We each have moments in our lives where we wished we had chosen differently or are unsure of how to proceed. For me, these moments exist most of the time, in times when thoughtless words were spoken in moments of frustration and in gestures of unkindness to the people that I love. We get so busy, tired, and hyper-focused on our problems that we act out of habit or automaticity and engage in actions before recognizing our choice.
If we stopped for a moment, we might observe our tendency to make decisions based on the way we feel and the incessant thoughts running through our minds rather than from the place in our hearts that are the truest expression of who we are.
Maybe for you, that moment existed today, yesterday, or last year. Or maybe it hasn’t happened yet; perhaps it’s a decision you are contemplating but have not decided on, a fork in the road between the person you are capable of being and a decision that is easy, convenient, or safe.
This is a simple reminder that our lives are characterized by actions; that every single action or inaction made is the result of a choice.
Choices exist in the words we speak, how we express our emotions, and the kinds of people we allow into our lives. The people we let stay and the people we let go. We have choices in what we consume, how we feel, and the way we move our bodies. Choices in the purchases we make, the money we do or do not save, the activities we engage in, and the information we take in through the brightly lit screens on our telephones, computers, televisions, and games. Decisions also exist in what we choose not to do, like not finishing the degree, not quitting the job, or establishing healthy boundaries for ourselves. You can decide to quiet your voice or shout from the top of your lungs, to pause, or to constantly move from one place of busyness to the next. Maybe you routinely make the decision to treat yourself with less love and kindness than you deserve.
This is a reminder that we can choose to show up in every situation with the parts of ourselves that are calm, compassionate, honest, wise, and healthy. And on some days and in some moments you might be able to rationalize your actions even when the deepest part of yourself knows you are wrong. Maybe you’re frustrated and justified in your anger, but you still have the choice to let go of that hurt. You still have the choice to move on, to accept what is, and to forgive. You can take a step in the direction of your goals despite how difficult the journey may be, and no matter how unmotivated you feel; this is a gentle reminder that changes happen in our lives only when we choose to make them.