Psychological research says that half of us believe we can change and grow, whilst half believe we are fixed and are as we are. The fact is, that whether you believe you can change or not, this is your reality because change requires you to do something. If you don’t believe the effort is worth it, you will not take the harder choices that require effort.
So often we tell ourselves that we don’t have a choice and our circumstances are overwhelming.
Dr. Viktor E Frankl was confined to a concentration camp during World War 2. He wrote of his experiences there and of the apparently total absence of agency for prisoners of war. He asked, “Does man have no choice in the face of such circumstances?”
“We can answer (this question) from experience as well as on principle. The experiences of camp life show that man does have a choice of action. There were enough examples, often of a heroic nature, which proved that apathy could be overcome, irritability suppressed. Man can preserve a vestige of spiritual freedom, of independence of mind, even in such terrible conditions of psychic and physical stress.”
He went on to state:
“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 the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way” (Man’s Search for Meaning)
Happiness is a choice, but it requires us to make decisive action. We can choose to smile, choose to find reasons to be grateful, be kind or think positively. All of these things require us to act…