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Choice is a very sensitive word. Most of the people I meet, start at the point – “ do I even have any choice?” Or “ I have no choice”.
Some classic examples are –
“ I hate my job but I have no choice.”
“ I am stuck in an abusive relationship but I have no choice”
“ I am ridiculed and laughed by my friends but I have no choice.”
People rant about it , feel victimized and stuck. every time I come across such statement, I feel immense compassion and hence this write up!
Think about it . Do we really have NO CHOICE?
Yes, agree , for number of things we have no choice like which family we are born into, who our parents are, our culture. We have no choice , how the weather will be ? Or whether we will be stuck ? in a traffic jam?
But we absolutely have a choice on how we want to respond to “no- choices.” Voila!! So we do have choices even in situation we feel, we have none.
How I respond when I am stuck in traffic jam , by continuously cursing the traffic or by taking some deep breaths and see what can be done – if someone is waiting , I can probably call them and let them know about being late.
My response is my choice and it decides my subsequent feelings , emotions not just in that situation but also the future course of my life.
What am I choosing to be ?
Victor Frankl in Man’s search for meaning mentioned –between stimulus and response , there’s a space and in that space lies the key to freedom and growth.
For instance, if I am disturbed because of someone’s rude behavior, I may choose to give it back ( the rudeness and insult) or choose to come from a space of compassion. I am not advocating , abandoning oneself but I have a choice to respond assertively and true to one’s values. The choice here is known as mature choice or originating from the space of higher self and is not based solely on emotions and impulses.
“I have no choice” is simply untrue. Even not making a choice is still a choice. In that case my stance is – I choose not to choose. This could be for many reasons. Change seems to frighten me and I don’t want to take that responsibility. Sometimes , my whole energy gets invested in fighting against the waves whereas in reality I could have channelized that energy in changing my course. This is not being coward but being resourceful with my options. Even staying “ undecided” is a choice.
Also” no choice “ is loosely used term when we don’t get to choose the most ideal and comfortable choice. But choices that are not the most comfortable or ideal are choices too ! When a wife continues to stay in an abusive marriage ( either for her children’s sake, finances or she develops psychological alliance towards her abuser), it’s a choice.
This awareness that we have control and we have a choice is liberating and empowering. In a moment of this perspective shift, I feel like a bird where options are endless…..
Choose to choose. The choice may not be a perfect choice. But in given circumstances and the resources one may have, each choice is best! This needs to be remembered at all times because it helps us to focus on what we can do and feel like a warrior and not like a victim.
What are the choices you feel
don’t have ?
List the choices (even if they seem bizarre, not doable)
Re – read the list and introspect. (Although these may not be the ideal option or the option you want but it’s still an option)