Self-Determination

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Simpson

“There’s a difference between blaming someone else for your situation and that person’s actually being responsible for your situation. Nobody is ever responsible for your situation but you….This is because you always get to choose how you see things, how you react to things, how you value things. You always get to choose the metric by which to measure your experiences.”

Mark Manson, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck”

 

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Photo by Hailey Kean

 

I was ten and at a slumber party. My parents rarely ever let me spend the night at a friend’s house, so I was thrilled. We had pizza and a pillow fight. As it got late, one of my friends put a large paper boat on top of her head. It looked like a Vietnamese rice paddy farmer hat – a coolie.

coolie hat

She bowed and said,”Ah so!” Everyone laughed. They thought it was funny. I got angry. I was the only Asian girl there.

Now, decades later, I know that anger is a symptom of sadness and pain. I was hurt because what she did made me feel like an outsider, I felt different from them. But did she mean to do that? No. The pain I felt is what I caused because I assumed (at first) that she was being malicious, but she wasn’t. I projected my feelings and beliefs on her.

If you are suffering (worried, angry, sad, insecure, jealous, etc.), you are causing yourself pain. You are choosing it. I know it sounds over-simplified and not entirely true, but it is. Mental illness aside, if you’re wallowing in self-pity or proud to be a road rager, you’re choosing it.

You can choose to be at peace instead.