Choice is a powerful act in mindfulness and is the purest form of freedom. Often most of us forget that we have options in nearly all situations we find ourselves in. In this post I want to explore with you how giving yourself back choice, instead of succumbing to the feeling of obligation, is the most fulfilling way to true self-awareness.
I recently stumbled across this old article in Psychologies magazine by Edith Eger, holocaust survivor and author of her book The Choice, on how to be truly free. In this article, Edith explains how it was her choice to set herself free from her painful past that gave her true happiness. It's often our reaction to what we perceive as a negative situation that we struggle to shake off the most. This usually causes us to harbour deep-rooted feelings around that said situation and can lead us to avoid any situation that could cause us to feel that way again. But what if we decided to give ourselves the choice to feel differently or to let go? Or even to be OK in our own uncomfortableness? Just because you feel a certain way about something doesn't mean you do not have the choice to change the way it effects you. Edith tells us that we can experience our lives more fully if we accept that bad things happen and embracing it. That's some great advice.
The choice mindset isn't just about how you chose to feel. It's also about what you decide to take on. How many of us have never said no to a work colleague or a family member in fear of rejection? But we're often left feeling overwhelmed and overstretched. This unhelpful belief that people will think you're unhelpful and unkind when you do not take them up on their request is sticky for a lot of people, and it doesn't factor in your own self preservation. Next time you find yourself in this situation, think about how this will impact your mind and energy, and then make your decision from there. Saying no does not mean you are a bad person and you'd be surprised at how understanding others will be of your decision. They're human too after all!
No matter how difficult a situation is, you always have your choice. Chose to feel your emotions and bring new perspectives to a problem. Chose to say no when you do not want to do something. Chose to do nothing for a day. Chose self-compassion and self-love. I promise you it will be one of the best things you've ever done.