29 June, 2009

Our Choices Give us Power

How many times have you heard someone say (or, have you said), “S/he made me feel angry/upset/like I don’t matter!”?  Our humanity is thrown to always make another responsible for our feelings or what we get in life.  So, this may not be a popular thing to say, but the truth of the matter is: No one can ever make you feel any certain way.

You may now be thinking, “But when so-and-so said or did X, it made me feel Y.  I didn’t choose that.”  Yes, you did.  You choose the feeling you felt and you continue to choose it!

We need to understand that we are our own masters.  We choose where we go, what we do, the jobs at which we work, the people we talk to, the things we say, the feelings we feel, and the things we think in response to what others say.

We would like to make others responsible for all of these things and then we wouldn’t bear any responsibility in the matter.  Nor, would we be able to steer our own lives in the directions we want them to go.  In many ways, it’s much easier to sit back and just be at the affect of everything and everyone.  However, being at the affect of someone (or something) else isn’t a powerful place for us to stand.  Being at the affect of something actually removes all power from us.  If we don’t choose where we are or how we feel, then our feelings are given to us.  Acting out of a place of “no-choice”, gives us absolutely no power in the situation and no say-so as to the outcome.

“But,” you say, “I didn’t have a choice.”  Again, I’m going to assert that you did have a choice and that you always have a choice.  Let me demonstrate with an example from my life.

Doctors found in November 2007, that I had been born with a bicuspid aortic valve.  Simply put, I was born with two flaps on my valve instead of three.  At the same time, they found an aneurysm on my ascending aorta that was 9cm.  The aneurysm was life-threatening and would require a quick surgical response.  The valve, also, needed to be replaced as it was weakened and was allowing blood to flow back into my heart.  The choice I was given was to have open-heart surgery to replace the malformed valve and to repair the section of the aorta where the aneurysm was.  I chose to have the surgery. 

You might be thinking now that I had no choice in the situation.  I had every choice.  I could choose to have the surgery or I could choose to not have the surgery.  One might argue that surgery was my only choice if I wanted to live.  That may be true.  However, don’t get the likely outcome of a choice confused with the choice itself.

I chose to have a surgery where my ribcage was cut and then spread open, my heart and lungs were stopped and my body put on life support machines, my core body temperature was taken down to 15 degrees (F), and I had my valve replaced with a mechanical valve and the aneurysm repaired.  Any part of that surgery had a certain percentage chance of going wrong.  And I had some percent chance of dying on the table.

My choice to have surgery had nothing to do with the outcome of the surgery.  Arguing that I would have most likely died without the surgery is a valid argument.  Arguing that I could die during the surgery is also a valid argument.  It doesn’t matter in life if you only have one option given to you in a circumstance.  You still have a choice.  You can choose the option that is before you or you can not choose that option.  The choice is yours - - and it is a choice!  To have your life’s actions and feelings not be your choice is the most un-empowering position you could ever take.

If I live my life at the affect of others, I have no power.  I simply wait around for the next interaction so that my feelings can be given to me.  Once I have them, then I know how I feel!  On the other hand, if I choose how I’m going to feel, prior to any interaction with another, I am not swayed by the thoughts, emotions, or words of others.  Instead, I choose my own happiness.  I don’t have to wait for someone else to come along and give happiness to me.

I have a simple request with today’s blog:  Re-read this blog until the message sinks in.  Then, choose powerfully, to have what you have.  Don’t choose to be a victim and don’t choose to be at the affect of others.  Instead, make yourself responsible for choosing your own feelings and choosing your destiny.

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