Challenge your life

UNIVERSE WITHIN by Gwen Randall-Young

Portrait of Gwen Randall-Young
Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging. – Joseph Campbell

It is normal to feel frustrated or disappointed when things go wrong. It is also normal to feel a sense of unfairness when we carry burdens to which others seem immune.

The quality of our life is more a function of how we look at it rather than what is actually happening. We all know people who seem to have everything yet are always unhappy.

The real challenge is to program our minds to function in such a way that we maintain a healthy or positive perspective. The truth is life is full of challenges; things will go wrong; they will not always go according to plan. This, of course, is most disturbing to ego, which sees the world from its own limited perspective. It is like the four-year-old who wants what he wants right now and has a tantrum if it does not happen.

There is so much over which we do not have control and if our ego aspect is dominant, life will be characterized by struggle and drama. There will be much criticism and judgment of others as well as anger, hurt, resentment and gossip. Not much room for joy here.

If, on the other hand, we relinquish that control, which we do not have anyway, life goes more smoothly. This requires that we see life as an unfolding story – one where we don’t know what will happen from one chapter to the next.

Think of a tennis game. If you stand in one spot and expect the ball to come directly to you every time your opponent hits it over the net, you will be frustrated. If, instead, you remain flexible, ready to move and alert to all possibilities, you can enjoy the game. With the first approach, you become a victim; with the second, you are a challenger.

We can challenge ourselves to draw upon our wisdom, to function with integrity, to treat others with kindness and to look for solutions rather than someone to blame. If bad things happen, we can challenge ourselves not to become bitter, to get back on our feet and to use that misfortune to grow ever stronger.

If we see life as a series of puzzles to be solved, hurdles to be cleared, mountains to be climbed and we embrace those challenges, we grow stronger and wiser. There is no time to complain about how hard it is or to lament that we should not have these challenges. There is no time to sit around judging others or trying to change them.

Life is not really so much about what is out there, but rather about how we choose to deal with it in here. Happiness is about our own state of mind. If we make it dependent on things being a certain way, then it is a gamble. When we attune our consciousness with all that is positive and all that we have to be grateful for, it is no longer a gamble. Ironically, the way we choose to think is the one thing over which we do have control. But we do have to learn to exercise it.

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and psychotherapist in private practice. For more of Gwen’s articles and information about her books, Self Care CDs and the new Creating Healthy Relationships series, visit See display ad this issue.


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