Sometimes it helps to focus on the choices we do have in life.
At times it can feel like our life has become small, narrow, and senseless. We could have been:
Or worn down and exhausted.
These experiences understandably evoke powerlessness.
Something was done to us,
That perhaps we didn’t have much choice in.
And we’re left reeling, and reacting.
We might not see it at the time, but we still have choices.
As Viktor Frankl (a psychiatrist and WW2 holocaust survivor) said:
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
This isn’t about glitter bombing our life with positivity.
It’s not about smiling, or carrying on with life as normal.
It’s about what happens after we’ve acknowledged our pain, shock and hurt.
It’s about how we decide to go forward.
After we’ve been sacked we have a choice as to whether we feel less worthy as a human being.
We do not have to take on the thoughts or judgments of other people.
We also do not have to prostrate ourselves at the feet of our inner critic for flogging. One of the choices we have, for example, is to start working with a therapist to address our negative thought patterns.
If someone cheats on us, and the relationship fails we have the choice as to whether it affects our self esteem.
We have a choice as to whether we run with the narrative of ‘not being attractive enough’ or ‘intelligent enough’.
They had the free will to cheat.
We have free will to decide how we respond to this event.
We have so many choices.
We might want to attack the boss who sacked us.
Or dive into watching Netflix back to back.
Or write down our feelings in a journal.
It’s not so much about the morality of these choices, and whether they’re ‘good’ or ‘bad’ but about whether they truly serve us.
For example, attacking our ex can add guilt into the mix, and perhaps alongside the hurt and pain this will be too much. For others, expressing their deepest feelings to their ex, either in person, or in a letter, can give them a sense of relief.
If you want to have more choices in your life, you need to ask yourself: what will serve me right now?
Sometimes Netflix is fit for the purpose.
Other times something different is in order.