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Choices...You DO Have One!

Updated on March 3, 2013

Think About Your Choices...

Many times, I hear people say, "I don't have a choice!" and each time I tell them, "Yes, you do.". People think that they don't. You "have" to pay taxes. You "have" to die. You "have" to work or go to school. I say, no. No, you don't.

When my son was small - I would tell him it was time for bed. He would say, I don't want to go. Or when we were having dinner, I would ask him to eat his food. He would complain that he "had" to eat it or go to bed at a certain time. I explained to him that these things weren't "have to" or "had to" things. He did have a choice. He didn't have to eat his dinner. He could go hungry. He didn't have to go to bed. He just couldn't stay in the living room and watch television.

As he grew older, he would complain about "having to do homework" or "going to school". I sat down with him one day and explained to him that people have choices. Every day we get up and make them. Some seem simple, some a little more thought provoking. I explained that the simple ones were things like, "What am I going to wear today?". Others were more like what to have for breakfast, lunch or snack.

Over time, he realized that as simple as it was, it was true. I found him telling his friends and girlfriends the same thing. "Quit complaining. You have a choice!" It made me proud.

One day, while talking to my father on the phone, he was complaining about his wife. She had been nagging him about one thing or another. Even she said something about not having a choice. Exhausted with the conversation, I told him that he did have choices for everything. "Not death and taxes!" was his response. Well, yes Dad, actually death and taxes are a choice too. "How?" he questioned.

"Well," I responded. "You don't have to pay taxes. You can choose not to do it. However, the consequences that are a result, sometimes aren't worth the cost. As for death, we all die. How we die can be our choice. We can die with dignity, we can go out kicking and screaming, taking people with us, or we can fight whatever obstacle is thrown our way. The end result is death, but how we live and how we die, is our choice."

A little while later, still on the phone, his wife made another comment about not having a choice. He turned to her and said, "yes, you do have one." and he proceeded to tell her what they were.

While we sometimes don't see things as being a choice we can make, if we pause for a moment, sit back and ponder it, we can see what those other options are and make the choice we want. It's not that complicated.

A friend of mine was complaining about their lot in life. Marriage, family, kids, work, bills...everything was piling up. "I don't have a choice!" was the exclamation. "Wait. Yes, you do have choices. You have control of your own life." I interjected. Once again, I went into my little pep talk, informing my friend that choices are abound. We discussed the options, possible consequences and solutions. After a few minutes, my friend had a different view of things.

I try to remind myself of this too on those occasions when I feel overwhelmed. I can choose to change things in my life. Just knowing I have a choice usually relaxes me enough to continue on. I may not like the consequences should I choose not to do something, but after all, it is my choice.


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