Take charge of your life and good things will happen
In the late 1990s, during a trip to France, I had a one of those experiences where art speaks to you. In the Louvre in Paris hangs a painting that managed to stand out amongst the others. In 1805, the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte commissioned Jacques Louis David to paint a glorious canvas of the event that took place at the Notre Dame Cathedral in early December of the previous year — the crowning of Napoleon as emperor and Josephine as empress. The painting became known as “The Coronation of Napoleon.”
The beauty of the painting is evident, but the back-story is what fascinates me. The painting itself shows Napoleon holding a crown high above his head, about to place it upon the head of his bride, kneeling before him. Art historians, however, say this is a revision of David’s original sketch that depicted a much different and more accurate scene. Instead of waiting patiently on his knees to be crowned by the pope, Napoleon arose, took the crown and placed it on his own head.
I’m not suggesting that you model yourself after Napoleon — he had more than a few character flaws. To be honest, though, I kind of appreciate his boldness in this instance. All too often I see people failing to take charge of their lives. They are quick to say that they want good things to happen to them, but are often slow to give more than an indifferent or half-baked attempt to make those things happen. They sometimes settle for cursory, frivolous attempts in order to say to themselves, “Well, I tried.” Has the dog in you lost its fight?
• Your lawyer or doctor hasn’t called you back as she promised she would? Call her. Still no call back? Go to her office.
•Want to exercise to lose weight, but evenings are for family time? Get up before work and work out.
Of course, sometimes even a legitimate, whole-hearted effort isn’t enough to stay motivated, stay on track, and get the results you want. When you can’t seem to get it done by yourself — when you are just plain outmatched — ask for help. Never feel bad about asking for help; the only thing to feel bad about is not truly trying.
As a psychologist, I help people identify their obstacles and understand their resistance to the choices and actions that would permit them to reach their goals. Counseling is about understanding, support and empowering you to get what you want.
Are you ready to give your goals another try? Go for it!
— Daniel Goldman, Ph. D., is a licensed psychologist. If you think you have a problem, pick up the phone and call today. You’ll feel better tomorrow.