Your choice

Life is suffering. Gloomy, I know, but much of what causes us distress is avoiding this fact.

Bad things happen, and although we can attempt to control this as much as possible, inevitably people get sick, people die, people are cruel, disasters happen. We don’t have as much control as we think about what the world throws us sometimes. But what we do have control over is how we respond. What we do in the face of what life delivers us.

 Author and blogger Mark Manson in his book talks about the importance of recognising this choice. For me, it’s almost slowing things down from trigger to response and realising there is space to make a choice in that moment. 

Manson talks about the power that comes from realising that we aren’t responsible for what happens to us, but we ARE responsible for what comes next. How we interpret what happens to us. How we choose to respond and react and what action we choose to take. 

When someone cuts in front of us, we can choose how we interpret it. We can choose to take it as a personal affront or not, we can choose to get angry or not, we can choose to chase the other driver, or not. We cannot control other drivers, but we can control what happens next. Manson says fault is past tense, responsibility is present tense.  

Fault is about choices in the past and responsibility is what you can do right this second, and the next.  

Tarnya Davis is a clinical and forensic psychologist and principal of NewPsych Psychologists. Her book of columns, All Things Considered, is sold at theherald.com.au