Let’s talk today about choice and the power to choose. Bare with me this will be long. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a talker!
But first, let’s start with the things I have *NO* choice over…
- Being born
- My skin color
- My genetics
- How others act
- My height
- My blood disorder
- Or any health issue that is not due to your own doing
- My depression
- My parents
- When or How I die (unless I choose do so before my time).
Here are things I *DO* have control and a choice over
- How I deal with people and who I hang around
- Getting help with my depression
- Taking required medications for health issues
- Not giving up on myself (or weight) even when I’m not losing like I would like
- Being honest with myself
- Being happy (I know this is a catch 22 because sometimes you have to deal with the depression first to be happy, but again I can choose to do things that help make me happy).
- Taking control of my life
- Not feeling sorry for myself
- Not listening to what others say to beat me down
- Knowing I HAVE choices!
I feel like as a society sometimes we are so focused on correcting other people AND the act of entitlement that we forget our own personal roles in our own lives! Now, I am not saying that things don’t happen out of our control. There are most definitely things that happen that we do not choose to happen, BUT things that happen, are NOT the issue. It’s HOW we deal with what happens that is the issue!
Now I know a lot of you probably will not agree with me on a few of these things I am going to touch on and that’s okay. Years ago (heck probably even months ago) some of these I would of fought someone over myself. But hear me out….
One of the biggest things we hear about often these days is bullying. It’s the point that people are not even sure of it’s meaning anymore. Look! I don’t like bullies like the majority of the world. I like many, I have been personally made fun of, harassed, etc. Honestly, as a child it DOES hurt. I will NOT take that away from anyone. I feel like this is a hard thing for children to overcome. Heck! It’s even hard for us adults! But one of the skills we posses as adults MUCH better than we did as a child is learning “how to not let words hurt”!
I know many of you are probably thinking, “But everyone says words hurt”. Yes, they can and DO. Yeah, I know I just contradicted myself. It’s just like burning oneself, it hurts too, but you can choose to take care of the wound and do things that promote healing OR you can ignore it, not treat it and the wound will get worse. Bullying works the same way. See above, one of the things I said was we cannot choose how others act. I have ZERO control over others. I can tell someone until I blue in the face that their words are wrong but it doesn’t mean it will cause real change in that person.
This doesn’t mean we still shouldn’t educate people on how to be respectful to others. Or even explain how we act does have an impact on others. BUT, what we can do is know that we hold the cards to not let those words continuously affect us, after the initial sting. Bullies are everywhere. This is just the facts of life. But how much power would a bully have if we chose to not give their words power? NONE! If everyone did this I can bet you there would be FAR less bullies. The reason those words have SO much power is because deep down somewhere inside we sort of believe it. Sometimes we are just offended that someone could say something mean. But really think about it for a minute. What makes a word mean, bad, rude, etc? These things are negative because we decided they were negative. Just like we decide which words are positive.
Look at how one word could be used for one thing in one culture and another somewhere else. It’s because our human mind… WE choose to give words power. Whether to be positive OR negative. IT’S A CHOICE! You choose to take those words and believe them. And yes, I do realize that this WILL happen when people don’t know they have a choice! It may even feel like at the time they don’t have one because they are not aware of the choice. BUT it doesn’t mean there wasn’t a choice. I also know sometimes people will do drastic things when they see you won’t do what they want you to. But don’t choose FEAR.
Abuse works the same way. Years ago, I got VERY, VERY, VERY, I mean LIVIDLY upset, with someone who told me that mental abuse wasn’t real. Her words stuck with me for a LONG time. Because I had been mentally abused my whole life. I could NOT understand how she could think this way especially being a woman. She tried to clarify what she meant by explaining that the act of mental abuse was real in itself just like physical abuse. However, no one can physically MAKE you *feel* anything. People can say things that may spark an initial feeling but after that moment we then make the choice to believe it, to accept it, and to keep feeling it. It then no longer becomes something someone made us do but something we now are choosing.
Now, I didn’t understand this. My thought process was like, “if someone hits me I feel pain. I can’t help that”. We know this is a cause and effect reaction from my nerves to my brain. I have zero control over that. But what I didn’t understand was like physical pain, she didn’t mean that no one feels that immediate pain. What she meant was that we choose to stay in pain. Follow me here. This goes back to my analogy of taking care of a wound. You choose to heal or not.
This is what we do in abuse. The ONLY exception to the rule is children who haven’t been taught this *magical* healing power. See, when a parent is your abuser, they are not going to give you the tools to handle the pain they are giving. Why would they? They wouldn’t have power over you if you know that you could choose to be hurt or not. They would know that no matter what they do to your physical body they cannot take your spirit. They can’t take the YOU inside. Only YOU have the power to allow that.
I wish more adults could see this and teach it. I wish more kids could know that instead of having to tell a teacher and punish someone in hopes this would make an action stop (and I’m not saying someone shouldn’t be punished for being rude or doing unjustified behavior) but that this punishment isn’t the CURE to one’s pain. Because we all know that even when someone gets punished for the pain they initially inflicted we still feel it until after if we choose to no longer hold onto it. This is why forgiveness is also such a vital role in our lives.
I use to tell people years ago that forgiveness is not saying, “this is okay”. It’s saying “I will not let your actions hurt me any more… I am in control”. You are saying that YOU are taking your power BACK! They can’t have it. You are not condoning an action. Sometimes, maybe have a better understanding of the action or sometimes you are just not allowing yourself to dwell on the action. BUT you always have a choice. We may not always like our choices but we ALWAYS have a choice.
I always kind of giggle when I hear weight loss stories and the person says, “I tried everything”. I always think to myself, “did you really”.? How honest were you in that statement? How long did you try? Did you do *everything* to a T? Did you cheat? Did you give up? Did you even believe you could do it? OR did you seek real help when you couldn’t figure it out? If your answer is no to any of these questions then you did NOT do EVERYTHING!
People have asked me time and time again if I am going to do weight loss surgery (which btw does seem to be a bit of a rude comment, but again, I can choose to not be offended so I will choose that). I will say I can’t yet. Because I will be a 100% honest, while I know a 100% my weight gain is not a 100% my fault. My lack of effort to get it off IS. I have yet, to really to FORCE myself to really get to the surface and make decisions in my life that will ultimately give me the goals I want. If at anytime I feel I need the AIDE of weight loss surgery to get me to my goals than I will do so if I am a good candidate without a question.
But I know I haven’t done everything so far, Some days, I chose pizza. Some days I chose not to work out, some days I chose not to weigh in, or follow up with my trainer. I made conscientious efforts to NOT do something, but yet, get upset when I don’t get what I want. I also do believe in finding what DOES work for you. But… You also have to be willing to give and take here. You can’t always have your cake and eat it too. At some point you do have to ask yourself “How bad do I want this?” “How far am I willing to go to get it?” Only YOU can answer that question.
Life too is no different. Don’t like your job, Change it. Don’t like how your spouse treats you, change it (By that I mean see what things YOU can do to make things better, talk to your spouse, find out what could be the issue but don’t do nothing is the key). Sometimes we have to make difficult decisions to get the things we want. Sometimes we have to say no, sometimes we have to be willing to take a risk. Sometimes we have to just simply believe in ourselves and KNOW our own worth. NO ONE CAN TAKE AWAY YOUR WORTH.
Don’t let ANYONE tell you different. Don’t allow abuse. If someone hits you, leave. I know it doesn’t seem that simple but it is. I know I lived it. I don’t care if it’s just the clothes on your back and you have a baby on the boob. I have been there done that and wore a sling nursing that baby in a little tiny room with two other babies I had and yet sadly, I still went back and stayed far too long. I made a choice to accept abuse and to accept less for myself. I know some choices don’t really feel like choices. But you have the power to have more, you just have to be willing to try. It won’t always happen right away. Sometimes it takes time. I know it’s hard to keep faith. Believe me, I Know… But you must. You have to. IF you choose you!
Just understand that life isn’t what happens to you, Life is what you do with the things that happen to you. We all can be handed shitty cards but it doesn’t mean we have to accept a shitty life!