So many of us go through life carrying the shadows of our past and tainting our future. If we had great failure in the past, we let it define our identity and severely limit our potential for any future success.

Then we hear success stories of those who did not let any disadvantage dictate their success, those who blatantly ignored their shadows, shunned their current circumstances and defined their new future with brilliant colors!
How did they do it, we wonder? Can we too let go of these dark shadows? Can we walk into a new light, no matter what our past may have been and what our current circumstances suggest? I believe we can.
Imagine what your life would be like if you stopped blaming your circumstances on other people and things and took responsibility for your life.
I recently read a great quote from Ben Franklin that I hadn’t seen before. He said, “Joy doesn’t exist in the world, it exists in us.” While the quote was new to me, the concept wasn’t.
However, as I began to think about it more, I realized that even though I “understand” this wisdom and do my best to live by it and remind others of it, more often than I’d like to admit, I find myself living as though I’m simply a victim of the things that go on around me and in the world—especially the stuff I don’t particularly like…agree with…understand…enjoy…or feel like I’m on top of.
The circumstances of our lives, especially when they seem stressful or intense, does have an impact on us, for sure. However, all too often, we give away our power to these circumstances and situations.

We act as though it’s a foregone conclusion that we will feel a certain way, based on specific circumstances like the economy, the weather, our health, our level of activity, the state of our romantic relationship or lack thereof, the behavior of our children, our families, the state of our career, business or our environment at work.

Our experiences of life (whether grateful, worried, peaceful, angry, excited, sad, alive, depressed, joyous or anything else) are much more of a reflection of us and what’s going on within us, not a reaction to what’s going on around us. So do we put so much attention on the environment?

We’ve all had many times in our lives when things were going great on the surface or we accomplished or experienced some wonderful external success, only to feel a sense of disappointment or sadness underneath because, whatever it was didn’t satisfy us at a deep level.
And, on the flip side, most of us have had moments of incredible joy, excitement and bliss that weren’t directly connected to anything externally. Because we are joy-filled on the inside.        
We’ve learned to transcend our physical conditions. Even though we know this dynamic to be true, we still seem to get caught up in the hypnotic, erroneous notion that if we just got rid of some issues, altered some circumstances, manifested some increased success or changed some specific situations in our lives, then, we’d be happy, peaceful and relaxed.
Author and spiritual teacher Byron Katie says: “The definition of insanity is thinking that you need something you don’t have. The mere fact that you exist right now, without that of which you think you need, is the proof that you don’t need it.”
What if we lived our lives with a deeper and more conscious awareness of the fact that we get to create our experiences in life, at any moment?
Imagine what our lives, our careers and our relationships would look like if we stopped blaming our experiences on other people or on external circumstances. We would free up so much positive energy and take back so much of our personal power.
So, know your circumstances do not dictate your success.

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