I often write about change, encouraging people to take charge of their own lives and make the necessary changes to live happier and more fulfilled. I am painfully aware that it can be hard to ‘practice what you preach’, believe me. There are days when life just gets in the way and I become discouraged. I start to question my motivations. What’s the point? Why bother?
“Always bother, Grumpo!”
And then someone comes along and says exactly what you need to hear at precisely the right time.
Today, I am reminded about the importance not only of making changes, but of second chances. I am a believer in second chances…and third…and fourth…and fifth… Call it a character flaw? I once read that “Giving someone a second chance is like giving them another bullet because they missed you the first time” or something like that. And I have had to learn the hard way, more times than I care to admit, that giving others a second chance comes with the risk of being hurt. Tread those mine fields lightly, my friends. Use your head.
I have shifted my focus from giving chances to creating them. No one and nothing on this planet will ever make me happy if I cannot find happiness within myself.
Positivity is infectious.
They say that when you smile, the whole world smiles back at you. I’m here to tell you that those words are true. When you create positive changes within yourself, you exude a confidence and contentment that spreads easily to others. You create opportunities to inspire others with your strength, bravery, and perseverance. You lead by example and make a difference. And, let’s say I’m wrong [I’m not] and let’s say that no one else is affected by the ‘new you’ [they will be], at the very least you will have made yourself happy and will be living the life that you were meant to live. You have to want it. You have to put YOU first. It’s not selfish. As Andrew Lincoln once said, “It’s a self-preservation thing, you see.”
A shining example of giving one’s self a second chance comes from a friend of mine who celebrated two years of sobriety today. She could have continued living the way that she was living. But she finally reached that moment–you know the one…we all get there in our own time–the moment when you accept that doing what’s right isn’t always what’s easy–but it’s worth it in the end. Making the choice, and remaining committed, to become sober saved her life. She gave herself a second chance. In the end, it saved and renewed her marriage. It made her a better mother. I cannot say that those things, the happiness of her family, would have been guaranteed. She may have turned her life around and lost everything. Who knows? Life is a gamble like that. What she got was the icing on the cake. And I know if I was her, it would make me appreciate the little things 100x more than ever before. But even if things had gone another way, even if now two years later she found herself alone, in my opinion it still would have been worth it. She saved her own life. She gave herself a second chance. Regardless of the outcome where others were involved, she made the change within herself in order to thrive. I couldn’t be happier for her and for her family. Her choices have had a domino effect. I’m sure it wasn’t easy, and it never will be. But she had enough faith in herself to do what needed to be done in order to truly live. Kudos.
“Learning to Thrive While We Survive”
In the last couple of years, I have had the honor of witnessing a number of people give themselves second chances. Parents who have chosen sobriety. Single mothers who have put themselves through school. Adults who, in the face of unemployment, changed career fields/returned to school/created new opportunities. People who packed up and moved to other states in order to broaden their horizons. My own husband, who lost over 100lbs in the last 18 months and at the age of 40 is starting a new business from scratch. If you’re under the impression that your life is written out for you, erase it. It’s in ink? Use liquid paper and white that shit out. It’s set in stone? Hoist that boulder over your head and smash it to the ground.
Don’t be afraid. You owe it to yourself to be happy.
This isn’t THE OUTSIDERS. Don’t “Do it for Johnny.” Do it for YOU. At some point, you have to come first. Take responsibility for your station in life. You’re the one that got you where you are now, and you’re the only one that will get you to the next level. Control your own destiny. Take charge of your physical and mental health. Be the best you possible and, as our dear Captain Sean always reminds us…”Shine on.”