an act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities.
When I realized that every minute of every day I have a choice, even though it seems so simple, I really felt like I had been liberated.
We have the privilege of getting to make choices (good or bad) and learn from them and get up another day and make another round of choices. We are choice makers—not constant victims of circumstance. Fabulous, huh?
Well, not entirely, because when I began to study about the nature of choice it put a bunch of victim crap I’ve carried around back on my own broad shoulders. Wait, I can’t dump that on someone else? Someone didn’t DO that to me, that was my choice? I didn’t want to think about it. Choosing is not an easy process, but that’s the way the universe operates. I tried to unlearn and block out what I was reading. I just couldn’t, the genie was out of the bottle and now I’m grateful.
Every moment of every day we have choices to make.
“One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And, the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” —Eleanor Roosevelt
This morning I found this beautiful cicada. I thought it was dead and I wanted to photograph it with various backgrounds. I lifted it up and it moved. I had to adapt to how I reacted to my discovery. As I got on the ground to take photographs I thought about how different it looks with slight shifts in my perspective. 1) I was close enough that I could see the intricate detail on the wings. 2) When I stood up and took photographs of it, suddenly it didn’t even seem very interesting to me. 3) When I walked across the yard it basically disappeared to me. This made me think.
In our lives when we’re so close to something we can lose perspective and get lost in whatever it is. It looms so large. Simply can’t be ignored. However, when we step back a little bit and try to look from slightly different angles, we can start seeing other possibilities. And when we pull our observation away even further we can get a greater understanding of what is happening all around us. Here’s an example.
1) Your teenager always leaves dishes in the living room. When you see them it really makes you angry. It feels disrespectful and you want to make your feelings known. Loudly.
2) Your kid then steps in the door—Hi Mom, I had a great day, X happened and I’m hungry and I have homework, (A step back. A different perspective.) OK, my child has a lot on their plate too.
3) Sitting at dinner your child shares something they are concerned about and you have a discussion. (A step even further back. Hummm, maybe in light of these other things happening in my teenager’s life, fighting about a glass or mug left in the living room has me focused on the wrong things right now.)
NOTE: I am not saying I am always good at this. However, for so many events in our lives, stepping back keeps us from taking things so personally. This can help us see events through a different lens and open us up to seeing other options.