Freedom of Choice -- Learning to Make the Right Choices

Recognizing your gift of choice is liberating. This means acknowledging that you are where you are because of your choices. This is the first step toward changing a situation with which you are not happy. Psychologically, for many people, this is a difficult concept to acknowledge: they might have to admit that they made a mistake. But it's easy to understand, intellectually. To actually acknowledge that personal choice played a big role in getting you to where you are today (I am here because I chose to be here) shifts the responsibility from circumstances, or imposers, that you previously felt were holding you captive, to you. With that knowledge and responsibility, you acquire the control you need to take action.

You ARE in Control

There are, of course, exceptions. And I won't even begin to point out how some choices might lead to the exceptions. But once the exception, the illness, the lost job, has occurred, choices have to be made. Even NOT making the choice is making a choice (it's a cowardly way ? but we all do it). If you've just been diagnosed with cancer, your choices come in the form of treatments and attitude. Surgery? Chemotherapy? Fight? Give up? Sometimes the choices don't seem like choices, or they're not great choices. But, as a cancer survivor, I was thrilled to have choices and happy to make the choices, no matter what the side effects. In fact, awareness of my gift of choice and taking responsibility for my choices (as opposed to putting the "I-don't-have-a-choice-or-I'll-die" spin on things) made the effects of my choices much easier to bear.

There's also the scenario that, as far as personal responsibility is concerned, is extremely difficult to get your head around. That scenario plays out as the direct result of your choices. The most obvious situation is that of employment satisfaction. The potential reasons for dissatisfaction are almost too numerous to list but they start with hours, salary, people, the responsibilities, etc. The choices (and don't tell me they aren't choices) are as numerous as the complaints, and range from talking to the boss to starting over somewhere else. But we're back to the first step: acknowledging that your choices got you here. Even if something is being forced on you, you can choose to either do it or do something about it. And doing something about it could include asking for a raise, asking for better hours, finding a new job, relocating, going back to school, the list is long. Your decision may require that you stop living large?or at least downsize for the time being. If things get bad enough, you will want to make that choice. Frequently, it's a matter of not WANTING to take action and make changes as opposed to not being able. Freedom lies in that distinction.

Accept Responsibility

You are where you are because of something you've chosen to do. Maybe the key to your freedom is recognizing the choices you've already made and becoming fully conscious of the reasons you made them. If you are choosing a higher standard of living over a less frustrating job, acknowledge and celebrate that your current job is perfect for maintaining your desired lifestyle. Recognize the choice for what it is and you might find more happiness in your current situation.

Accept, appreciate, and exercise your freedom to choose. Acknowledge that you are where you are because you made choices, most likely for good reasons, that led you to being there. Then you can either plan the changes you choose to make, or you can celebrate that you are where you belong, after all.

Kelly Wessel is a Certified Life Coach who helps female professionals and micropreneurs succeed in life and in their business or career by identifying and addressing the obstacles to their success.

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