Sometimes you don’t have a choice. Or do you?

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Choice. Life Choices. Options.

Choice. Options.

The Serenity Prayer says, “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Sometimes it doesn’t feel as if we have choices, but in truth we almost always do.

A friend of mine named Lara was laid off from her job of 15 years. She was a loyal employee and was confident her employer would reward her faithfulness with interrupted employment and an occasional thank you. So, when she was laid off, she was devastated. “How could this happen to me,” she cried, “I’ve given the company the best years of my life and this is the thanks I get.” Lara had a right to be upset. She had a right to be angry. And although she had no choice in being terminated, she did have a choice in how she handled it.

She took control of her life. She allowed herself time to be angry. Then, instead of moping around feeling sorry for herself for weeks and months, she took this seemingly bad situation and turn it into an opportunity to receive training in an area she was interested in.

She also used the unscheduled break in employment as a respite, a time for a much-needed vacation. Lara chose to work her situation to her advantage.

In a journal, identify a situation in which you feel you didn’t have a choice. Explain why you thought you didn’t have a choice. Now, go back and think about what you could have done differently. In hindsight, where they are other options he could’ve explored? Is this something you can do now?

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Making the right choices

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Life Choices. Stress.

Life Choices. Stress.

Every day we make choices about how we want to live, feel, and behave. We make choices that affect our health, our finances, our relationships, and our well-being. And every day we feel the effects of those choices. And so do the people around us. Our choices don’t exist in a vacuum.

There’s a price we pay for poor choices. Added stress, strained relationships, dysfunctional homes, incorrigible kids, unhealthy bodies, and fewer desirable opportunities are among the consequences we pay.

When we make choices, we set in motion a cosmic reaction – one thing leads to another. Sometimes the outcome is what we want, but we’re still unhappy. Sometimes we don’t get what we want, yet the outcome turns out to be the best thing for us. How do we know when we’re making the right choice?  There’s a quiet, small voice inside us that never lies or steers us in the wrong direction. The truth is that we always know right from wrong; sometimes we choose to ignore that knowledge. On occasion, we reject the right to answer because it comes from a parent, teacher, spouse, or other perceive authority figure.   There are also times when we pretended not to know what’s appropriate, because we’ve decided to do what we want to do, no matter what.

So how do we go about making the right choices? First, we get into the place of being willing to make the right choices. Take a look at some recent decisions we’ve made and ask ourselves, “Is what I’m doing working for me? What consequences am I paying in order for me to feel good in the moment?”  When our answers are honest and we are willing to see the truth, then we are ready to go to the next step: making better choices. At this juncture, we stop and listen to that intuitive voice.  Often it competes with other, louder voices, voices that justify choices that are wrong for you. But despite the battle, deep down, we always know the right answer.

One of life’s greatest gift is realizing that we have the power of choice. The idea that we can control what happens to us is liberating, yet at the same time how fully frightening. Why? Because with choice comes the responsibility. Self-esteem is about making choices for ourselves and being accountable for them.  When we shirk that responsibility, we set ourselves up to be victims.

How easy is it to see ourselves as victims. How easy is it to do whatever we want in life, and then blame someone else for the outcome. This blog is about making different choices so we can bypass the victim role.

So what choices are you making? Today I invite you to examine your thought process for making decisions.

The Gift of Choice

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I just got a call from a friend who is in a cancer support group and she shared this amazing experience with me.  One woman in her group shared that she decided to stop the chemo therapy.  The cancer had metastasized to her brain, and she made the tough choice to no longer have radiation therapy.  She decided to make her transition–on her terms and in a way that upholds her dignity.   A second woman in my friend’s group, whose cancer had also metastasized to her brain, made a different choice–the decision to try another form of therapy.  This woman made a tough choice as well–to live on her terms in a way that upholds her dignity.  Both courageous women, both with a tough choice for them to make, and both at peace with their choices.

One of the many things Esteemable Acts is about is having the courage to make tough choices, choices that are right for you.  It becomes easier to make those hard choices when we have all the necessary information at hand and when we don’t act from fear.  Fear compels us to act from a place of lack and limitation, a place of what’s missing, as opposed to a  place of what we have.  Further, what’s right for you today might not be what’s right for someone else, or what’s right for you tomorrow.  What tough choices are you making today?

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