How often have you said to yourself when you feel backed in to a corner between the devil and the deep blue sea, “I don’t have any other choice. I must do …”? At that moment in time you may feel like you truly had only one narrow path of escape from a situation that may have been threatening or frightening to you. I know that when I say to myself that I have no choice what I really mean is that I don’t really like the other choice(s) I see; it is a matter of the lesser of the evils. What I know is that I always have more than one choice, and every choice I make is important.
How can you make choices that empower and support you to create the life you want? As a beginning point, recognize that every choice you make is important, not just the big ones like what career you choose, who you marry, what you wear to that special occasion. Even small choices like whether to eat a salad or a hamburger, whether to buy that hot red dress or save the money, whether to spend time with friends or hibernate, impact our life. Our life is the sum total of our choices.
How do you make choices for yourself? How much influence do your friends, your co-workers, your spouse/partner, your supervisor, your mother have over your choices? Think back to an important choice point in your life and remember the process you went through to make that decision. Was it really your willing choice or did you allow others to nudge you in a direction a bit different than you may have desired? Now, think about some of your daily choices at home and at work. Who or what influences those choices? Do you make most of them freely or are you more influenced by what someone else may want than yourself? If you answered in both cases that you made your choices freely considering your personal desires and those of others as well, then no need for you to read further. Good work. If not, may I offer you some suggestions?
Allowing others to overly influence our choices gives them the power over our life. We all have responsibilities to other people and our first responsibility is to yourself. Your purpose here on this planet is to be who you truly are and our life is a continual graduate program in being authentic. Begin with the smaller choices and the next time you feel pressured to abdicate what you want, ask yourself what is the worst thing that would happen if I stayed true to my choice? What is the best thing that could happen if I stayed true to my choice? How will I feel in an hour, a day, two weeks from now if I give in? How will I feel if I stand strong? And if you decide that the path for you is to accommodate in this situation, acknowledge for yourself that you have made a choice to do that and move forward from a place of power rather than a place of victim hood.
And the biggest secret of all is that there are no wrong choices, only different outcomes. A different choice could create a different outcome; and we could not know that until we choose the other path. If we do not like the outcome, we have an opportunity to make another choice. As Deepak Chopra sys in The Book of Secrets, “We are all in the habit of looking like consumers at people, jobs, and cars, wanting best value for the money. But in reality the decisions we label as right and wrong are arbitrary….There is no right or wrong, only a series of possibilities that shift with each thought, feeling, and action that you experience.”
The next time you find yourself faced with a choice, a decision to make remember the words of Mae West, “Whenever I’m caught between two evils, I take the one I’ve never tried.” Or Robert Frost, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by And that has made all the difference.”
©Carol McKeag, Coaching for Life & Spirit