As we go through life, something happens around us; something happens to us; but what is more important is what happens within us. There are things and  situations that we can not change but we can certainly change our attitude towards them.

We can alter our life by altering our attitude and in that, we will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master us. Let's learn from the following essay inspired by the writings of Sonny Carroll. It's full of dazzling wisdom.

A time comes in our lives when we finally get it... When in the midst of all our fears and insanity we stop dead in our tracks and somewhere, the voice inside our head cries out - ENOUGH! 

Enough fighting and crying, or struggling to hold on. And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, our sobs begin to subside, we shudder once or twice, we blink back our tears and through a mantle of wet lashes, we begin to look at the world through new eyes. 

This is our awakening... 

We realize that it's time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change, or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. We come to terms with the fact that there is no Prince Charming nor Cinderella in the real world, there aren't always fairy tale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of "happily ever after" must begin with us and in the process, a sense of serenity is born of acceptance. 

We are awaken to the fact that we are not perfect and that not everyone will always love, appreciate nor approve of who or what we are ... and that's OK. (They are entitled to their own views and opinions.) And we learn the importance of loving and championing ourselves and in the process, a sense of new found confidence is born of self-approval. 

We stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did to us (or didn't do for us) and we learn that the only thing we can really count on is the unexpected.

We learn that people don't always say what they mean or mean what they say and that not everyone will always be there for us and that it's not always about us. So, we learn to stand on our own and to take care of ourselves and in the process, a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance. 

We stop judging and pointing fingers and we begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties and in the process, a sense of peace and contentment is born of forgiveness. 

We realize that much of the way we view ourselves and the world around us, is a result of all the messages and opinions that have been ingrained into our psyche.

We begin to sift (filter) through all the junk we have been fed about how we should behave, how we should look and how much we should weigh, what we should wear and where we should shop and what we should drive, how and where we should live and what we should do for a living, who we should marry and what we should expect of a marriage, the importance of having and raising children or what we owe our parents.

We learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. We begin reassessing and redefining who we are and what we really stand for. 

We learn the difference between wanting and needing and we begin to discard the doctrines and values we have outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with and in the process, we learn to go with our instincts. 

We learn that it is truly in giving that we receive and that there is power and glory in creating and contributing and we stop maneuvering through life merely as a "consumer" looking for our next fix. 

We learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a by gone era, but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which we must build a life. 

We learn that we don't know everything; it's not our job to save the world and that we can't teach a pig to sing. We learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO. We learn that the only cross to bear is the one we choose to carry and that martyrs get burned at the stake. 

Then we learn about love. Romantic love and familial love. How to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving and when to walk away. We learn not to project our needs or our feelings onto a relationship. We learn that we will not be more beautiful, more intelligent, more lovable or important because of someone on our arm or the child that bears our name. 

We learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as we would have them be. We stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. 

We learn that just as people grow and change, so it is with love; and we learn that we don't have the right to demand love on our terms, just to make us happy. 

We learn that alone does not mean lonely. We look in the mirror and come to terms with the fact that we will never be a size 5 or a perfect 10 and we stop trying to compete with the image inside our head and agonizing over how we "stack up." 

We also stop working so hard at putting our feelings aside, smoothing things over and ignoring our needs. We learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK and that it is our right, to want things and to ask for the things that we want and that sometimes it is necessary to make demands. 

We come to the realization that we deserve to be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity and respect and we won't settle for less. We allow only the hands of a lover who cherishes us, to glorify us with his/her touch and in the process, we internalize the meaning of self-respect. 

And we learn that our body really is our temple. And we begin to care for it and treat it with respect. We  begin eating a balanced diet, drinking more water and taking more time to exercise. We learn that fatigue diminishes the spirit and can create doubt and fear. So we take more time to rest. Just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul; so we take more time to laugh and to play. 

We learn that for the most part in life, we get what we believe and deserve and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

We learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that wishing for something to happen, is different from working toward making it happen. 

More importantly, we learn that in order to achieve success we need direction, discipline and perseverance. We also learn that no one can do it all alone and that it's OK to risk asking for help. 

We learn that the only thing we must truly fear is the great robber baron of all time; FEAR  itself. We learn to step right into and through our fears, because we know that whatever happens we can handle it and to give in to fear, is to give away the right to live life on our terms. 

We learn to fight for our life and not to squander it living under a cloud of impending doom. We learn that life isn't always fair, we don't always get what we think we deserve and that sometimes bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people. On these occasions, we learn not to personalize things. We learn that God isn't punishing us or failing to answer our prayers; it's just life happening. 

We learn to deal with evil in its most primal state; the ego. We learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy and resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of us and poison the universe that surrounds us. We learn to admit when we are wrong and to build bridges instead of walls. 

We learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted; things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about; a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower.

Slowly, we begin to take responsibility for ourselves, by ourselves and we make ourselves a promise to never betray ourselves and to never ever settle for less than our heart's desire. We hang a wind chime outside our window so we can listen to the wind, and we make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting and to stay open to every wonderful possibility. 

Finally, with courage in our heart and with God by our side we take a stand, we take a deep breath and we begin to design the life we want to live as best as we can.

By Tim Pedrosa

Destiny is not a matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved. ~William Jennings Bryan