"Take your life in your own hands and what happens?
A terrible thing: no one to blame."
~~ Erica Jong
I was licking the last bits of chocolate frosting from my fork this morning, when it occurred
to me that it was my husband’s fault I was eating this. After all, if he hadn’t brought the
cake home, I would have never caved in to the temptation. He always does this to
me – bringing home cakes, cookies or candy when he knows I can’t resist them. In his own
loving way, he’s sabotaging my efforts to eat healthier, and I do enough sabotaging on my
own, so I don’t need any help.
I stewed about this while I eyed the other piece of chocolate cake still in the fridge. It was
calling my name, so I closed the refrigerator door hoping to silence it. It worked, but then
another voice started talking to me. It was the voice of reason. “Just because the cake was
in the fridge, there was no reason you had to eat it. You could have just as easily thrown it
in the garbage or left it where it was. It was your choice.”
Sometimes we forget that everything in life is about the choices we make. To eat the cake or
not, to go to the gym or not, to go to a movie or not, to call my friend or not... Often, the
choices we make have a huge impact on our life. To like my job or not, to be honest or not,
to stay in a bad marriage or not, to love myself or not. When we complain about how life is
going for us, we often forget that our choices got us where we are. When I say this to
clients, their reaction is usually that they have no choice about what’s happening to them.
They feel stuck in a bad marriage, but they can’t leave because they could never support
their children. They feel stuck in a job they hate, but they can’t leave because they make
too much money. They feel stuck with themselves, but they can’t change because it’s just
who they are.
The simple fact is that we have choices in all of these situations. It’s just that sometimes
all the possible choices are bad. If you leave a bad marriage, you and your children will
probably struggle to survive. If you leave a job you hate, it will probably have a negative
impact on your finances. And if you decide to change yourself, it’s hard work and you
might give up.
You are in charge of your life – no one else, just you! If you’re not happy with the results
so far, don’t moan that you have no choices, because you do. The problem may simply be
that you don’t like the choices you have. And remember, when you choose not to decide,
you have given someone else the power to decide for you – which is still a choice that
Here are some tips to help you make better choices:
· Base your choice on what is right, not who is right.
· List the pros and cons on paper. Choices are easier to make when you can see them.
· Realize that you can never be 100% sure your choice is the right one. Choose anyway.
· Remember that not choosing is choosing not to take action.
· Once you have made a choice, ignore the “what if’s” and proceed with conviction.
IT IS ALL IN YOUR HEAD!
This post first appeared in It's All In Your Head! in May, 2013