What happened to you?

Life happens
Whatever, no worries
Take life as it comes
Don't sweat the small stuff
Let it be

These are outlooks on life that are free of getting defined by what happened to us. It's rare to be so free and vastly allowing. We typically identify with some of what happens in our lives. We find particular experiences so captivating that we declare "I am this thing that happened to me". We make a big deal out of it and get dealt with accordingly.

As we get better at finding freedom and meaning, we become "connoisseurs of captivity". We develop a refined taste for the different ways we can trap, limit and impede ourselves. We discern how limiting different identities are. We see how getting captivated can have harmful effects on our personal freedom. We fall for the trap we set by identifying with what happened to us. Here are some of the ways we define ourselves in limiting ways:
I'm a chip off the old block. I'm a carbon copy of one of my parents. It's in my genes to be this way. I can't be different without altering my chromosomes. I'm defined by what I inherited from by relatives.

I'm in recovery from past horrors. I'm a survivor of how I got abused. I'm damaged by what happened to me. I can't act like it didn't happen to me. I'm defined by how I've been previously mistreated.

I'm committed to get this accomplished. Count on me to do what I've done before. Consider me to be as reliable as a good tool. I'm defined by what I've done before. I am my job.

I'm going to fix things so it does not happened again. I'm opposed to more occurrences and the harm it does. I'm about confronting, fixing and battling the factors that maintain the problem. I'm defined by need to make a change.
Each of these ways we get captivated limit ourselves unnecessarily. They play into the perpetuation of problems and unintended consequences. They fall short of creating experiences of freedom and meaning. They necessitate further anxieties, reactions, entanglements and regrets. They fail to find balance between caring about something meaningful to us and feeling free of the captivation.

We can get into just as much trouble going to the opposite extreme. We can become indifferent, cynical, and alienated. We discern lots of insanity in our midst without finding any exits. We can take what happened to us to make sure that nothing happens to us again. We see how to not get caught up in meaningless escapades without ever finding new opportunities. We get sidelined by our awareness of a pervasive lack of freedom without creating significant experiences of liberation for ourselves.

When we successfully find freedom and meaning, we take what happened to us as a launch pad for our next adventure. We avoid a repeat of what happened while going for a refinement, renewal or inspired realization. We profit from the past while investing in the future. We start over with our valuable experiences in the bank.

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