Today I’m going to help you understand something, it took me most of my life to learn. It’s important that you take the time to truly absorb this concept because it will be life-defining. This is going to shake your foundation, so it settles even stronger.
I’m here to tell you that, for human beings, the ability to choose is inherent to our very natures. I know some of you out there will rise to instantly disagree, but if you’ll spare me a few minutes, I promise I’ll change your mind.
Not only is choice inherent for humans, but it’s also one of our greatest superpowers. We have the choice to act with or against our natural instincts. The choice to react or not, for better or for worse. You need to truly understand the depth of this statement if you want to harness the power of it.
Choice is a Superpower?
Absolutely. Nature helps support my claim. Animals in the wild, when studied, can start to be understood and predicted. They respond to a core set of instructions and reactions handed down to them through the DNA of their parents. When their DNA says jump, they say how hi.
Take salmon for example. Every year, mature Salmon swim upstream on a long and arduous journey. When they arrive to their spawning ground, they mate, and they die. This is something that will happen to any salmon that survives to spawn. They do not have the ability to choose to act against this nature.
Humans do. Humans also have natural instincts, though few of us have a need or use for them. We just turn them off. That’s a choice. Everything is a choice, and you always have the ability to choose, even when the choices are less than palatable.
Understanding Choice as a Human
Personally, I feel that most human beings struggle with the concept of choice. Especially when faced with choices they don’t like. It leads me to wonder if they understand the true power of choices. It’s also important to understand what happens when you give that power away.
This might get a little heavy, but the only way I know how to explain this is by using examples from my own experiences. As you may or may not know, I was the victim of sexual assault and domestic violence on more than one occasion. At one point, I was “trapped” in an extremely destructive relationship with a physically, mentally, and verbally abusive individual. Note the use of quotations around the word trapped. I felt trapped, I felt like I didn’t have a choice or an escape. That limiting belief kept me “trapped” for a long time.
The day I broke free was the day that I finally understood that I can choose, in all instances, even when the choices are the best. I could choose to stick around and be abused so that I didn’t have to experience change or fear of the unknown. I could choose to leave, deal with the police, possibly losing my home and belongings, to set myself free.
Sure, neither choice was particularly good, but they were both choices. Staying in the situation was my decision as much as leaving was. It took me weeks to get comfortable with my epiphany, but once I did, there was no going back. I was making my choice.
Choice is Freedom and Power
I’m not going to tell you that life was sunshine and roses after I made the decision to get free. It wasn’t. You know what it was though? Empowering. Once I decided I was going to find my way free, because that was my choice, I acted. I started a business and planning for the eventuality.
Part of making that choice was knowing that there would likely still be consequences either way. That IS part of it, you know. Sometimes our choices don’t have silver linings, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have choices.
Heck, sometimes our choices straight-up suck, but they are still OUR CHOICES. We may have to make the decision to pay our electric bill but not eat for a week and that is a shitty place to be. Spin that coin though, because you still have that choice to make. You’re still alive, right? No one can ever tell you otherwise.
Living Life as You Choose
Being able to make choices, our own choices, keeps us in a state of control over our own existence. Even when it feels like there isn’t any. Where hope keeps the human spirit alive, a lack of freedom can kill it. The way life is, we won’t always be in situations where we feel like we’re in control. That’s why it’s so important to recognize it and take your power back.
Hooked on drugs and afraid for your life? CHOOSE to take action, because even small steps will lead you closer to your goal. Stuck in an abusive relationship and feel like there is nowhere to turn? Let that go, find your voice, and choose to reach out. Homeless, hungry, dirty, and feeling like there is no light at the end of the tunnel? Choose to believe that there is and reach for that bastard anyways.
Hold on to your inherent superpower and never turn it over to anyone. You have the right to choose in all things, regardless of the outcome. I beg you, always remember this.
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PPS: In case you missed them, here are the previous pieces in this series!
How to Reframe…
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