largest and in between of negative or positive circumstances. He once wrote, “We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms—to choose one’s own attitude in any given set of circumstances—to choose one’s own way.”
We are free to change the meaning in any negative or positive circumstance.
As I live my life feeling happiness, sadness, pain, anger, and joy, I remind myself that this was how I was meant to be. Pain is a reality of life but doesn’t have to be constant, nor should I attempt to always live without it. It all depends on how well I see what I am and what I can be. Sadness and anger don’t mean I am broken, just that I am human. Being human also means that I can feel happiness and pure joy. When I remember these things, I feel free from that anger or sadness from defining what I can or cannot do and how often I can enjoy life. I will conclude with this final thought from Viktor Frankl: “Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become in the next moment. By the same token, every human being has the freedom to change at any instant. “