Who do you owe?

“I wish I could say I didn’t owe anything to anyone, but the truth is I wouldn’t be standing here if it wasn’t for the courage and support of each and every one of you.” – Jack O’Neill, Stargate.

As you can see I’m a big Stargate fan! It is escapism, a bit of entertainment that doesn’t usually require much thinking. But hearing Jack O’Neill make that speech did get me thinking after all.

Of course there are the normal things we owe friends and family – small amounts of cash, favours, a bottle of wine in return for fixing a broken window – but what about the bigger picture? What about owing the people in your life in return for what you have become? Our strengths, weaknesses and individual quirks all come from somewhere, or more accurately, from someone. Each of us was made who we are by a unique combination of our family, teachers, friends, role models and so on.

Do we really know who we owe, though? It’s not only positive influences that make us who we are.

Perhaps you felt neglected as a child, or you were bullied, or you had fewer opportunities growing up – but perhaps those feelings made you stronger and gave you more willpower. Maybe you had a particularly bad or entirely absent parental figure, and you have grown up to be an amazing parent because you vowed to be better than them? So maybe that person was just playing their part in the bigger picture, all so you could become the amazing person you are today.

You see, there’s always a bigger picture. You might have had the strength to endure a bad childhood because somewhere in the future, your purpose is to save somebody else that isn’t as strong as you.

I’ve always struggled with the idea of fate. I simply don’t believe in it. The way I see it, even people who believe in fate and absolute destiny still look both ways when they cross the road! But what I do ultimately believe in is the big picture. Things have a tendency to work out, and most of the time for the best. Perhaps what might have seemed an injustice years ago was exactly what was needed for you to become who you are today.

Take five minutes out and consider all the people you have cursed, hated or blamed for things that happened to you in the past. For each of them, turn it around and see how you grew from those situations and how they shaped you today to become the person you are.

If my friends hadn’t asked me to go swimming that night in September 1991 where I became permanently paralysed, perhaps I would have never written this?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences please leave a comment below.


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