- To choose: every (even small) choice made helps to gain control over one’s destiny.
- Act: to understand what we want and what we are capable of is possible only in practice. The boat is steerable when the oars are rowed.
- Listen: Without prejudice, listening to ourselves and the world, we can flexibly interact with what is happening.
“Fate is destined from birth, and rather than trying to change something in it, it is better to just go with the flow, accepting everything that it brings and stoically enduring losses …” If we – consciously or not – live with such a conviction, we have there are many chances to feel that life is not going the way we want it, that we are missing important opportunities, do not control the situation and ultimately lose the meaning of existence.
Which of us manages to feel like a full-fledged participant, the creator of our own destiny, not only able to change, but also changing the course of events? Those who can turn the situation in their favor, build life according to their own project?
“In a sense, fate is a philosophical concept,” says psychoanalyst Mikhail Romashkevich. – But if we translate this topic into the language of psychology, then it is worth looking into the origins of what we call “destiny” – in the early childhood of a person. After all, future relationships with life largely depend on whether the mother understands her child, whether she satisfies his desires. Initially, the child develops in symbiosis: he believes that the mother’s face is his own face, and all the feelings that come from her are his own.
Our “I” is born in this very early relationship with the one that brought us into the world. If she correctly understands the baby’s desires and can satisfy them, then he begins to feel what he needs, and learns to build life based on his desires and needs. If her understanding is wrong, he will consider the attitudes imposed by his mother as his own and in the future will build his life, obeying other people and circumstances. “
“Such a person can remain confident for many years that his fate is predetermined: family traditions, ancestral messages, horoscopes,” agrees gestalt therapist Nifont Dolgopolov. “Most of us, despite the feeling of inner discord, stick to this line of life until we understand that we can influence it.”
To control destiny, it is necessary to take responsibility for what happens to us. This truth is generally known, but nevertheless it is necessary to discover it yourself – only then will this principle work.
“My parents died in a car accident when I was 17,” says 30-year-old Oksana. “When the first wave of grief receded, I realized with amazing clarity that my life would never be the same again. From a girl, a daughter, I instantly turned into an independent person. I had to take care of myself, earn a living, think about the future. “
“We generally do not tend to think without reason in what kind of relationship – active or passive – we are with our own life, – says Nifont Dolgopolov. – Often a person begins to realize them when faced with a strong experience, trauma or loss of someone close. These events place us in unfamiliar conditions, when there is no other choice but to build life in a new way. ” Fate inevitably brings its own trials to everyone. But they can also induce us to rethink and change our destiny.
“Free yourself from the influence of authorities”
Mikhail Romashkevich, psychoanalyst
“The first most important step is to understand or at least think about what we really want. American psychologist Eric Erickson has described many famous people who, at a young age, were engaged in absolutely nothing. They needed such a period of freedom in order to find themselves, to understand what they want for themselves, to free themselves from the pressure of values imposed by their parents, authorities, and society.
In addition, you need to learn to relate your desires and needs to reality. If you want to build your life, you need to clearly understand that there are circumstances that are stronger than you and that you are not able to change and overcome. And, proceeding from this, to do what you are capable of ”.
Prefer risk to comfort
“A person does not know what to want, because he has only one life and he can neither compare it with previous lives, nor correct it in the lives of subsequent ones,” reasoned Tomas, the hero of Milan Kundera’s novel “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”. He despised himself for not being able to decide whether to be with the woman he loved or to be alone.
Such a model of life is not uncommon – to prefer the comfort of inaction to the risk of choosing and making mistakes. And this inability (and unwillingness) to “live the first time”, to choose something and to give up something, deprives the very ability to make decisions and actions.
“It’s not easy to start doing things,” confirms Mikhail Romashkevich. – To do this, you need to realize the limitations of your capabilities and accept the not-so-pleasant truth: each of us is not ideal, we can make mistakes and make mistakes, for which we sometimes have to pay. Understanding the real possibilities deprives the child’s illusion of omnipotence. “
A person going with the flow cannot accept this. His life is like a rough draft that he hopes to rewrite someday. It is difficult for him to realize that there is only one way out: here and now to do what our inclinations and desires urge us to do.
Make choices even in small things
“For many years it seemed to me that I was actively building my own life,” recalls 42-year-old Albina. – I successfully studied, worked, successfully, as I thought, got married. The enlightenment came when I discovered that my husband has practically no feelings for me or for my son, and my whole life is subordinated to the submission of quarterly reports. After parting with my husband, I felt relief for a while. But I had to recover from depression for another year and work on myself to understand what I really want. “
To actively create our lives, we must recognize that we always have a choice. Performing it constantly, even in small things, using every moment to explore your desires is one of the main opportunities to regain yourself, to get in touch with your true “I”.
“Our destiny is made up of small steps, and every moment life presents us with a choice,” continues Nifont Dolgopolov. “We can live doing what other people and society want from us, or we make choices intelligently, even in small things, relying on our desires, preferences, values, meanings, and so we build our destiny.”
“Decide what exactly I want and can manage”
Nifont Dolgopolov, gestalt therapist
“It is useful to answer one simple question: do I want to be the master of my life? In order to control your destiny, you need to pay a serious price – to take responsibility for your actions. If you think about it, there are many benefits in having someone else govern our life: in this case, the responsibility can be shifted to parents, partner, government … Therefore, it is important to decide: what I want and can start to manage, and what I would give to others people or fortune? It is necessary to determine what measure of responsibility I am ready to take on in order to become the master of my life and enjoy it “
Seek your truth
“In high school, I became interested in photography, dreamed of becoming a photojournalist,” recalls 34-year-old Mikhail. “But my father insisted that I go to law school, which he graduated from himself. I studied, worked, but all these years I had the feeling that I was sitting on the shore and watching my life pass me by. In the end, I quit the firm where I worked as a lawyer and enrolled in a cameraman course. I have not experienced such a feeling of freedom and fullness of life as now for many years. “
“A person who, in childhood, was“ convinced ”that adults know him much better than to do him, how to act, trusts the opinion of“ experts ”more than himself,” explains psychotherapist Marina Khazanova. “He, as a rule, is not confident in himself, avoids making decisions, unconsciously fearing that his actions will be criticized.”
But if we live with an eye all the time, fearing that our life looks “wrong” in other people’s eyes, we can never truly surrender to the flow of our own life.
Many people need time to understand who we really are, to comprehend our true potential and to recognize the right to fulfillment. To become the protagonist of your life means to begin to truly understand yourself, your desires and inclinations. And to act – as far as possible, of which, if you think about it, we have a lot!
“Interact with the world flexibly”
Marina Khazanova, existential psychotherapist
“We feel the fullness of life when we do what we like and do what we are interested in. Our values are behind the “like”. For “interesting” – inclinations, thirst for creativity and knowledge. These are opportunities that are given by nature, fate. They must be tried to be implemented – over and over again, even if at first it does not work. But every little “it turns out” gives us satisfaction, and it is worth collecting it, saving it – then it will be possible to rely on this new experience.
The world is ready to share a lot with us. Everything we need is inside and around us. But often we do not see this – we live in captivity of stereotypes. You need to find support in yourself in order to flexibly interact with the world and the people around us. “