“I Am the Captain of My Soul”

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I know this poem by heart. Every last word of it. I can say it back to you without missing a beat. I was forced to memorize it. Trust me, I didn’t want to know this poem at the time, but it was a grade, and now I know more than ever that it wasn’t just a grade. Diane Walker was a great teacher. She knew every one of us personally. I had her for over six years in a row and it was a complete accident worthy of praise. She wanted everyone to be happy and took a great effort to get us to see that. I would visit her every day after school and tell her all the little things that were happening in my life, we’d go to dinner and talk about my classmates. She was definitely a lot more of a friend to me than a teacher and I am so grateful. However this is not a post about the greatest teacher I will ever come to know, but a whole lot more generic. Diane Walker made us remember this quote and the last two lines always stand out for me, “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.” It means we control everything about ourselves, from our fate down to our very well being. Sounds contradictory, but it is true. We control our fate. More importantly; we control our happiness.

I think about this a lot, especially when I’m not in the best of moods. It is very very hard to grasp in some situations. As human beings we can be too enveloped in trying to maintain and protect our own well being that we don’t think of others or as to why they could be the cause. They are not the cause. We are the cause. We control our own happiness. Here’s a few explanations:

1. It is impossible for anyone else to define you.

You are undefinable. You are the only person who gets to say who you are. Take pride in that. Circumstances and the opinions of others can only define you if you allow it. Do not give away your power by putting effort and weight in negative situations or the negative words of other people. I always harp on my friends for making dumb decisions and being swayed by peer pressure, and this is exactly why.

2. You were born with everything you need.

There is nothing you are missing. There is no need to frantically become more, be more, do more, or get more. You are complete, and every talent or insight you have is what you get to use to influence this world. Don’t change yourself. Please. Trust this and relax.

3. Perfection is an illusion.

Striving for perfection is a endless goal, as it is impossible. It can never be achieved. Strive for excellence, have high standards, but never confuse that with the crippling behavior of perfectionism.

4. You are not your thoughts.

Your mind does not define you, nor does it control you. It is not who you are. Your thoughts sometimes can be the big weapon against yourself. Look as yourself as a third party viewer to your thoughts and actively change them over time. You can no longer allow those to affect you.

5. Challenges are gifts for your personal growth.

Obstacles are opportunities for growth. We forgive others to free ourselves and walk into compassion for doing just that. Practicing gratitude is the first step to forgiveness. Forget what others have done to you and move on.

6. The past and future do not exist.

This is the most important.
Now is the moment. The past is just a memory. The future is a false mental projection. You can dwell in the past and reflect on the joyous times and never move forward and always wanting to be “happy” again or you can live in the now. Dwelling in the past suffocates and prevents you from the only moment you will ever have: now. Choose to be happy. Choose to let things go. Choose to live your life in the now. Enjoy it. Laugh. Smile. Keep on living.

Now, I am not saying I’ve gotten it all figured out. I still continue to struggle with each and every one of these, but I know what to do and how to change it, and these are the few pointers I use to remind myself that everything cannot be perfect and that it is important to enjoy the imperfections and struggles in life. After all it is your life and you only get one chance on this planet. So how are you living it? Make the change. Keep Moving Forward. Trust me, this is something worth it In the End.

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Looking for Happiness? It’s Already Here

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Happiness. Unlike love, happiness is an emotion. Something individuals seek out to find and to cling on to. Happiness is subjective: meaning its particular to each person, but it all brings out the same outcome. Being happy. Some people seek happiness through hobbies, careers, and education. And primarily, other individuals seek happiness through other people. As a teenager, this trait is very prevalent. Someone needs another persons approval and attention to be content, and ultimately it ends in disappointment. As a teen, I catch myself in these situations often, but I swiftly remove myself from them. Individuals my age emphasize the need for a relationship, or constantly change their appearance or demeanor to find acceptance through other people. This frequently leads to individuals ending up in unfortunate situations and becoming friends with the wrong people. Nothing good comes out of looking for happiness and acceptance in others.

The key to happiness is seeking it through yourself. Learn to be independent and not interdependent. Love others, love everyone, but do not expect love in return. That’s the dependency on others. Do not expect anything in return.

Transitioning from interdependency to loving yourself is not and easy task, but you can start by asking yourself these questions:

1. Who do you love the most? Friends? Family? Keep them in mind.

2. Think about the heartfelt things for these people. Do you love them? How much? What would you do for them? What about them makes you happy?

3. Now, you would most likely tell these things to those individuals in which you love, but I want you to take all those words of affirmation, and turn them towards others, not those particular people, but everyone who needs it, even towards yourself.

I define love as unselfish, loyal, having benevolent concern for another, and having affection based on admiration. Use these words, reach out to others, show them the love and expect nothing in return. Actively go out and ease the sadness and suffering of others, for then you will find joy and happiness within yourself.

The best way to do this is through volunteering and through missions. Give as much as you can. Glorify God and show willingness and character in your community. We as individuals can do much, more than you can expect. Simple acts and words of kindness have a positive effect on others and yourself. Many people need company, and by God give it. Show affection, in any way possible. Expect more of yourself, and you will give more. Look outward, give outward, do everything outward, never inward. You will change lives, and ultimately change your own. It’s what gives life purpose, it’s what’s makes life worth it In The End.