Do you believe we can shape our own lives, or are we playing out destined paths?
The starting points of our lives can be extremely different for each of us. Some are blessed with privileges from the beginning, while others face tougher challenges, right from the first breath. Add to this the different environments, experiences and people we then encounter along our journeys.
These are some of the elements that play a huge influence on how our lives pan out, but the question is: do we have a say on what we attract in our lives and how these impact us, or are all external factors and our internal reactions to them part of pre-written scripts?
I’ve met people who genuinely believe that they are simply here to act out a story allocated to them. It was fascinating to hear this viewpoint. It’s all down to fate, they say. Would I get out of bed for something I have no control over? I do enjoy roller-coaster rides that are based on well-engineered loops and routes, so why not? The motivator here could simply be the curiosity of seeing what’s in store for us each day.
I couldn’t convince them to change their view as I was expressing mine, and in fact I didn’t even try. I do prefer the idea that I can take at least some control of my life and that I have choices to make every day.
Same Starting Line to Different Paths
I am a twin. My brother and I were born within the same hour or two, and we grew up in the same family and surroundings. Yet, the way our lives turned out and the beliefs we live by couldn’t be more different. Admittedly, our lives didn’t start in precisely the same way. He was rushed into an incubator while I took a bit more time to show my derrière to the world, causing issues with my breech position (sorry mamma!).
So maybe the different traumas at birth, coupled with perhaps the effect of the detachment from my mother, may have played a role too. I actually experienced healing from my birth, through sessions of rebirthing and transformational breathwork.
What I am trying to say is that two people who started with a foot on practically the same starting line can end up running on totally different tracks. The scripted theory would work well here – based on it, my brother and I were simply allocated our own individual fates. From the opposite viewpoint, we each made very different choices, based on our own preferences and character.
Research has found that personality traits are something we are already born with, and that their full expression is then modulated during development.
The choices my brother and I made daily, hourly and in every moment of our lives, consciously or subconsciously, moved us in separate directions. Our reactions to events, thoughts and emotions were different, and perhaps as a result the way people treated us was different too, not to mention society’s response to our different genders, etc.
Accountability vs. Fate
I can choose to be accountable for where I am, i.e. blame or thank myself for where I got to so far, or put it all down to fate. Either way, I accept some degree of responsibility for choosing: choosing accountability over choosing fate. That makes a difference in my attitude too, non? My destiny-lover friends would argue: “No, you believing in fate is also fate”. Oh my!
I used to think that believing in fate meant believing in predetermined events, and that was that. But for it to work, you need to include the belief in predetermined feelings too, because how you choose to feel may change the events? I’m lost too now, don’t worry.
In my younger years, I did at times reassure myself with the idea that all responsibility was placed onto some external and uncontrollable force, to help me feel better about myself. Nothing that happened to me could be my fault. It was all meant to be.
Then over the years, I learnt of the wonders of the Universal energy and the Law of Attraction. I prefer the new idea of having more control over what happens and how I feel. Relying solely on fate and living life as a series of consequences means giving up on the power to manifest and to create the life I want. Like a string puppet, playing someone else’s play.
Speaking of puppets, I recently read the book of Pinocchio, in its original Italian language. I rarely read in my mother tongue, sadly, but during my recent Camino de Santiago pilgrimage I received a few (predetermined?) signs to download the book. The story was as scary as I remembered it as a child, but reading it now gave me better insights into its mysterious content.
In his quest to become a real boy, Pinocchio faced many opportunities to choose between right and wrong. Despite the many lies, he is eventually rewarded for his good intentions at heart and for his willingness to look after his father.
When you favour the idea that life is largely made up of choices we make, we become accountable for each step we take or don’t take, and become aware of our control over circumstances and opportunities that arise for us. We are still an actor but of our own script. This is so powerful and I believe that the moment you choose this outlook, you can start making choices toward creating a better life for yourself.
What you Can and Can’t control
As episodes of your life unfold, you could have some fun pinpointing all the connecting dots that lead up to a particular event, meeting or result. These dots often seem so random yet one missing dot and the whole story could change. Dots may have been created by decisions you made, meaningful coincidences or the creative imagination of those talented scriptwriters.
According to Sliding Doors, even if the dots changed slightly, you would end up with the same finale, the one meant for you. But whether that final outcome was predetermined for you by destiny or created by the energy of your thoughts, fears or desires, that again is a choice of viewpoint.
Test it Out
Pause for a moment, put a big smile on your face and have a go at playing back some of your own life scenarios. How did you meet your partner or bestie again? What landed you that interview for the job you’re in? Can you remember one or two joining dots? Which steps did you take that got you there, and which ones didn’t you take?
At first, the links may all seem to connect by chance, but take a closer look and you will find a series of choices you made that led the way. Or was someone pulling your strings?
In the next few days, why don’t we try a few new things, even better if slightly out of character, to see if we can create our own paths ahead. For better, of course. For this you will need to apply extra self-awareness and mindfulness. Are you in?
I would love to hear what has come up for you.