I think the secret to living a happy, healthy life is about making choices. Powerful ones. Even when it doesn't feel like your choice. It can be something simple like what clothes you choose to wear. It can be what name you choose for your child, or a new one you choose for yourself.
Whether or not you will be a vegetarian or paleo. Whether or not you put cream and sugar in your coffee or drink it black. Whether or not you drive to work every day when you live a mile away or decide to find an extra half hour and walk.
Choices. All of them.
My life is hard and I suffer a lot when I forget I have choices or when I don't feel a sense of power from the choices I make. When I'm coming from a place of "this is happening to me" instead of "this is happening for me".
Once I started playing around with this a little bit, I found there were pros and cons to every choice I made. Things that happened that made me feel really pumped about the choice and things that really sucked. I lost some things but gained some, too. I haven't made too many decisions in my life where choosing something didn't mean the loss of something else, in fact. It's sort of the trade-off, right?
The more I embrace this, the less I fear or resent making a choice.
For example, I remember choosing to leave a job I had a few years ago. It taught me a lot.
Once upon a time...
I had this job. It came with lots of really great perks like health benefits, stable income, a decent discount on stuff I liked to buy and some pretty cool co-workers. When I left, I had to walk away from all of that.
But there were also pros, because there were a few but one of them was pretty big so I'll focus on that. See, my supervisor wasn't the...best role model. I won't go into details so I'll just say that our dynamic wasn't working in such a way that it made me literally sick. It was not healthy for me and I was letting it affect every aspect of my life. I was eating things I didn't need to eat, hardly sleeping and griping around the clock. No amount of trying to be the bigger person made a difference and I literally had another co-worker say to me, "Dillan, you are being far too nice."
I gave it a lot of thought and when I chose to leave, I got to leave all that toxic crap behind. The moral compromises I had to make? Not anymore. The secrets I was forced to keep? Over. The negative fallout I had to deal with from other co-workers for covering for this person? Merely bad memories, now.
So, what I lost in positive life perks, I GAINED in overall health because I chose to leave something that wasn't serving me.
Now, sometimes we don't get to choose. Life unfolds and we are left standing there, mouth hanging open like, "WTF just happened?" We have to rally the troops and figure out our next move. It's way harder to get excited about the pros and cons when choosing feels out of our hands. While we don't always get to control the Game of Life, we always get to choose how we respond to it. We always get to choose what perspective we take and the lens we use for our situation.
In the example I shared about the job, I will really honest with you, I spent a lot of time blaming and complaining. I tried to be cool but this person really seemed to be getting away with too much. It didn't feel fair. Even after I left, I kept the thing going by constantly talking about it.
And then, one day, I stopped. I let it go. I decided that it happened for a reason to get me to the next thing in my life and had served a really big purpose by teaching me how to let go and leave something that wasn't right for me.
I think it's important for us all to learn this important skill and I like to think I had this job with this person merely to help me learn something I'd need later in life.
So, I'm curious. What has this opened up for you? What do you see about choices you've made or are being forced to make and what pros and cons do you see?
Where are you focusing and how is it making you feel?
Would a different perspective make a difference?