I Choose

Last week I wrote about “who” vs. “what.” We all have lots of “what’s” in our lives, situations and events to which we must respond. Some can be quite challenging. However, by knowing who we are and anchoring ourselves in deep, positive beliefs about our identity, we empower ourselves to respond in positive, non-reactive ways to life events. That was certainly an important reason Elizabeth Smart was able to overcome her tough ordeal. She was an example of hope and courage.I picked up the latest Newsweek magazine (June 13th) and there was an article about her. One statement from her interview caught my attention. She stated that “I know that no one can tell you that God called them to force you to do something,” speaking of her kidnapper. She went on to say, “That’s really important to me, knowing that everything I do in my life is a choice.”

That is what responsibility for ourselves is all about, recognizing that ultimately, our ability to choose determines our experience and the outcomes of our lives.

I’d like to share the words of Monica McNulty, a friend and reader of my newsletter. She captures this truth very powerfully in her comment on my June 2nd blog post. Here are her words:

Although I endured some significant trauma as a child, I’m sure it was nothing compared to the horrendous 9 months that Elizabeth endured. Still, my painful childhood had a huge impact on my life. For me, my ability to truly move beyond my past pain began with a very intentional choice. I remember the day, more than 15 years ago, that I made the decision to choose a different path. I stenciled a small poster with a simple message that still hangs on my wall today. It says “I choose hope. I choose healing. I choose joy. I choose LIFE!”  Around the lettering I drew butterflies, flying to freedom.”

I believe freedom begins by realizing that I have the ability to choose. Elizabeth could have chosen to remain bitter and wounded for the rest of her life. Instead she chose to not allow her past pain or the choices of others to determine her future. She refused to see herself as a victim. Fundamentally, it was that choice that set her free.”

One additional comment that I have found to be true in my own life is that it is only possible to reach the point of emotional freedom and personal empowerment if I’m willing to acknowledge and feel and work through the pain that wounded me in the first place. Experiencing the depth of my pain, and seeing that God would meet me there and carry me through it, is ultimately what brought me to the point of freedom. From that point on, I was no longer a victim, and I was truly free to choose.”

What powerful counsel. Certainly the past and the daily events influence us. However, they don’t define us. Bigger is our ability to choose. “I choose…” is an incredibly simple and yet powerful statement.

Monica points out that we often need to acknowledge and be real about our pain before we’re able to move on. We need to give ourselves permission to grieve. But, at some point, it is time to move on. An “I choose…” statement, spoken with passion and conviction, opens the gate to healing, hope, and life.


About Roger K. Allen
Roger K. Allen, Ph.D. is an expert in personal transformation and family development. His tools and methods have helped tens of thousands of people live happier and more effective lives. To learn more, visit www.rogerkallen.com>.

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