I have a real thing about people’s language when it comes to choice. I’m tired of hearing “I didn’t have a choice” or “It was the only choice I had” used as an excuse, a justification for decisions taken without responsibility or courage. The truth is, there are exceptionally few situations where we have no choice. I’m lucky enough to say I don’t believe I’ve ever encountered such a situation as an adult. Sure, I’ve faced situations where it felt like I had a tough choice or an even tougher choice, but there was still a choice.
Taking responsibility for our choices is critical to moving forward and letting go of things that hold us back. I recall being told at a personal development event that I had chosen my parents. I was furious! What a ridiculous suggestion it seemed to me at the time. However, as I pondered this statement, I realised that if I took ownership for this choice, it put me in control of what I did about it; choice on how much interaction I had with my parents, what boundaries I could put in place, whether or not I continued to choose to have them in my life. In that moment, when I took ownership and responsibility for this choice, I grew up and took charge of a very unhealthy relationship in my life. I chose to change that relationship and the impact it had on my well-being.
It was a turning point for me which allowed me to see choices in a new light. I embrace choice with a real level of anticipation and excitement now, knowing it is up to me. Tough choices are always going to be part of our lives, but we can choose how we react to them. I know that I have a physical condition that has certain implications. Having this condition was not my choice. How I accommodate it, how I challenge it, how I work with it and around it – those are my choices. And each new aspect of my condition brings new choices that I’m ready to own in the same way.
Which choices are you still allowing someone else to own for you? How might it feel to be in control of the outcome, to decide how much it influences or impacts your life? Start with a SMALL step – something that you know you regularly blame someone else for, and get to grips with your own ability to do something about it.
What choice will you take ownership of today?