Empower Yourself Through Choice
Believe it or not, life is full of choices. It’s not full of have-tos and musts, as our mind would have us believe. We have choices from the moment we open our eyes to the moment we nod off to sleep. We can choose to have coffee, tea, or juice. We can choose to watch the morning news. We can choose to get on social media or check in with email as soon as we wake up. We can choose where we spend our energy any particular day. Even at our jobs, there are multiple tasks that beg for our attention. However, we get to choose what to work on first, second, and third and what we will put off until tomorrow or even next week.
In addition to these daily choices, life is full of larger-scale choices from time to time. The following questions we ask ourselves help us make some of these big choices.
- What career do I choose to pursue?
- Who do I choose to ask out or date?
- Do I choose to have a pet?
- Should my spouse and I choose to have children?
- Where should I choose to live?
- Do I choose to make time for myself every day?
The list goes on and on. Hopefully, we all know that these are choices. However, I am guilty of thinking that any items in this list are have-tos. In other words, how often have I thought I had no choice because my partner or parents wanted something different from what I wanted?
For example, when I first moved to Bloomington, I was dating a man named Paul. He wanted to move out of Bloomington and into the country. So, we left our sweet, little inexpensive rental and moved to Brown County, Indiana. It was beautiful but distant from my job. It was difficult to connect with neighbors, and I really didn’t like living there. Yet, I made no choice, or so I thought. I let Paul’s choice be my choice and my voice. Due to this, I became resentful of Paul. However, nothing was Paul’s fault. He simply mentioned his opinion. I never voiced mine and just went along with his wishes. As I later realized, it was a choice not to listen to my inner self and give voice to my desires. It was an unconscious choice to ignore my essential self—or the part of us that stores our hopes and dreams. I think many people find themselves in similar predicaments for a variety of reasons. I learned from this example that just going with the flow and putting on my happy face did not make our relationship healthy. It did quite the opposite, really. I wasn’t showing up and sharing my true self with Paul. Again, this was no fault of his; I was fully responsible for my behavior.
Over time, I have learned to speak up, voice my opinions, and make conscious choices. I can still fall into my old pattern of behavior sometimes. Therefore, this is definitely an area for growth that takes a bit of my time and attention. The lesson from my passive decision making was this: if I want to have healthy relationships with my partner, friends, colleagues, and family, I must take responsibility for my part of the conversation. In other words, my intention with any relationship is my responsibility. If I choose to ignore my essential self in order to keep everyone happy and everything simple, then I have no one to blame but myself. I learned that choices are tremendously empowering. We can choose to express how we feel at any given moment. We can choose to stop numbing our feelings by drinking or taking drugs. We can choose to ask for help if we find ourselves in unfamiliar emotional territory. The choice is ours.
The beauty of this lesson is that I get to co-create amazing relationships when I show up as my essential self and let myself be seen and heard. The first relationship that I get to co-create is the one with my essential self. What I have learned from choosing to listen to my essential self and speak its truth is that I live a more authentic life. Additionally, the better friend I am to myself, my relationships with others tend to improve as well. Perhaps, that happens because I am being the best me I can be and people appreciate that.
Consider the following questions as you work to embrace choices and allow them to empower you:
- Where in your life are you making a choice by not making a choice?
- What’s one small way you can make time to connect with your essential self this week to check in and hear its wishes?
- Can you be bold and honor that wish from your essential self? Give yourself permission. You so deserve it!
Just a reminder: I will be teaching a couple classes at Ivy Tech‒Bloomington this fall. I am super excited about this opportunity to be a part of Ivy Tech’s Center for Lifelong Learning. I hope if you live in or near Bloomington you will choose to join me.
Here is the link to learn more. Just click on "Adult Classes," and select Health, Wealth & Wellness at the top of the page, or scroll down to the section. www.ivytech.edu/bloomington/cll
I also wanted to share the book that is currently on my bedside table: Brené Brown’s newest book Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution. Those of you who have been reading my e-newsletters for a while know that I am a big fan of Brené Brown. This book picks up where Daring Greatly left off. It talks about the falls that all humans must experience whether personally or professionally. Brené discusses that it is how we choose to interact with those falls that can determine whether we stay lost in our struggle or whether we rise strong and move forward to cultivate wholeheartedness.
I find that making choices is also about focus. This quote from Steve Jobs is inspiring, "People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done." We have to be conscientious of all our choices but be proud of each one.
Lastly, here is a bit of inspiration that I received from my Mom. Thanks, Mom! This is The Black Dot story, which is simply another example of how we can make the choice about how we perceive the world and whether we choose to be grateful for any given moment. The choice is ours. Enjoy. www.ba-bamail.com/content.aspx?emailid=16684
Until next time,
Safe Space Life Coaching