I've been thinking a lot about the things that have an influence on us and the way we live our lives. We live a certain lifestyle, make important decisions, associate with certain people all based on things like our location, our jobs, our friends...there are just so many factors that go into the way we choose to live our lives. In some ways, these influences can be good, and other times, they can be... well, not so good. We know who or what our good influences are, and we can keep those. But it's those negative ones that we've got to weed out..but it always seems like they're the hardest to get rid of.
Sometimes I try to take a step back and think, would my decisions and the way I'm doing things and be different if I were living somewhere else, if I was hanging out with different people, or even if I was watching different TV shows? If the answer to that question is "yes", then I know my decision or action came from somewhere outside of my own conscience. If my decisions would be the same regardless of what my friends had to say or what opinions I read in a magazine, then I know my thoughts are staying true to my own core beliefs. Now, I realize that on some level, nearly all of our lifestyles are influenced by a number of outside forces, but there does come a point where our true "self" comes through in all of the decisions we make.
No matter what kinds of decisions we make or what actions we take- good or bad- it all comes down to our individual thoughts and beliefs. It doesn't matter who or what has influenced you to make a decision- what matters is that you considered the options and ultimately made the decision to do (or not do) something. It all starts with you.
If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for the most of your trouble, you wouldn't be able to sit for a month. -Theodore RooseveltI think this is a pretty funny quote, and it's also quite true. It's easy to put the blame on someone or something else when things get a bit rough after making a wrong decision. We can look to a bad group of friends who influenced you to do something you might not otherwise have done, or blame a TV show for planting an idea in your head about some crazy ideas...but after all is said and done, it was you who made the decision. So it's so important for us to realize that it all starts within our minds and we've got to be vigilant for those (negative) outside influences that can make their way into our minds. We are the ones responsible for most of our troubles, yet often we look to anyone or anywhere else to place the blame. Sure, others may have had a hand in leading you down a wrong path, but at some point, you made the choice to keep going down it. All of our decisions are made by us, in our own minds.
So before you make any decisions or even as you're going through your daily activities, take a moment to ask yourself if what you're doing or thinking is really coming from you. If not, then it's easy to weed out all of the negative influences in your life and start again on a positive note. I bet you'll notice that you won't be kicking yourself in the pants as often...