Who owns you?
Let's talk about ownership. Not ownership of houses, or cars, or crap you don't need, but ownership of your situation - of your life.
The question of who owns your situation, or you, is much bigger than who owns your house, or cars, or the crap you don't need. Yet, in spite of that, we often pay more attention to the ownership of our 'stuff' than to who has ownership of our lives. And that is a big, big mistake. Because, when you don't pay attention to who owns your life, you risk becoming a slave inside your own story.
The simple fact is this: whoever owns your life, owns not just your present reality, but also your future potential.
So, who owns your life? Do you have the title deeds? Or have you placed ownership of your present reality, and your future potential, in the hands of someone else? You need to know - no, scratch that, you must know - because every part of who you are quite literally depends on it.
When you don't own your life, you don't live in your reality.
If someone else owns your life, they set the paths you follow, they shape your choices, they open and close your options. The reality you reside in is not your own. When you do not have ownership of your life, you end up living someone else's definition of reality - someone else's interpretation of who you are and what your life should be. And living that way always ends badly.
You see, at your core is an essence that cries out to be heard, and to shape the picture evolving on the canvas of your life. That essence - your soul - knows the reality, both in the present and in the future - that you want - that you need - the reality that you were made to live. And, when your soul finds itself imprisoned in an interpretation of that reality - an interpretation created and imposed on you by others, it fights for its freedom. It fights tirelessly and violently. It urges you to take hold of the reality that you were made for - the reality that fits your soul perfectly. And the only way you can step into that reality is if you are the owner of your life.
When you don't own your life, you become a victim.
In his poem, Invictus, William Ernest Henley wrote "I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul." Those are powerful, life-changing, words.
Nelson Mandela recognised the power those words hold. As he endured, day after day, week after week, year after year, locked in a reality on Robben Island that few of us would be able to survive for even an hour, Mandela held onto those lines that Henley penned, and resolved to be the master of his fate, the captain of his soul. Trapped in a system determined to take control of his life, Mandela refused to relinquish ownership. He refused to become a victim.
Like Mandela, and the concentration camp prisoners described in Frankl's incredible book, 'Man's Search for Meaning', and many more examples besides, in spite of everything you must endure, you, too, must resolve never to relinquish ownership of your life; never to become a victim. You must always remain the master of your fate, the captain of your soul.
When you don't own your life, you are not responsible.
Even though we may not recognise it, and even though we certainly wouldn't admit it, living in someone else's interpretation of our reality can feel quite comfortable. Because, with ownership comes responsibility. Responsibility for the decisions we make. And responsibility for the outcomes that follow those decisions.
Therefore, without ownership, you cannot be held responsible for the way your life plays out, right? No. You can be held responsible. In fact, you are responsible. You are responsible for each and every choice you make, even when those choices don't feel like choices at all.
The decision to screw over a colleague to save your own job, or to pursue a career that sucks the life out of you because it's all that you know, or to turn a blind eye at the wrongdoing and injustice in your community because of the backlash you'd face if you spoke out, for example, may all feel like situations where there was no choice - where there was only one decision - one option - available to you. But here's the thing: you always have a choice. And you always have more choices than you think you have.
Sure, you may feel backed into a corner, all out of options, trapped in this life constructed for you by other people. You may feel like you have no choice other than to suck it up and carry on. But buying into that - accepting that interpretation of the life you were made for - is a choice - a choice to allow someone else to own your life. And, just as giving up ownership was a choice, so is taking it back.
Take ownership of your present reality and unlock your future potential.
When you don't own your life, you become trapped in someone else's version of reality - a reality in which you are a victim, without responsibility, and into which your life doesn't, and was never meant to, fit.
So, if someone else owns your life, reclaim it. And, if you already own your life, hold onto it. But, ownership comes at a price. And that price is acceptance - acceptance of the reality of your current life. You see, if you choose to hide from your present reality - to deny it - you will always be a slave in your own story.
But, if you accept and acknowledge the reality of your current circumstances, you reclaim ownership of your life - you give yourself options, you open up your horizons, you cast aside the mantle of victim, you embrace your responsibility and you open the door to your future potential. When you reclaim ownership of your life, you become the master of your fate, the captain of your soul, the hero you were always meant to be.