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Starting Over

Very few people get through a lifetime without either wishing to start over or being forced by circumstance into starting over. Often starting over is just a desire that is never acted upon. Sometimes disaster or tragedy necessitate it. Sometimes it is seen as a part of life such as college after high school, or getting a new job. Occasionally, people just get so disgusted with themselves and/or the people around them that they decide to change.
Many people think first of leaving, but is this the best decision? The question is, What must be changed? Is it the environmental situation that needs change or is it mainly the person who is unhappy with themself?
There are people who can answer affirmatively to either or both of these questions. Some people need to leave if they want to start over, but most can start over without leaving. It is often enough to change an attitude.
A successful change must be well thought out and planned. It must be approached as a “don’t look back” situation because once it is started things will never be the same again. The change will be in effect before the first move is made because the decision changes the person who makes it. To be effective, the decision must often be acted upon without the support of other people. As long as the change is meant to affect only the person changing, this is usually both advisable and inescapable.
Of course, all things are interrelated and any change in you will also affect those whose lives are closely associated with your’s. This is something to keep in mind when planning a change. As a GENERAL rule, anything that makes a person better USUALLY has a beneficial effect on those associated with them.
Change must often be in effect for quite sometime before other people will acknowledge it. It is also true that this change in perception is usually so gradual that it will not be noticed unless the old situation is consciously compared with the new. Even when other people notice the change, they will often talk among themselves for quite a while before they ever acknowledge the change to you.
There are people who have put themselves into uncomfortable situations because of their previous actions. When these people change their ways of thinking and acting, they often find that other people refuse to accept or acknowledge these changes. This usually has to do with the problems of the people who insist on dredging up the past, whatever their reasons. This is an example of a situation that might be best abandoned. A change of location and a severing of old associations might be the best course of action.
This is not easy, because even the most uncomfortable situation is familiar and relatively easily predicted. Severing oneself from even the most uncomfortable situation can be traumatic. This should not be attempted unless the person is sure that they are ready to face the unknown, often alone.
There is very little advice that can be given to people who start over from scratch, other than to be ready for anything. Fear is your greatest enemy. Be willing to be fascinated. Remember that people have been starting over from the beginning of time and the fact that you exist is testimony to their success. It is people who face the unknown who shape the future for those who avoid it.
If the problem is that the person is unhappy with themself, then abandoning responsibility will only aggravate the situation, because this will contribute to the person’s degenerating self esteem. The change that is needed is to redefine the way the responsibilities are handled by either accepting neglected obligations or possibly redistributing excessive ones in a more reasonable fashion. In most cases it is better for people to change the way that they handle their responsibilities to something that is compatible with what they think is right. Never say that things can not get worse, because they can. Always say that things CAN get better, because they CAN.
If you are completely disgusted with your present situation, you may be ready to start over. If you think you are ready, start by being honest with your self. Realize that starting over is hard work. Realize that you must rebuild yourself. Realize that, no matter who or how many are helping you, you will be doing it alone, using your own vision. Realize that some people that you know will doubt you and may even try to stop you. Realize that they will usually (not always) believe that they are doing the right thing. Realize that this decision affects the rest of your life and the lives of the people closest to you. Realize that you can start over and that you will have no one to credit and/or blame with the result but yourself.
You are always free. You can leave, you can stay. You do not have to leave, you do not have to stay. The first step to starting over is realizing that you can make your own judgements and decisions. The second step is using this freedom. Remember, freedom can be defined as the ability to choose your limitations. The third step is recognizing, defining and accepting your responsibilities to yourself and others. The fourth step is carrying out these responsibilities the way that you think you should. Doing or not doing things the way that you think they should be done is often a prime or root motivating reason for a desire to start over.
There is a truism which says that you must be able to help yourself before you are able to help others. This is a good place to start. Make your own decisions. When you do this, you will discover, through trial and error, what constitutes a good decision. This will enable you to help other people make good decisions. This often means telling them that they will never be satisfied with any decision but their own.
You will discover that mistakes are inevitable. You will learn that damage control is often the primary objective of many decisions, and jobs for that matter. Experience with damage control is often the way to learn what the correct decision really is (was). You will discover that mistakes can be, to varying degrees, either the end of the world or an opportunity to learn, depending on how you decide to look at them.
Survival depends on learning. People have been starting over since man first appeared on earth. The difference between triumph and tragedy is often a difference in attitude.
Keep in mind that death is the only absolute as far as life is concerned. As long as there is life in your body, there is always the possibility that your situation can change. The main obligation that you have in unpleasant situations is to keep trying to improve.
You must always face facts, be aware of and willing to acknowledge your emotions and fears, and know that there are always choices to be made. No matter how desperate or pleasant the situation, you do have control over the alternatives that you choose. These decisions affect the nature of the next decision that you will be faced with.
Starting over is a state of mind. It is the willingness to explore and adopt new ways of thinking and acting. It is the willingness to mix the best of the old with the best of the new in the most beneficial combination. It is a decision to look for these things. It is a decision to try these things out. It is the decision to keep on trying, to never give up. It is a decision to constantly re evaluate your own assumptions and premises and decide if they are still correct and useful. It is a decision to do what is in your power to influence your own destiny.

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