I believe we always have a choice.
It’s not always easy. In fact, sometimes making a choice can feel like the hardest thing in the world.
But, when you start to explore this idea and how it relates to your life, you can see that you really do choose everything.
It’s more about how you choose to react or act in every and any situation which is presented to you.
Choices are not always what we want but are usually what we need. That’s why making a choice can be such a challenge.
The demands of our day to day lives changes over time. However, difficult decisions to make can appear at any point, so it’s all relative.
What is difficult for a child, may not be hard for an adult. (And vice versa).
Life is full of decisions. At every moment we are called to make a choice.
We choose to get out of bed. We choose to brush our teeth, get dressed, eat breakfast. We choose to walk to work instead of driving. We choose to stay home when we are sick. We choose to watch TV instead of going outside or reading a book.
These situations seem modest and trivial, but they are as important as the choice to save a family from a burning building, to move to another country, to end a relationship, or to start one.
There’s also those moments when we choose victimhood. This is one of the most poisonous environments for our minds to stay.
When we start living in a victim state we start believing that the world is conspiring against us. We become irrational and desperate to never be wrong or else we shrink even further into it and it can steadily become a self fulfilling prophecy.
It’s very difficult to see outside of this state of being, and to believe that you have a choice to be there or not.
How do I know this? Because I’ve been there. I lived in that state of being for most of my life.
If you can relate to this then you’ll know how crushing it can be, and how it ruins your life, and negatively effects the people closest to you.
I used to feel like life was just happening to me. I was only aware of all the bad that was happening. I felt like life was unfair. I believed I had no choice.
I can’t tell you what exactly brought me out of that state. In that state of being I was deeply unhappy and thinking back now it’s all a blur.
But something did bring me out of it, and was probably a combination of things, but thankfully I did decided to make a change – I decided to start looking after myself.
Soon everything in my world was my choice. I chose to think of good things, to see the beauty and joy in life. I chose how to spend my day to benefit me. I chose to not let my emotions get the better of me.
The more I did this, the more my whole life transformed.
When I realised I could choose how I feel and act in any given moment, the world seemed brighter with more opportunities. I was in the drivers seat. I didn’t have to wait for life to happen and the be dissatisfied with the outcome.
I’d started to plant useful roots; to really grow into someone who take responsibility and makes no excuses.
I’m not perfect, I’m still practising this way of being and honestly, I’ve come to accept it will be a life practise. But the more you do practise, and remind yourself of the choice you have, the more you will act on it.
When we make active, conscious choices, we are in control and taking responsibility for ourselves.
And, in every choice we hold power. The power to choose.
Think about it this way, you never have to do anything.
Bold statement, but consider…
Sometimes, it may feel like you don’t have a choice. For instance, when a parent or teacher asks you to behave a certain way or to stop doing something, and you do. Without question.
It feels like ‘I didn’t have a choice. I had to do it. I had to listen to them and obey.’
But remember, there was always that kid at school who didn’t behave. They didn’t do what was asked of them. They made a choice to ignore the request, to act differently, or to rebel.
Now, I’m not saying we should all start rebelling, disregarding other people’s needs and being loose cannons just for the sake of disruption and claiming our right to choice.
I’m just trying to illustrate that we can decide, through our thoughts, emotions, and beliefs, how to act and respond to every situation we face.
That is a choice. No one makes us do anything. Not truly.
So, we know we are constantly choosing how to react and act at all times, then how do most of us not realise this and make quality decisions?
Because we rush.
We make decisions so quickly that it’s not always obvious we are doing it.
We make so many decisions in a day, literally thousands, some so tiny, that they are hard to acknowledge, and if we did spend time thinking about each one in great depth we would hardly get anything done.
You might be thinking that this is great for things like choosing to brush your teeth, or choosing to each some fruit and veg instead of the pie, but what about hard decisions?
What about the situations which seem so dire and so horrid that you wouldn’t wish them on anyone, how do you deal with those times? How and what are we supposed to make conscious choices when we are tested and pushed into a corner?
These are the times when choosing how to act is crucial. We can all plant those deep roots of responsibility, take control and rise above challenges with grace & strength.
Again, it’s in how you choose to react. In times of great difficulty and stress, when somethings is very raw and emotional, a lot of us tend to respond in highly charged emotional ways.
We feel scared and worried or shocked and hurt, so we cry, we stamp our feet, we scream or shout, or worse we lash out with physical violence.
But, there is a better way of dealing with difficult and challenging situations.
And that’s in recognising our feelings or emotions as they happen, observing them, and noticing the physical sensations attached to them, and then letting them go.
The trick is to give yourself time to decide what to do in a way best aligned with your true needs, and to not give in to your ingrained quick automatic responses.
Take a breath. Observe the situation you’re in. Observe how it makes you feel. Realise that this is just a feeling. And let it pass.
This takes practise, it really does. So give yourself time to make it a habit and soon you’ll find that you are making conscious choices in a more automatic way in any given moment.
So, even when making a choice is hard, don’t shy away from it. Think about it. Think about how best you would want to react.
Ask yourself how best you would want to show up for yourself. Then respond in that way.
I believe that if more of us made this a practise the world would be a much calmer and peaceful place.
The more of us who take responsibility for ourselves will be able to help support others. You see, when one tree has strong roots, it supports every other tree growing around it.
Be strong, so that others may be strong too.