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“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”  ~Paulo Coelho

 

I think we can all agree that life can sometimes suck! 2015 did it for me, there were parts of the year I didn’t know whether I’d sink or swim. I can truly say that this January however, beats out last January by a LONG shot. Oh, the woes and the trials of the past year! Some of which were beyond my control, others created in my mind. Nonetheless, they left me questioning every decision up to that point, my choices for the future and my sanity.

Through it all, I fought hard to maintain a positive attitude. I had to stand firm and remember that life sometimes puts before us situations that require us to make difficult decisions; decisions that, no matter what would entail some headaches, pushing us to the brink.  Some of these might require true sacrifice, while others may involve big risks.

 

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In regrouping my thoughts, I had to ask myself these four major questions.

1. “What does my heart say?”

My gut was telling me to stop focusing on the big problems I had no control over and start dealing with the ones I did. It’s good to get advice from family, friends at the time. But I was the one who had to make the final decision for me. This called for quite a lot of time because listening to your instinct requires solitude and concentration.

Always trust your instinct because at the end of the day,  deep down, you know what’s best for you.

 

3. “Who/what am I doing this for?”

I knew the answer to this, but the question kept popping in my head time and time again. It was like I needed to reaffirm this to make it stick.

Sometimes, we don’t wish to be the one making the decision because we are afraid that if we were to be wrong, the responsibility of it all falls solely on us. There is no one else to blame, no one else to point the finger at. However, I had to also realise that everyone makes mistakes.

No one is perfect, or 100% right all the time!

 

2. “What am I afraid of?”

I had to focus my mind on the goals I had set forth for myself up to this point in my life and find the happiness in it. Remembering that positive emotions would put positive energies towards those goals.

Remaining positive made the rest of my journey towards achieving this goal smoother, not saying everything is perfect, but I know by maintaining a more positive attitude it will attract other good things along the way.

You don’t always need to take great leaps of faith. Sometimes, it’s the baby steps that matter.

 

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4. “If I don’t do this now, will I regret in the future?”

Yes, regrets. I had plenty, enough to share even.  This can topple even the most positive soul. We all hate regrets because regret makes us feel empty like something is amiss in our life. Regret makes us feel like we have done something that we shouldn’t have, or we haven’t done something that we should have. Regret makes you wish that you could turn back time, so there’s a second chance for you to make things right.

 

For every decision made, there is an opportunity cost. In life, you win some; you lose some. You can’t have everything. This especially applies to time. You do not have all the time in the world. Life is short and quite unpredictable.

I had to let the could-haves be and accept that what was in the past is exactly that, in the past and cannot be changed. I had to remain thankful for the lessons learned in 2015 and another chance to continue my journey.

©Etta D. Richards