How many people can you think of who have had a wonderful childhood? Who were cherished by their family and always had everything they ever needed or opportunity they ever wanted? Nobody, right? Can’t think of a soul whose upbringing fits this description, can you? Of course you don’t know anyone who was raised that way because it’s a myth. Regardless of your station at birth, life will challenge you at every level of your development. And it is supposed to. The difficulties we face in life are what build our character and test the resolve of our integrity. One must taste bitterness to appreciate and truly savor sweetness. How do you identify joy if you’ve never felt depression? Or love if you’ve never experienced rejection? These contrasts in our life experiences are a form of education that brings us clarity and helps us to distinguish our successes from our failures. Necessary and unavoidable, like it or not we are here to learn from each other. And only YOU have control of your perception of your past and vision of your future. You are responsible for your life and what you make of it. You can’t always avoid the pain, but you CAN decide how you wish to remember it and how you let it affect the choices you make from here on. Blaming others for your issues will never allow you to escape the responsibility of your actions. So why not step up, take control of your destiny, and steer your life in the direction you want … using the trauma of your past to chart a course around pitfalls you have learned do not serve you well? One must learn to navigate life much like you do a city street. If you drive blindly through a red light, propelled by your angst, you put yourself and those around you in danger. There are no safe shortcuts, but there are shorter routes for those people wise enough to reference a map. Let your past be your map to your future. Learn which one-way streets to avoid and which thoroughfares save time, and you will get where you want to go just as long as you keep moving.