We shape our lives, we shape ourselves. The choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.
– Eleanor Roosevelt
For many years, I believed that what happened to me was the cause of my life. In other words, that my circumstances, environment, genes, the family I grew up in, our financial situation, and what people did to me created what I experienced. That is the way most human beings, and all addicts look at life, as if we are victims: "We don't shape our lives. The things that happened in our past shaped us."
What I now believe is just the opposite: We are not victims. We are the cause. And it's what I now tell business people and school kids, parents, teachers and addicts I work with: "Don't blame your problems on anything that happened to you. Try out a new perspective. Begin to see how you caused everything that's occurred in your life, including bad habits or addictions. And then you can 'Be the cause' in how you feel and what you choose to have happen in your life."
I know that will be hard for some of you to accept. It still is for me at times. Yet I don't say it to make all other perspectives wrong. I just think, for many of us, it's a more powerful perspective than what most of us were taught. And it's helped me to break free of many of my own habits and addictive behaviours.
The fact is, experts can’t agree on what causes bad habits and addictions. So for me, it comes down to a choice: What is the most empowering way we can look at life – whatever happens in it – so we experience more peace and joy now, and create the future we'd most like to live into? This is what gives us the "power of choice" in our lives, instead of feeling like victims.