People say: “You always have a choice”. Do we? Let’s have a look at what it means to choose.

The other day, a colleague of mine asked me: “Do we really always have a choice?” I say: “Yes!”

She was not sure and a lot of people, disagree, get angry even. I know, it’s not easy. I realize there are things that happen in life without you having a say in it. BUT you always have a choice in how you respond to the new situation.

Having a choice does not mean, life is always easy or life always goes the way you prefer it to go. No, all it means is, you have a choice in how you react to it. Even when something awful happens, you still have a choice in whether you will let it destroy you, or whether you will make the best of the situation. You can see people bouncing back from horrible situations and other people never being able to come to terms with what is happening in their life. I am not judging, not at all, I just want to say that there is a way, there is a way you can find the strength to choose. Know there is a choice, know there is a way to feeling better again. This knowing and believing is a huge step towards actual living and feeling better and stronger again.

How can we get there?

As I’ve said, having a choice does not mean being on top of the world all the time, no. It just means you are free to choose to not wanting to stay sad, to not wanting to stay down, to not wanting to stay worried, to be anxious all the time…. Let’s have a look at how this works.

When life throws you a curveball, it’s only natural you need to catch your breath again. It’s only normal you need some time to land on your feet again. But believing you can handle it, believing this too will pass, will make all the difference in the world. When you choose to think there is a solution, you will find it. When you choose to believe there are people out there who are willing to help you, you will meet them. It’s your attitude towards the problem, towards the situation, that will decide whether you will find an answer to your problem, whether you will get out of a bad situation or not.

You always have the freedom to choose how you will perceive a challenge in life, an uncomfortable situation or a problem. This is the case for a minor disagreement, a challenge you face, as it is for a life-threatening situation.

For instance:

  • You want to lose weight or to start eating healthier, it is your choice to seek help, to find a routine that will help you, to make a plan and stick to it. Believing you will succeed will determine how you take on the challenge and also whether you will succeed or not.
  • You want to feel in good shape again. Here too, it is up to you to find ways to have a plan to start working out, to find a partner that will motivate you and hold you accountable. Again, the way you look at your challenge, your faith in succeeding will determine your result.
  • Someone is really rude to you: you can choose to engage in the argument, be rude too or you can choose to take a deep breath, let your initial feeling of hurt subside and look at that person with compassion and think: this person must really be unhappy or frustrated to lash out like that. The initial situation remains the same but you choose to react in a kind way. The result will be that the argument does not escalade and both of you will feel less hurt and a lot calmer. While it could have gone really bad with the both of you feeling really hurt and angry.
  • You lose your job: this is really hard as you suddenly feel vulnerable, lost, insecure. Here again, you’ll need some time to come to terms with it but then again, you choose. Either you wallow in self-pity, you are/stay angry with your former boss, with society, with all things outside of you. Feeling this way, you won’t see any opportunities to find a new job as you are still feeling as the victim of the situation. When on the other hand, you decide that it is what it is, and that it is up to you to take your life back into your own hands, you’ll be looking at jobs in a completely different way. You will look at the job adds ‘knowing’ there is something out there for you. You now will find a job because you choose to believe you can find one.
  • You get sick. Nobody wants to be ill, nobody chooses to become ill and yet it happens, every day. Here again. The way you look upon your illness, the way you deal with what is going on, will determine how you will feel during your illness. It doesn’t mean it will be easy, it doesn’t mean you won’t have days where you feel down. It means that you choose to look at what is still possible, at what you can still enjoy doing, instead of only looking at the negative side of your illness. This will make a world of difference to how you are feeling and to the healing process.
  • You lose someone very dear to you. Of course, you feel sad, you feel alone, lost, confused and you need to grieve. But then after a while, you choose. You go out into the world again, you trust that you’ll meet nice people, that you’ll find activities in which you feel included, you look for like-minded people so that you can enjoy life again. Here again, it is your choice, you choose how you want to live the rest of your life, and that attitude will determine whether you’ll feel happy again or whether you will stay isolated and alone.

You can look at any situation in life, from a small challenge you set for yourself, to a huge throw back in life, and decide how you will handle it. It will never be easy! I am not judging anyone and I respect everyone’s decision on how they handle things. All I wanted to bring forward here is that you do have a choice. It can mean the difference between success and failure, between despair and finding help. It can mean the difference between feeling beaten and feeling you can handle it. That is why I felt it is really worth taking a look at the fact that you do have a say in it. You do have a choice in how you are feeling in life. In the end, we all like to feel able, we all like to feel we have a choice, we all like to feel good in life.

I am sending love and strength to all of you who are facing tough situations right now. Have faith. Believe there is someone out there that can help you, that can be there for you. Reach out, you are not alone.

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