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On Not Getting Your Way

The experience of not getting our way is an inherent part of life. The universe, it seems, is not hell-bent on making sure we always feel properly accommodated.

It would be nice, I suppose, if we lived in an alternative world, but this is the one we have and it looks like we’re going to have to create whatever we create in an environment that does not hold our sense of convenience sacred.

That’s not to say that we are unfree to whine. Complaining, pouting, and resenting are among the short list of things that we have the right to do almost whenever we want. It’s just that these activities are not creative activities.

That is, we are free to be as bitter at reality as we wish, but our bitterness does not have the power to carry us forward in any meaningful way.

Shouting “I hate you” is no guarantee that we’ll ever be loved. Saying “This is terrible” is not a strategy for making things more palatable. Stomping our feet is not a substitute for stepping up our game. The world is just as indifferent towards our bitterness as it is towards our bliss.

Whatever we get, we don’t get it because of how we feel. We get it because of how we focus. I once heard someone say that all time is free time because no matter what time it is we’re always free to focus our attention in a life-giving way.

If you feel unfree because life isn’t giving you your way, exercise your freedom to focus your attention in a life-giving way. Not because it’s easy. Not because it’s “right.” But because it’s probably the only thing that’s actually worth your time.

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