Life is a matter of choices that we make every day, hopping from one stepping stone of a moment to another. Right from the time we wake up in the morning, to the time we go to bed at night. Some of these choices are so routine we never even pause to think about them. Other times, the choices that we make can be magnificently life-changing, and the decision we make can leave us with more meaningful life experiences. And this is what the power of choice is about.
How to Change Your Life With One Powerful Shift in Perspective
Over the last few months, it became clear to me that our power to change our lives for the better stems from our choices.
Admittedly, the above may seem like an obvious statement, especially when you think about those ‘big’ life events – like choosing where to live, which job to apply for, or who to partner with.
But I am talking about those seemingly small choices, the ones we are not even aware of, until and unless we pay attention to them.
These choices can be the actions we take, but they can also be choices to change our internal thinking patterns and the way we are framing situations.
Both can be equally as powerful, and one can not only trigger the other but also affect our ability to make positive choices for ourselves in each moment.
When we recognize our ability always to be able to choose –– that moment can be more powerful than any unhelpful thinking patterns. This leads you to immediate empowerment.
Self-empowerment is rooted in choice. And so when we learn to trust our ability to make those small moment-to-moment choices out of self-care and because we value ourselves, then that level of self-empowerment can transform our lives.
Making choice is a dynamic process, specific for each person and specific for each day and each moment.
There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ The only indication you have of getting it right for you is how you feel and if that choice is expressing self-love and kindness.
A friend of mine has experienced deterioration in her vision, and while awaiting an appointment with her specialist, she told me she had a choice.
She had had a tough day at work, worrying about the upcoming doctor’s appointment, and her mind went into a tailspin. She was in her flat, and at that moment, she had a choice.
My friend could either stay there and allow her mind to worry, which would have made her feel worse, or get up and go for a walk and come out to see me. She did the latter.
The result, she told me that she felt better and gained some clarity over the situation and had more energy and emotional reserve for her appointment.
My friend’s choice didn’t wipe away the problem, of course, but it showed her she had some power and control over the situation. And it’s great that she valued herself enough to act at that moment to feel better.
My friend has to make some pretty hard choices every day while being under the heaviness of grief.
She has to get out of bed and face the world, or pick herself up and go to work when she is going through such a difficult time. These choices are some of the toughest and take a great deal of strength and courage.
Some days she can get out of bed and face the day, sometimes she can’t, yet slowly she is gaining confidence in her ability to choose.
On some days, my friend needs to rest and stay in, and on other days she needs to get out and see friends. And again, the ‘best’ choice for her varies from day-to-day.
But it wasn’t the absolute choice that mattered; it was her realizing she could choose what was best for her at that moment.
These choices have not taken the distress away, but they have allowed her to get what she needs at that moment and shown self-love and self-kindness.
Sometimes we can’t always do this on our own if things are difficult. And that is when we need to seek support from others.
Asking for help and support is a choice we can make.
You see, in each moment, we all have a choice
It may be a choice to get up and go for a walk, or it could be a choice to tell someone you trust that you are struggling.
Or it could be a choice to floss your teeth when your dentist reminded you for the 100th time that you need to 🙂
Maybe you need to make a choice to address a long-held family estrangement?
Or it may be that you need to get some sleep and turn down some work in order to recharge your batteries.
These tiny choices are all different, but the overriding principle is that if they serve you in showing you value and care about your wellbeing, then they likely to be the best ones.
And these choices add up to us taking a new path and following a new direction in life, as well as increasing our self-esteem and confidence in being able to tackle anything that life may bring.
Albert Camus famously noted that “Life is a sum of all your choices.” So, what are you doing today?
Please remember that no matter what’s happening, no matter how difficult the situation is, we always have a choice.
Sit back and become aware of what the challenge is? What thoughts and feelings are you aware of right now?
Is that thought, or is that feeling based on the reality of the situation, or is it being distorted or out of proportion to the situation? What can you do to reframe it?
Can you do anything at this moment to resolve this worry or solve a situation, or ask someone to help you?
Can you do anything at this moment to let go of that feeling to help yourself feel better?
Each of these steps involves a choice. To be self-aware, to care enough about yourself to ask these questions and to have space away from those automatic reactions and patterns of thinking and behavior, which in the past have not served your best interest.
And it is often in the last step where our most important choices are made because we can see the external manifestation, the results of our decisions, which allows us a feeling of empowerment, especially vital if we cannot change a situation.
The Power of Positive Self-Talk
When I find myself worrying or experiencing challenging emotions, I do some positive self-talk. For example: “At this moment, I have two choices.”
Choice Number One: “If I sit here and continue worrying, I will feel a whole lot worse, which will only drain my batteries. And then I may not even sleep tonight, and thus I will not make anything better or solve the problem.”
Choice Number Two: “If I go out for a walk, I will feel better. Besides, I may get a fresh perspective which will give me energy for solving this problem. This is great because I may find an answer to this problem because I am creating some headspace and time for it. I shall feel proud because I have taken action to look after my wellbeing because I truly respect and care about myself.”
Actions have consequences, and actions originate in choices.
Just playing out in your mind a timeline of how a particular decision or action will play out and the likely outcomes in terms of how you feel can help you work out what the best choice for you is at that moment. And then you are more likely to choose well.
The best indicator of whether a choice is the best one for you is if you can feel it is one taken from a place of self-care.
Every time we make a choice based in our wellbeing and which shows we care about how we feel builds our self-esteem, our faith and confidence in ourselves to cope, that we can rise above worries of the mind, it reflects that we can make good decisions for ourselves and reinforces the fact that we all have inherent value and we all deserve love.
And that can immediately transform how you experience life.