When I was in the 7th grade, I was told by one of my close girlfriends about a book she read that stated, “Happiness is a choice, as much as suffering is a choice.” I initially reacted with offense. By that time in my life, I’ve already gone through such brutal bullying and painful experiences that a child shouldn’t go through.
The idea that I chose the suffering I endured, didn’t sit well with me. And as I grew older, I began to realize these words actually were very wise.
In this article, I will explain how choice is incredibly powerful. And how it plays a vital role in your successes or failures.
Choice: Who You Are Today
Who we are today, is a direct result of all the choices we’ve made. There’s that quote: “Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% is how you react to it.” -Tony Robbins
As obvious as this may seem to some, it’s only very true to those who have reached the “other side”. Their bliss point. Their peace. They are able to look back in hindsight with pleasure because they are in a very decent spot in their lives.
But for most people, it’s truly hard to submit to the idea we play a role in any suffering at all. Because who would choose to suffer?
Life Is Happening For You, Not To You
This is the one piece of advice I wish I took advantage of earlier in life. When you are suffering, you are focused directly on the pain happening. You aren’t concerned about how or why it got there—your focus is totally and completely on the immediate pain. And the desire to relieve it.
Constant and consistent pain deranges our views of ourselves. We begin to adopt self-defeating opinions, and turning them into fact through our attitudes and choices.
I will always stress the importance of making self-empowering choices because this is how we develop empowerment. Empowerment requires courage. Empowerment is not an easy road.
Empowerment is not something you find or buy. Empowerment already exists within you…but you may be experiencing blockages from actualizing it and owning it. Every day we are developing a closer—or further—relationship to empowerment.
Happening FOR You
There is power in the perspective you choose. When you perceive life happening for you, you take every experience as a learning lesson. Either to help you grow or reinforce certain beliefs you already have.
But when you perceive life happening to you, everything is personalized. A deep attack. And it’s usually the gateway to self-victimization.
When we entangle ourselves only as victims, we allow ourselves to define ourselves with a strict and claustrophobic label. We may have been victims in a particular moment, but we are not victims each and every day after.
Choice & Self-Sabotage
Self-Sabotage is a very big part of why most people suffer. When we make choices based on habits or thought-patterns adopted from others who do not serve our highest good, we exist in an invisible prison. A prison made of the result of choices; choices that aren’t truly our own—but choices that another person has influenced us to make.
We become slaves to another person’s bidding. We live out the lives, they expected us to live (knowingly or unknowingly), because of a word they said. An action they’ve done.
We self-sabotage when we chose to stay with a partner who disrespects and abuses us. We self-sabotage when we choose to not hold others accountable for their actions. We self-sabotage when we choose to hurt or poison ourselves, poison our bodies, hoping it will take away the deeper pains inside.
Choice: The Power of Words
Do you ever find it interesting, how someone can say one remark, and it makes a long-lasting impression on us? When it’s good, we celebrate and cherish it, we are grateful, and the days ahead look really good. But when it’s bad—especially hurtful—we may end up obsessing for days…sometimes weeks, or sadly, even years.
Sometimes it’s so hurtful, we begin to fetishize our pain. We carry it with us, every day, and begin to identify ourselves to that pain.
Some people get so addicted to their pain, fetishizing it, they know no other way. They define themselves, as their pain.
If another’s words can have immense power on us…so can your own self-talk.
Choice & Your Self-Talk
It is in your best self-interest to choose a lighter, gentler, and more considerate way to speak to yourself. Be more loving, to YOU.
To a degree or another, we all have a voice within us that shares negative views. It sounds like “You’re not pretty enough”; “You don’t deserve him”; “He drives a better car”; “He gets all the girls”; etc.
Shockingly enough, we all experience that—from our own selves! I once believed that it was imperative to conquer and get rid of this voice, forever. But no…that’s not the point.
Instead, mindfully observe these thoughts for what they are: a thought. Your brain does its intended job of thinking: both good and bad. That’s what makes your brain whole, and complete.
The point is to decide which thoughts you will associate and put action behind. “Where your attention goes, energy flows.”
And if you remember from vibes, the more energy you have, the stronger the frequency. The stronger the frequency something has, the more power it has to change the world—especially your direct world around you.
Your Thoughts Are NOT Your Actions, The Actions You Choose: Is Who You Are
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, who we are today is the result of actions taken in the past.
I will constantly recommend exploring the daily commitment of consistent meditation. Because through meditation, we can become more aware of how our own individual minds work. And start being more prepared when we notice certain thought patterns arise.
This is how we free ourselves.
I want you to always remember: it’s okay to have a plethora of thoughts. I’ve had some pretty not so pleasant thoughts before, or thoughts that would go against every part of my character. The only thing which matters is the thoughts we put action towards.
And that ladies and gentleman: is a CHOICE.
Every day, we have a choice to make. It’s not that we are always prepared and ready for it. But it is about what we choose to do.
When I look back at my younger years, being bullied, targeted, and attacked I wish I chose to not take that pain, out on myself. I wish I chose more gentleness and forgiveness. I wish I had the courage to not allow myself to stay compliant with certain people who I attached to…because I was afraid of standing proud on my own.
Hindsight is always 20/20. I love where I am now. It wasn’t always an easy journey. And I see more than ever, all of these experiences only gave depth to my story. Much more compassion and an ability to help others. My kindness today doesn’t come from weakness, but a deep pride in knowing what I had survived.
I find pieces of my younger self, in others who are going through or went through the same struggles as me.
Thank you for allowing me to share this with you today. Choose happiness, because in this brief period of a lifetime: You. Are. Worth. It.