Life can be such a beautiful thing unless you've been surrounded, handcuffed and "taken down" by your fears and defenses.
It's easy to feel trapped and manacled by your day to day existence; you may have even had the experience of someone or something seeming to hold you hostage, emotionally speaking. And after living like that for even a short while, you may discover that you are angry, resentful and bitter.
Pretty soon you may find yourself "locked in" a negative mindset and the universe seems to become a place of paucity. It appears that there is not enough love, money or resources to go around and there is no way out. The resulting frustration, sadness and anxiety can be unbearable.
"Me In A Prison Jumpsuit? But Orange Isn't My Color."
You see, we human beings often build emotional/psychological jails for ourselves, ostensibly for the purpose of "protective custody" to guard against disappointment and pain. But as so often happens our best-laid plans have unintended consequences, such that we become ensnared and enslaved by our own cunning.
We very cleverly and carefully construct our prisons out of fear, sadness, anger, stubbornness, bigotry, sexism and denial. We often call these building materials by other names: self-sacrifice, martyrdom, righteousness, patriotism, love, the desire to adhere to traditional values and self-preservation.
We spend incredible amounts of time constructing our jails and we give intense scrutiny to the tensile strength of the fears and defenses that make up the bars that surround the rooms in which we imprison ourselves. We very meticulously lay out the floor plans to our cells such that the containment areas that house us are small and cramped, thus restricting our imagination and courage. We even thoughtfully construct the walls of our prisons ensuring that they are devoid of windows, making it impossible to see anything outside our negative opinions, preset notions and beliefs.
In fact we spend so much time and energy making sure that we are well and truly incarcerated, that we forget that we put a door in our cell, and that there is a lock in the door, and that we have the key to the lock, jangling in our pockets. We forget that as we made the jail in the first place, we are the only ones who can secure our release.
I'm Ready To Escape, So Do I Have To Tunnel My Way Out, Or Are We Talking A Cake With A File In It?
You can't just run away I'm afraid, because you see everywhere you go, there you are! You can, however, do one very simple thing that will both "commute your sentence" and have a profound effect on the rest of your life. And, it's as easy as this, if you change your mind the rest of your life will change itself.
Unpleasant and sometimes horrible things can and will happen to all of us. But no matter how much it hurts, you always have the choice to change your mind as to whether or not you allow your pain and frustration to define you or to inspire you. The former will leave you trapped behind bars and the latter will very quickly set you free.
Good News, You Qualify For The Early Release Program!
I'm here to remind you that you don't have to stay in "jail" because you really do have the "key" to get out. It takes a great deal of self-awareness and courage for any of us to leave our restrictive yet familiar fortresses and to face life's challenges while at the same time maintaining our integrity and authenticity. However, I promise, that if you are willing to live life outside the "prison system" the rewards are endless, ever expanding and very fulfilling.
To learn more about a whole person approach to mental health and wellness, visit me at http://www.drcochran.org
I do hope you choose to take the risk. See you on the other side of the wall!
HuffPost Lifestyle is a daily newsletter that will make you happier and healthier — one email at a time. Learn more