The Blessing and Curse of Having a Choice

To-say-you-have-no-choice-is-to-relieve-yourself-of-responsibilityThis is good, that is bad, he is right, she is wrong, we know better, they make mistakes. Where is the truth?

We are all so immersed in our own view of the world that we forget one simple thing: We have a choice! A choice of what to believe, of which side to take, of how to define what is true for us.

We are so busy judging others, playing the victim, complaining about things we think we cannot control, that we forget about the one thing which always is within our grasp: Choosing our attitudes towards life, choosing who we want to be and what we want to stand for. 

I’m sometimes wondering if we forget we have a choice or we choose to forget. Lately I started thinking it’s the latter, rather than the former. Choice is a blessing, but it can be a curse as well. Choice comes with responsibility and often we don’t like what that implies.

Isn’t it somehow easier to complain about your job and your boss and to use that as an excuse for always being tired and angry at everybody, rather than just quitting and embracing the risk of not knowing what to do next and financial uncertainty that comes with that?

Isn’t it more comfortable to complain about others’ annoying you instead of accepting that you always have a choice of letting yourself be or not be annoyed?

Isn’t it easier to find excuses for not living your dreams and let words like “must”, “have to”, “obligation” or “too late” rule your life instead of accepting that you are free to take a different path if you’re ready to leave that comfort zone and embrace the fear of the unknown?

Isn’t it easier to feel victimised and use that as a justification for your own aggression, instead of choosing to become the owner of your life and to get out of toxic relationships, step away from hurtful people or stand up for yourself with calm and dignity when you need to?

I believe that we all have the potential to be angels and demons, beauties and beasts. Both sides of the coin, light and darkness, are in us.

I like to think of myself as a good person and I’m in a hurry to label and judge those who don’t act kindly towards me, as if they were somehow bad. But there is one thing I forget. It is my choice to act good. It is their choice not to access the goodness in them.

We are all different for many reasons, but one of the most potent ones are our choices. 

I can be aggressive, I can be arrogant, I can be judgemental, critical, pessimistic, sad, cynical, cruel. I can be all those things. I have what it takes, believe me. I just choose not to.

Then, for a long time, I chose to forget that I had made those choices and found myself thinking I’m just a wonderful person who could never hurt anybody in her life. I was beyond reproach because that’s just who I am. When things went wrong, others were to blame, because they were flawed.

Lately I started realising more and more that I was kidding myself when I created this picture-perfect image of me. I often surprise myself doing or thinking things which don’t fit that idealised image I had created. I realise my not-so-perfect side comes out more often than I’d like it to and, whenever that happens, I still tend to blame it on someone else, instead of embracing it in myself.

Accepting that everything I think and everything I do is the direct result of a choice I made has taken me to a whole new level of responsibility in my life.

I’m now having a real hard time finding excuses and lying to myself has become almost impossible. I no longer wait for anybody to save me, to live my life for me, I no longer hope that if “this” or “that” happens I will finally be happy. Accepting that I always have a choice has made it hard to trick myself into postponing my own happiness, in letting myself be run by fear, in finding excuses for not living to my fullest potential.

I still procrastinate, get annoyed, judge and do all the other stuff I did when I thought I was a good person who sometimes had bad things happen to her. I just no longer believe there is anybody out there deciding anything for me. I’m, for better or worse, the result of my own choices. And, despite sometimes being incredibly annoying, this belief is, to me, the most liberating thing in the whole world.

It has completely transformed my life. It has made me try things I never thought I could do, step out of dead-end relationships I never thought I could live without, embrace my vocation, open up to the world and to myself and rediscover that life is truly magical if I choose to see the magic.

When I finally embraced my freedom to choose I was finally ready to accept my inherent imperfection. I stopped projecting my own demons onto others and learnt how to make friends with my flaws. I am learning to love my darker side, to respect it, to learn from it and to let it know that I always have a choice. I have a choice to live out the good in me with the knowledge that, without the darkness, I would probably be incapable of fully appreciating the light.

I am made of contrasts. I get to choose who I am every day. And for that I am forever grateful.

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