Possibilities Playground Newsletter

The Choice Is Always Ours…Dammit

My mother’s voice will forever ring in my ears, “Sara, your sister can’t MAKE you mad.” Even though I was schooled at a young age about my ability to choose how I feel and I know it in the logical sense, as you may too, it can still be really annoying to accept that emotionally.

Of course I accept it easily when the circumstances are good because then I can proudly claim how awesome I am for being such a naturally happy person! That goes right out the window when things turn south and it’d be perfectly acceptable by the world in general for me to be pissed off. All of a sudden there’s almost an obligation to feel a certain way because we are justified: we have proof that others have or would do the same – there would be no one looking down on us if we chose to follow that path – it would just be so easy to become victims. Which is exactly what we are when we “give up our choice” and let others “make us feel bad.”


I know, it’s a hard pill to swallow, but you know it’s true. Sometimes it’s just really inconvenient because we’d rather blame someone else for us feeling bad and not have to face the truth of what’s happening. I so totally get it, done it a million times (at least!)

That said, I’ve got to tell you, after my horrible first date, when I chose to look for the lesson, when I chose to let myself be hurt and not put up the walls of defense, when I chose to assume that experience was something I attracted into my life just as much as he chose it for his own experience…well that was pretty darn liberating! I use the word liberating because as I moved through those choices, the feeling of being a victim to some random jerk quickly dissipated and feelings of real appreciation for the experience surfaced. (Side note: I believe thoughts always become things and just because it’s confusing or inconvenient to apply that concept, doesn’t make it any less true for me. Hence my discussion around fear of commitment.)

Okay, so if I was able to make such big-girl decisions around how I was going to feel after such an unexpected verbal attack, let’s talk about how you can do it. Whether in the face of the upcoming insanity know as “the holidays,” with the end of the business year looming around the corner, or whatever challenge you may be facing, these five steps will keep you focused on asserting your own power of choice:

Step 1: Don’t suppress any super-charged emotions – let them out!
Step 2: Don’t wallow in a pity-party – get out of your head!
Step 3: Don’t let anyone else fan the flames – seek trusted counsel!
Step 4: Don’t feel obliged to react any particular way – follow your heart!
Step 5: Don’t think you have to figure it all out right away – take your time!

Now let’s look at the power of choice in action.

Meet Kelly, a mother and wife with a full-time professional job. She normally works 45-50 hours a week and juggles everything her family needs on top of those long hours. With the holidays coming up it feels like she’s taken on yet another part-time job: what with the extras the kids need for school, the time off they’ll have that she has to work around, getting the house ready and plans made, not to mention the gifts and parties, much less the supposed “spirit” she’s supposed to feel along the way. There are days when she can barely get by and when that last straw hits her back, well – watch out!

Or, Kelly could take a different approach.

  • She could share her feelings of overwhelm with her husband, who’s only too happy to help but sometimes just doesn’t realize how stretched his wife is unless she says something. (Step 1: Let it out.)
  • She could admit she had a choice to schedule more vacation days around this time, but because of a big project that could help with her pending promotion, she didn’t. (Step 2: Get out of your head.)
  • She could find a neutral friend or mentor to help her step back and get a nonpartisan view of the situation and her available options. (Step 3: Seek trusted counsel.)
  • She could stop and take a few deep breaths, talk to herself or her god, ask for strength and listen to her heart. (Step 4: Follow your heart.)
  • She could do all this before December even starts and the mountain becomes insurmountable; or, at least agree to do nothing rash for 12 hours if things get out of control. (Step 5: Take your time.)

My point is simply this: In the end, the choice is always yours. And, what you choose to do with that knowledge is also completely up to you. Go you!!!


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The Choice Is Always Ours…Dammit by Sara Russell of Feel the Possibilities
Visit Sara at: www.feelthepossibilities.com
Send email to sara@feelthepossibilities.com